Webinar discussion: What is a symptom that you have observed, during your time in this field, of a team being low on credibility within an organization or with stakeholders?

Continuing the discussion from the Building Effective Data Science Teams Webinar:

Building and Maintaining Credibility

What is a symptom that you have observed, during your time in this field, of a team being low on credibility within an organization or with stakeholders?

Our panelists for this webinar were:

  • Kobi Abayomi, Senior VP of Data Science at Warner Music Group
  • Gregory Berg, VP of Data Science at Caliber Home Loans
  • Elaine McVey, VP of Data Science at The Looma Project
  • Jacqueline Nolis, Head of Data Science at Saturn Cloud
  • Nasir Uddin, Director of Strategy & Inspirational Analytics at T-Mobile
  • Moderated by Julia Silge, Software Engineer at RStudio, PBC

Some discussion from the webinar:

Jacqueline : Maybe this isn’t low credibility per se, but I would categorize this as an unhealthy relationship with stakeholders. Something I think I’ve noticed happening in unhealthy relationships is that there is no partnership.

The business person should be able to say, “I trust if I have a business question, I can go to you, and you’re going to come back with an answer.” And the data science people can trust that, “Hey, you’re going to bring us the important questions and the context needed to answer them.”

One sign that the relationship isn’t working well is when those boundaries aren’t held. When you have a stakeholder who says “Well, I’m not sure you should be using a logistic regression here. I just read a blog post about neural nets. Why aren’t we using those?” But also if the data scientist says, “No, what we really need to be building is a churn model. We think the value’s in the churn model and we don’t care what you think.” I think keeping good boundaries is a really important sign of healthiness there.

Nasir : In addition to what Jacqueline said, one symptom is that you feel like there is a lack of interest from the stakeholder side. You can overcome that problem by generating confidence among the stakeholders. By delivering outcomes in a more transparent way, you can empower the stakeholders and put them in the driver’s seat. You can do this through a self-service tool, like a Shiny app. If you deliver results even from the beginning of the project, you can receive feedback from them and can iteratively develop and improve upon that. It’s all about developing the self-service tool and delivering this in a meaningful way.