Summer tips for your data team

It's that time of the year again, where "ends of Q2" rhymes with "Spritz for two".

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Thibaut Collette

June 21, 2022・3 min read

Someone on the beach

Today, as every other year on June 21st, it is the first day of Summer 🏖

Many colleagues in the data teams but also in other teams will enjoy a few weeks off. The pressure on the data team slightly decreases. It's very often the perfect time to reflect on the past year, on the processes and try out new things.

Not so fast. First, end of Q2.

Sorry about that but the truth is many teams around use quarters to clock their year.

Doing so is notably useful to have checkpoints and see your team move towards their goals. It works even better for bigger piece of work like Data Engineering or pipeline topics. Teams often decide to highlight specific Business areas they'd like to focus on during a quarter — either to answer more complex than usual questions or to update day-to-day dashboards. Time always flies and you need those last 2 weeks to finish the work you wanted to.

Take a deep breath and good luck towards the finish line 🏁

Enjoy Q3 vacant offices

When planing for Q3, team leads need to account for the missing resources on their team but also for the missing resources and people everywhere else in the company. Usually, it means a lower activity in incoming requests from Business Users. You should jump at the chance and use that newly available time!

Iterate over KPIs

You don't need many KPIs. You need a few that work to help the Business. And sometimes various KPIs are actually highly correlated and therefore too redundant.

During Q3, you can decide to run some correlation analysis and remove redundant KPIs. The removal does not need to be a painful break-up but make sure that over Q3/Q4 the Analytics team only focuses on the ones you elected before deciding to remove them from all dashboards around the end of the year.

Run longer or riskier piece of works

When prioritizing work, teams assess the risk: "If we decide to invest the resources, will we have an actionable output at the end of the road?"

Even if the reward (the potential ROI) looks very promising, the risk of not being able to actually deliver results can force teams to set some interesting topics aside. When incoming requests slow down, you finally see longer time slots popping up in your calendar. Consecutive hours allow to focus and think deeper on a topic. Leverage them. Work on high risks, high rewards topics. If it does not work, you'll have learned new things and will be able to better assess what can or cannot be done in the future. If it does work, high reward!

Try out new tools and processes

and I swear I'm not saying that because of Husprey!

As pressure is lower, you can try out new techniques, charts or tools when answering incoming requests. The reality is that when you're under pressure from 4 different incoming requests, trying out something new can become overwhelming. You don't yet know the shortcuts or productivity tips.
Q3 is the time to learn new techniques about the language you use for example, it's time to read again the "To try" bookmarks you saved earlier this year. It should pay by the end of the year.

Always keep the longer term in mind

Most of those tips can be mixed together. For example, you could iterate over your KPIs while trying out a new lib to chart correlation matrices perfectly ; or you could try out notebooks on the longer piece of work you'd like to spend some time on.

But do not misinterpret what I am saying. As always, data teams should aim at helping the Business move forward, and Q3 is not an exception: do not enter a "See you in September" tunnel. However, there is a specific Q3 balance to find, that will definitely help the Business as a whole with end of year as a target!

What about you? What are your best summer tips? Feel free to share them with me here!

And most importantly, enjoy your summer 😉

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