Managing stakeholders is one of the most important functions a DS manager is involved. Build trust, build engagement and know how to let go

DS Manager’s Guide by Katie Bauer - Managing stakeholders is one of the most important functions a DS manager is involved: - Building trust. Perception of your work is really important to build trust. - Explain what’s happening behind the scenes - Factor in unknowns when giving estimates: Explain there is data you never looked at. If you have never done, say it. - Be explicit about when someone will hear from you next. Be more predictable. Be clear of hidden costs and explain how your constraints impact delivery. RTB = run-the-business work you need to do to keep the lights on. Make this a visible part of your roadmap. Be clear that maintenance is needed. - DACI: Driver, Approver, Consulted, Informed. Use template - Don’t act like a service team. You don’t let them treat you like a service desk. No one likes to be treated like a service team, on the other hand people usually want requests to be well described. You don’t want to build transactional relationship. Learn the domain because it is critical for interpretation and mapping to semantic concept that is valuable for the organization. Domain knowledge helps not getting nontrivial knowledge. Put yourself in the stakeholder’s shoes, they might have lots of pressure or they might have time constrains. You should commit to the same goals, you should feel responsible to make PMs get faster to a goal. This also creates tighter bonds. - Build engagement: If we want our organizations to use data in their decision making process we need to help them to do it - Make your work easy to consume:
- Focus on what your stakeholders can control, if you give them good choices backed up by your analysis they will demand more. - Make your work linkable, make it concrete somehow: documentation, a dashboard, a slide deck. It helps making decisions without you in the loop. Easy to reference, easy to build upon. - Know when to make a snack vs prepare a meal. : Modularise analysis in small chunks that people can consume. A meal can also be made up of small components that can be digest easily. - Be predictable: - Reliability and consistency earn more trust than speed - Decide how you will push value to stakeholders - Act like you have paying customers: Semanting versioning is a good mental model, to frame how significant your contributions are. - Find ways to surprise and delight: - Share unexpected findings and thoughtful innovations - Packages them well. If you do this it is really important to contextualise. Be a sumellier, build taste with easy wines, then move to more complex wines. Give people things that you know they like, show them gradually what it is possible. - Don’t overindex on this. Use it judiciously. - Set a good example, then be willing to let go. Show them how it is to use well data, but don’t try to be always the mediator. Let them work and explore the data, make mistakes and let it go.