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Don't make Messi play tennis: How to get the best out of Data Scientists

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

OUCH. This picture hurts my eyes. 🤦🏻‍♂️

I don't see Messi. Instead, I see a talented Data Scientist doing the simplest type of reporting tasks.

Too often, Data Scientists, tell me that's how they spend a significant amount of their time.

Not because they want to.

But because they are forced to.

Many of these Data Scientists have talent.

Advanced statistics knowledge.

Exceptional Python skills.

However, much of that expertise is unused.

Less value for the company. More frustration for the Data Scientist.

Data Science is not about the fanciest technology.

Often, advanced Python isn't required.

A plain excel sheet can provide incredible insights.

But having Data Scientists spend much time on simple, repetitive tasks is a mistake.

Messi may be an OK tennis player. But that doesn't mean that's how his skills are best used.

Of course, Data Scientists should be proactive and show how they can best get insights for the business. They need to push back on tasks that don't aren't valuable.

But I see a role for leadership too. Please:

Understand how Data Scientists can create most value for your company.

Understand what makes Data Scientists happy.

Don't misuse the skills of your people.

Don't make Messi play tennis.

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