Data Insights are a Journey
Hiking or Hunting Your Way to Insights
Picture a hiker in the wilderness who is trying to find the most interesting locations to photograph and is using her skills and tools to find vistas, waterfalls, and wildlife. When the hiker has a clean line of site to an interesting destination, she will move with vigor to capture it. Other times, she will navigate the dangers of the wilderness in a search, often stopping to check her gear, set up camp, or completing other necessities needed for a long term journey.
Data scientists are in the search for insights, and much like a nature photographer, know they've found something insightful when they see it. Until then they are on a search or hunt using a combination of their skills and data tools to support their discovery efforts.
Agile Data Scientists
The same is true for data scientists. Complexity lies in the form of slow data processing tools, technical difficulties in getting data integrated, structural issues with how the data is stored, data quality issues and other impediments that complicate data discovery efforts. Some data scientists will collaborate to improve the underlying tools, data structures, data processes, or other infrastructure barriers in order to achieve their current and future goals. Other more scrappy scientists focused on just getting the job done will engage in bad data practices, create silo databases or perform adhoc analytics.
- Product organizations march to milestones like launches and software releases, data science is more of a journey.
- Agile product teams evolve products around a stable set of platforms and infrastructure. Data scientists have to choose if and when to be disciplined because there are many tools that can easily bypass defined data structures and practices.