Continuing the discussion from the Building Effective Data Science Teams Webinar:
What’s the best structure for a data science team? Should we have a centralized data science team or data science teams that are located within products?
Some discussion from the webinar:
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
Jacqueline: I would like to talk about this because I used to take a very neutral stand. Years later, I think the right approach is to be distributed because of exactly the thing we’ve been talking about for the last hour, that communication is key. When you have a distributed data science team, communication with the stakeholder is most important, not the communication between data scientists. Maybe some of the teams are using R and some are using Python, whatever. That’s still better than all using the same language but not talking to the people who use your work.
The other point is that the question may not be “what is the right approach?” The question here is “how do I convince people above me to switch to a better approach?” I don’t have a good answer for that except to say this is the job of a director of data science or someone in leadership. They should be thinking about that. They have the authority and title by their name to make those changes. If you do not have that, depending on your organization, it can be very difficult to get people at levels above you to listen to you as a senior data scientist. In this case, the best things you can do if you want to try and make those changes at the lower level, is get one level up to try and buy in and have them move it up and up rather than going straight to the CEO to say, “Listen to my org distribution.” It’s about thinking it through - how do you work through an organization of people?