For some businesses, the initial reaction is to just throw Data Scientists at a problem and believe they can fix things or move you forward faster. But like everything you need to put steps in place to get you from where you are now to where you want to be.
Learn, Grow, Pivot
For most people who don’t come from a Data Scientist background, there are two schools of thought.
- Data Scientists are bright shiny objects who will fix all of their business problems overnight or
- A waste of time.
To build a successful team, begin by educating those in the dark about what Data professionals are capable of and ensure everyone is aware of what is realistic. It’s important to understand that it may take six months to a year for a business to see any real outcomes. This doesn’t mean things aren’t working. It’s about investing time and not getting itchy, if something doesn’t instantly showcase results.
The gold watch after 40 years of working for the same company is a thing of the past. Good Data Scientists today, typically stay on for about 20-months, then move on to their next creative endeavor. This can be scary for a world that expects people to stay in positions for four or more years, particularly if you’re not from a tech background.
However, the definition of a scientist is someone who researchers, someone who tries to find new ideas and new concepts, so these are people who are naturally inclined towards learning and towards being in new situations and these people get very, very bored very quickly. Understand that if you build your team well, people will move on and drop away. This is a good thing. It means you built a strong team and the ones who have moved on have got you to this place, now you need the next team to help you get to the next level. A constant state of flux is scary, but it can also mean your business is scaling faster, and your team of Data professionals are doing their job to move the needle.
Give your team the freedom to learn, give the freedom to work on projects outside of their natural scope to be able to bring value to your business, although even within that year 18-month framework you might not see proof straight away. You need to be ok with the fact that you going to lose people. That typically means you’re doing something good. If you’ve got a Data Scientist who is happy to just stay at your company and work on the same projects for six, seven, eight years, that’s probably a red flag; how will they keep improving?
“What Got Us Here, Won’t Get Us There”
The needs of your group are going to change and shift and so the people you need are going to change and shift. Again, it’s about being adaptable and being able to ride those waves and change as and when we need to.
If you’re looking for more guidance in scaling your business using Data Scientists and building your Data team, Harnham can help. If you’re a candidate interested in Big Data & Analytics, we may have a role for you.
Check out our current vacancies
or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more.
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