Having ran workshops for data analysts for over 15 years I’ve made a point of capturing some of the pain points and frustrations that analysts face at the start of their careers.

It’s surprising how often the same themes occur, and how often they have absolutely nothing to do with the technical part of their role. Here are some of the common issues I’ve recorded…

 

“We don’t feel like we’re in the loop”

Not only does this feel like the analysts are separated from the business but typically leads to the team not being consulted on potential upcoming work. Worse yet, it can manifest in other comments such as ‘we only get told things at the last minute’.

This makes it difficult for the analyst to plan their work effectively and if the analyst succumbs to pressure will lead to absorbing additional work into what may already be a busy schedule.

analysts will find themselves over-promising and under-delivering

Sound familiar? When faced with this situation, analysts will find themselves over-promising and under-delivering….not good!

 

“Stakeholders are not clear about their requirements or change their mind frequently”

Quite often stakeholders may ‘shoot from the hip’ and maybe not apply the same kind of logical rigour to the requests they make of the analytical teams. In addition to this, they may well find it difficult to articulate analytically what they want and so what is presented to the analyst is something that’s ambiguous, ill-thought out or just sketchy.

Any attempt to translate these requirements will probably end up in re-work as it’s unlikely to result in a bullseye as far as meeting the ultimate needs are concerned – which to the analyst may seem like a change in mind.

 

“We don’t get time to add the value we want to”

Most analytical teams are in demand from their internal or external stakeholders – teams that have more demand than capacity can often feel like they are on a treadmill. This leaves little time to catch-up, and find the space for proactive thinking.

analysts enter a spiral of behaviour where they work longer hours, and focus on just getting the work off their to-do list

In reality, what can happen is the analysts enter a spiral of behaviour where they work longer hours, and focus on just getting the work off their to-do list rather than adding real insight and value. This then results in diminished stakeholder perceptions and the analyst not feeling valued and respected – over a period of time team morale and motivation can be severely affected.

 

How can you make your team feel valued?

Whilst there can be many reasons for analysts feeling like this, more often than not it’s an indication that the team are working passively rather than consultatively.

Working passively benefits neither the stakeholder or the analyst – it’s a lose/lose situation in which the analyst will find it difficult to develop trust and credibility with the stakeholders. And, likewise,  the stakeholder will feel that they are not getting full-value from the analyst. Ultimately the analyst will feel undervalued and the stakeholder will feel frustrated.

There are some simple steps and techniques that can help the analyst naturally move towards a more proactive way of working. However, the first step is recognising that, with the right approach, ach is required In doing this the analyst will..

  • Improve their productivity through reducing re-work
  • Increase their trust, credibility and influence with stakeholders
  • Feel greater value and respect.

Our ‘Delivering Analytics for Business’ workshop can help analytical teams identify where their service is compromising their relationships and provide a set of practical guidelines and standards that will enable them to work more consultatively and move way from working reactively.

Win for the analyst, win for the stakeholder!

Steve Hulmes
Head of Academy