Proven Patterns For Building Successful Data Teams


December 7th, 2020

1 hr 12 mins 30 secs

Your Host

About this Episode


Building data products are complicated by the fact that there are so many different stakeholders with competing goals and priorities. It is also challenging because of the number of roles and capabilities that are necessary to go from idea to delivery. Different organizations have tried a multitude of organizational strategies to improve the success rate of these data teams with varying levels of success. In this episode Jesse Anderson shares the lessons that he has learned while working with dozens of businesses across industries to determine the team structures and communication styles that have generated the best results. If you are struggling to deliver value from big data, or just starting down the path of building the organizational capacity to turn raw information into valuable products then this is a conversation that you don’t want to miss.


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  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Jesse Anderson about best practices for organizing and managing data teams


  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • Can you start by giving an overview of how you view the mission and responsibilities of a data team?
    • What are the critical elements of a successful data team?
    • Beyond the core pillars of data science, data engineering, and operations, what other specialized roles do you find helpful for larger or more sophisticated teams?
  • For organizations that have "small data", how does that change the necessary composition of roles for successful data projects?
  • What are the signs and symptoms that point to the need for a dedicated team that focuses on data?
  • With data scientists and data engineers in particular being in such high demand, what are strategies that you have found effective for attracting new talent?
    • In the case where you have engineers on staff, how do you identify internal talent that can be trained into these specialized roles?
  • Another challenge that organizations face in dealing with data is how the team is organized. What are your thoughts on effective strategies for how to structure the communication and reporting structures of data teams? (e.g. centralized, embedded, etc.)
  • How do you recommend evaluating potential candidates for each of the necessary roles?
    • What are your thoughts on when to hire an outside consultant, vs building internal capacity?
  • For managers who are responsible for data teams, how much understanding of data and analytics do they need to be effective?
    • How do you define success or measure performance of a team focused on working with data?
  • What are some of the anti-patterns that you have seen in managers who oversee data professionals?
  • What are some of the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned in the process of helping organizations and individuals achieve success in data and analytics?
  • What advice or additional resources do you have for anyone who is interested in learning more about how to build and grow a successful data team?

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Parting Question

  • From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?

Closing Announcements

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The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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