Tips for managing analytics teams

by | Sep 24, 2014

Managing a team poses many challenges.  Managing an analytics team is unique in the fact that your team members are generally highly technical and skilled introverts with a passion for data.  The recent NZ Analytics Forum sponsored by Optimation (thanks guys!) brought together three Wellington managers with analytics experience to offer their food for thought.
Andrew Kerr from Meridian Energy:

  • Trust your team to do what they do well, allow them to do the tasks they like and have strengths in
  • As the manager, be the better person.  Take off your headphones to encourage human interaction and culture in your team
  • Make sure you talk about non-work related stuff all the time.  You spend 8 hours a day with your team mates, you should care about them like family

Andrew Rae from ACC:

  • Management vs Leadership – we need quantitative leaders who are technically literate and can manage people across all parts of the business
  • The manager must be both the promoter and advocate for the team.  Have the answers already for the questions you know people will one day answer
  • Create a culture of value not accuracy
  • Give insight, not just data!

Finlay Thompson from Dragonfly Science:

  • Invest in people rather than tools
  • Aim to live in the uncomfortable sweet spot between collaboration and autonomy
  • Reproducibility

As you can see, the two Andrews and Finlay gave some excellent nuggets of advice for fellow managers as well as members of analytics teams.  Thanks to you all for speaking and doing so well at Q&A time!
The next NZ Analytics Forum is in Wellington on November 24, as an aside of the ORSNZ/NZSA annual conference.  As always, the event is free and more information can be found here.
~ Bronnie

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