Saturday, May 17, 2014

Are Managers from Saturn and Analysts from Jupiter

The team with well mixed "left-brainer" and "right brainer", better having some "whole-brainer" as well, can deliver the better analytics result.
Although analytics is at top agenda of every forward-looking business, most of projects do not achieve the expected result, what’re the root causes, is it caused by technical challenge or management difficulty, are managers from Saturn and Analysts from Jupiter?  Do the generalists and specialists have to be that apart? How often do you feel frustrated and why?

There is distinction between analytic thinking and analytics. These two concepts are often seen as "interchangeable". While, they are often overlapping, they are not necessarily so within all people. One does not need to be a statistician to be analytical, and not all trained analysts are analytical. The point is that the effective business leaders have to be both; being good at analytic thinking, and being creative enough to connect important dots in anlytics.

Leadership effectiveness: The problem is the difference in opinions as to the value of the analysis and recommendations. Presumption is that analytic solutions are either under-utilized or under-developed depending on who is speaking. How do you bridge this gap? How can the solutions be developed to better take into account the perceptions of the business? How can the business manager better engage with the perceptions of the Analyst or the staff? When incompetence rises to the top, it becomes a marshland of opportunity cost. Although it is understandable that business managers are more concerned with schedule and performance and less concerned (or often unaware) of the nitty-gritty details in solving an analytical problem. One of the big problems between analysis (particularly advanced analytics) and the business are with lack of empathy in senior management who think that just throwing more resources at a problem will solve schedule and performance issues, while in reality resources are often not the solution. 

Analyst’s quality: Part of the key in this situation is that the analyst needs to not only know how to communicate analytical details, but also, how to apply them to the business problem at hand. It is to be agreed and understood that usually the business manager is the decision maker and not the staff analyst - and rightfully so. Obviously some companies do this better than other! Why and how? Is it better training? Is it that the senior management is well trained analysts? Is it that most line managers have some great insights into the sorts of skill sets required to run analytics teams.  Adaptability, dealing with ambiguity, actualization, quick on their feet, empathy - these are some of the traits that analysts typically fall short on. You could also call them EQ.

Why people with the right combination are rare: The team with only left-brainers may not bring you breakthrough insights that can re-create your business... you need right-brainers for that... people who can see beyond the numbers - find the patterns and inquire the meaning of the big "Why"
- enough technical knowledge to still lead the data scientists without being Dilbert’s pointy haired boss 
- the ability to make sense of what the organization need from analytics and to communicate that to the team they lead 
- the ability to communicate the analysis it brings and its benefits to the wider organization 
- the influencing skills to make sure their team gets the resources they need.
-the consistent corporate culture of good management discipline and practices

Both analysts and managers should be creative, beyond analytic, for better communication and collaboration, nurture through the team work and the organization’s innovativeness DNA,  so no matter where they come from, they could have the same destination and make project well done.


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