Managing data teams for the first time: 6 things you should know

It is not really about managing

Managing is just about directing the right resources in the right place. Really in Data, it won’t mean a lot. For instance, knowing on which project to work will be a lot more important as well as showing leadership. Data organization is not an operation department. Organizing tasks in a scrum/agile way is important but it should feel natural to manage this rather than be draining on your time.

It is not because they only want tech mentoring that they only need tech mentoring

Technical excellence is everything in tech and it can sometimes feel that improving tech skills is the only way to improve results. Well, it is the case for junior profiles, but for senior profiles, part of the scalability comes from the way they think of a problem and the strategy they put in place to solve them. It also comes from the ability to find the right problems. Yes… so many companies hire data folks to find data problems. Everyone is hiring them, we must hire a lot of them too. Data is such a cutting edge domain that it leads to having to look for the right problem and the skills needed for that are close business understanding and creativity.

Don’t get amazed by fancy solutions from the team

Some fancy formula… don’t fall in love with them

Set a direction not a solution

Basically, this one is obvious and is just about avoiding micromanagement. The whole process of solving a data problem is the exciting part of data science and analytics. Not prescribing a solution does not mean you are not part of the solution nor that you should not influence it by other means. For instance timeline or and prescribe milestones can avoid some solutions that would be unwise for the company.

Find the right level of involvement in coding

You must spend some time getting hands-on and understand what is happening. The Tech sector is quite particular in this respect, you will find very few managers that just manage people. A manager is rarely a job in tech but more a role in addition to IC. This is especially true for first-level managers.

Find the right level of involvement with stakeholders

Stakeholder engagement is important when managing a team. You should streamline communication and progress on a regular basis. Position yourself as a thought partner rather than an execution partner.

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Adrien

Adrien

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Strategy/Data/Leadership ~~ Twitter data science ~~ ex-gojek~~ web3 enthusiast