"Building Analytics Teams" Book Review
What John Thompson has created in his new book is an absolute strategic and leadership masterpiece that should be on the shelf of every data and analytics leader. It is an instant classic. If you are a developing D&A leader, my sentiment is the same.
If you want the Cliff Notes review, I recommend the 2 minute video below.
A Deeper Dive On This Masterpiece
I wish I had this book 10 years ago. It would have saved me from a lot of leadership scars and missteps.
Making the transition from an individual contributor to a strategic leader is a challenging one. This tends to be an even harder transition for professionals in the data and analytics space because the skills that made you a great individual contributor usually don’t translate into making you a great leader. The skill set needed to contribute to the next level is vastly different.
One you get to the leadership level it is less about your ability to DO the work and more about your ability to recruit and lead the people doing the work.
The challenging part is there aren’t many playbooks out there to help professionals make this transition. Gaining experience by making mistakes often was the only path.
That has changed with John’s new book.
Why This Book Is Great
The #1 reason I love this book: it isn’t focused on the technical side of the analytics equation. This is about the critical leadership side that tends to generate far less conversation in the analytics space.
Having built a number of greenfield analytics team from scratch. I can attest that getting this leadership recipe right is tough. I have the battle scars to prove it.
Even more challenging is creating impactful analytic teams and capabilities that help move the strategic and financial needle.
These are the types of topics we need to be having more conversations around to help move analytics into the strategic spotlight and realize its true potential.
Analytics can be an exceptionally powerful strategic force multiplier if it is managed and leveraged correctly. John's book outlines a framework to do just that.
Who Is It For?
While this book would be a great reference for anyone in the analytics space, it is written for people in (or looking to move into) analytics leadership roles.
This is a great resource for new and seasoned managers alike as it walks thru a logical progression of the numerous components of strategic analytics leadership success.
It focuses on who to hire, how to manage them, what a personal project portfolio should look like for each analytics professional, how to select winning projects, how to work with executives, how to manage the process of moving projects from the modeling phase into production and more.
Perhaps most importantly, it breaks down how you, as an analytics leader, can effectively lead and position your team to serve as a strategic force multiplier
I also think this book would have a lot of relevance for executives considering building out in house analytic capabilities. It will tell you what you should expect, what to look for in your future analytics leader, and common challenges associated with this type of company and culture growth.
Other key topics covered:
• Learn to create an operationally effective advanced analytics team in a corporate environment.
• Select and undertake projects that have a high probability of success and deliver the improved top and bottom-line results.
• Understand how to create relationships with executives, senior managers, peers, and subject matter experts that lead to team collaboration, increased funding, and long-term success for you and your team.
What You Will Learn
• Avoid organizational and technological pitfalls of moving from a defined project to a production environment.
• Enable team members to focus on higher-value work and tasks.
• Build Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AA&AI) functions in an organization.
• Outsource certain projects to competent and capable third parties.
• Support the operational areas that intend to invest in business intelligence, descriptive statistics, and small-scale predictive analytics.
• Analyze the operational area, the processes, the data, and the organizational resistance
Praise for John’s Book
"Successful analytics require a multifaceted set of tasks in a well-managed process, and Thompson knows how to make it work. His deep experience comes through on every page."
--Thomas H. Davenport, Distinguished Professor, Babson College and Research Fellow, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Author of Competing on Analytics and The AI Advantage
"John's deep expertise and real-world experience adds depth to this excellent book. The focus on best practices is essential to the success of leaders in advanced analytics."
--Judith Hurwitz, President & CEO Hurwitz & Associates
"John's book is the most detailed, real-world "roadmap" I've read for organizations that want to become analytics-driven."
--Bill Schmarzo, Chief Innovation Officer, Hitachi Ventara
"With this book, executive leaders and analytics teams will be guided to develop sustained, strategic, and even revolutionary advantage from massive data flows through Advanced Analytics and AI centers of excellence."
--Kirk Borne, Principal Data Scientist, Data Science Fellow, and Executive Advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton
This book is the compass you need as you move along on your analytics journey. It will be something you refer back to again and again. I recommend you go pick up a copy right now.
As an aside, be sure to check out the most recent episode of my "Transformation Nation" podcast. In this episode Jordan Morrow and I discussed how you can tackle the most common and challenging leadership hurdles in creating a successful & influential analytics strategy, program, and team. Many of these same points are discussed in John’s book.
Listen to our newest episode at https://anchor.fm/transformationnation/episodes/9-Addressing-Analytics--Data-StrategyLeadership-Pain-Points-egqs2l
Note: I am not receiving compensation of any kind for promoting this book.
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