​Top 7 ways to create a successful data science team

As organisations increasingly rely on the insights gleaned from big data to make critical business decisions, the role of the data scientist has become crucial.

As organisations increasingly rely on the insights gleaned from big data to make critical business decisions, the role of the data scientist has become crucial.

An experienced data scientist or effective data science team can turn data into actionable insights, which can make the difference between overtaking competitors and lagging behind.

“Experienced data scientists are a rare commodity and organisations should snap them up if they can find them,” says Ross Farrelly, chief data scientist, Teradata Australia and New Zealand.

“Creating a data science team is an important initiative for many organisations. However, it isn’t simply enough to employ a team of data scientists and leave them to it.

“To build a successful team, specific elements must be in place. You need to consider what you want your team to focus on, how you want them to perform, and how to get the most out of them.”

Going forward, Farrelly has identified seven traits of successful data science teams:

1. Executive sponsorship

Like any project, the data science team needs executive sponsorship for legitimacy.

For Farrelly, a good executive sponsor will serve as the champion and passionate advocate for the adoption of data analytics, as well as advocating for the data science team.

2. Map outcomes to core business objectives

“Data can be exciting and fascinating,” he says. “It can be easy for data scientists to get carried away with the options and take projects into new directions.

“However, these projects must match up with actual business objectives or risk failing to deliver a return on investment.”

3. Manage communications

Farrelly believes the data science team will only be able to gain valuable insights and explain them effectively if there are strong communicators in both the data science team and the business unit.

“It can be worth designating a representative from both teams to make sure communication flows clearly between them,” he adds.

Read more:EMC World 2016: Joe Tucci bows out as EMC looks to the future

4. Embed data scientists into the teams they support

“There is no better way for a data scientist to understand the business than to be embedded in the team needing insights,” Farrelly adds.

“Isolating data scientists from the business only serves to make it more difficult for them to understand the business objectives they’re supposed to be helping to achieve.

“Instead, they should sit with the team, absorbing knowledge and information that may not otherwise be apparent.”

5. Let the data scientist become the customer for a day

If the data scientist knows what customers want and how they interact with the organisation, Farrelly says they can be even better-placed to deliver value.

“Embedding the data scientist with the customer, even for a day, can yield valuable understanding,” he adds.

Read more:Top 4 ways workforce data analytics can drive business performance

6. Build a team with varied skills

As Farrelly explains, diversity brings new ideas, approaches, and ways of looking at existing problems.

“It’s important to find data scientists with a range of different skills so each can bring a unique value to the team,” he adds.

7. Understand how to motivate the team

Farrelly says data scientists are often more motivated by intellectual challenge and peer recognition, although some may be more interested in financial rewards.

“Like any employee, it’s important to find out what motivates the team and then deliver that motivation for best results,” he adds.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Data science

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

By James Henderson

Unknown Publication
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?