Ro’s Policies/Philosophies for Embedded Data Analysts

Sami Yabroudi
Nov 27 · 6 min read

Embedded Analysts work with a specific business team. They “solid line” report to the Data Team and “dotted line” report to their Stakeholder Team. An Embedded Analyst’s Dotted Line Manager will work with the Solid Line Manager and the analyst to set the analyst’s work priorities. An Embedded Analyst will spend large amounts of time physically sitting with their Stakeholder Team. Their top level goal is to move their Stakeholder Team forward.

Terms

  • Embedded Analyst (EA)
  • Data Team (DT)
  • Stakeholder Team (ST) — the team that the Embedded Analyst is embedding in
  • Solid Line Manager (SLM) — the person on the Data Team that the EA reports to and the person ultimately responsible for the EA.
  • Dotted Line Manager (DLM) — the main interfacer between the Stakeholder team and the Embedded Analyst
  • Data Team Project Senior (DPS) — in certain cases, the EA will be working with a senior member of the Data team who is not their manager.
  • Stakeholder Team Project Senior (SPS) — in certain cases, the EA will be working with a senior member of the Stakeholder Team who is not their Dotted Line Manager

Work Assignment

Goals:

  • Embedded Analyst’s work moves the Stakeholder team forward with as much impact as possible
  • Embedded Analyst’s work prioritization takes into account accurate assessments of effort requirements and all technical circumstances
  • Embedded Analyst is not receiving quiet requests from many different people and is not forced into any difficult situations

Work Assignment Procedures:

  1. All work requests must come only through Dotted Line Manager, who will prioritize the work based on importance to the Stakeholder Team and based on his/her understanding of effort required.
  2. The Embedded Analyst and his/her Solid Line Manager also add in any projects that they think need to be done.
  3. The Embedded Analyst and his/her Solid Line Manager go through all work requests and (a) evaluate feasibility (b) evaluate dependencies © estimate effort required
  4. EA, SLM, and DLM all formulate final prioritization. A date for next prioritization session is set.
  5. It is recognized that in the course of these informal sprints other work requests will come up from Stakeholder Team. DLM and SLM must always coordinate.
  6. SLM and DLM will constantly assess that EA is able to function effectively within the circumstances created — priorities and specs/scope of work are not shifting constantly, for example.

Admin Meetings

  1. SLM and DLM will meet weekly for 20–30 mins to gather/coordinate feedback and take stock of what’s going well and what needs to be adjusted
  2. SLM, DLM, and EA will meet weekly for 30 mins to take stock of current and recently completed work, take stock of work in progress, discuss feedback, set priorities for the upcoming week.
  3. SLM will have weekly 1:1’s with EA, in addition to working closely with him/her over the course of the week
  4. SLM and DLM will agree on meetings/communications between DLM and EA.

Quality of Data Work; Quality of Communications; Integration with 2 Teams

Goals:

  • Uncompromising Work Quality: An embedded analyst’s work must meet all quality standards of the Data team
  • Utilize Established Best-Practices for work where the Data team has an established practice
  • Fully Integrated Deliverables: An embedded analyst’s work outputs must be fully integrated with the styles and tools of the rest of the Data team
  • Solid Communications between EA and stakeholders during and at completion of work
  • Embedded Analyst is Up to Date on Stakeholder Team Headlines
  • Embedded Analyst is Up to Date on Data Team Headlines
  • Redundancy: Other members of the Data team must be able to quickly step in and assist the embedded analyst if necessary

A few means to these ends:

  • Onboarding: The Embedded Analyst will go through Data team onboarding for ~4 weeks before beginning to “embed”. The work assigned during this period will tend towards projects related to the embedded analyst’s future work, but it will also encompass a breadth of items from across the company. The goal of this onboarding is very practical —at its completion, the embedded analyst should be able to tackle projects with a good baseline for work approach/methodology and at a standard consistent with the rest of the Data Team.
  • Constant methodology feedback from Solid Line Manager and Data Team Project Seniors, as described in below sections
  • Deliberate Communications Planning: EA and SLM will plan out communications and audit potential communications for effectiveness and tone. This will be a constant exercise.
  • Seating: Physical proximity can be very impactful. Sitting with the Data Team (including close to solid line manager) will be important for work quality and for giving the Embedded Analyst all of the support available from the Data Team. Sitting with the Stakeholder Team will facilitate communications re context and speed up feedback re use of work. SLM, DLM, and EA must be thoughtfully and constantly calibrating regarding where EA should be sitting for his/her current work.
  • General Team Meetings: The EA should attend general team meetings for both the Data Team and the Stakeholder team. Examples include stand-ups and high-level prioritizations, etc. EA/DLM/SLM need to be cognizant that attending too many general meetings for both teams results in double the usual meeting overhead, an undesirable outcome.
  • Verifications: The embedded analyst will often require verifications (this is an official term+practice for the Data team) to be done by another member of the Data team. In exchange, the embedded analyst will need to perform verifications for other members of the Data team. Aside from the mutual assistance in quality assurance, another benefit of this arrangement is that it (a) keeps the embedded analyst aware of data goings-on across the company and (b) keeps other members of the Data Team involved in the embedded analyst’s projects with a good level of detail.
  • Tooling: The embedded analyst will use all of the Data Team’s tooling for project work and delivery, unless the embedded analyst and his/her managers agree otherwise.
  • Documentation + Project Ownership Handbook: The EA must utilize the Data Team Project Ownership Handbook and also contribute to its content on a regular basis

Feedback Systems

Goals:

  • Work quality assurance
  • Communications quality assurance
  • Immediate feedback for rapid personal growth (technical, analytical, organizational, communications)

A few steps toward these ends:

  1. SLM or Data Project Senior will audit EA’s work for methodology. The appropriate work will be verified. Any feedback will be relayed immediately to EA.
  2. SLM and DLM will meet weekly for the express purposes of gathering/coordinating feedback for work done during the previous week. Feedback will encompass the full breadth of work, including analytic approach, organizational approach, communications, and any technical aspects.
  3. Feedback will be recorded for later reference.

Personal Growth (Technical, Analytical, Organizational, Communications)

We want the best analysts — these are people who will truly push their teams forward. The best analysts want to be growing as fast as possible every day analytically, technically, and organizationally.

General goal:

  • Increasing independence of Embedded Analyst on all fronts; increasing ability to take ownership of larger and more difficult projects

Communication and organizational growth goals:

  • Embedded Analyst’s work results are well understood by the Stakeholder Team
  • Embedded analyst can own larger and larger projects that have an increasing number of parties involved and increasingly long time horizons
  • Embedded analyst can communicate with high tiers of org with increasing ease
  • Embedded analyst can grow towards independently managing expectations while always being helpful??

Analytical growth goals:

  • WIP

Technical growth goals:

  • WIP

A few means to these ends:

  • As detailed in earlier sections constant, well-coordinated feedback is expected to be a major force for rapid individual growth. SLM/DLM must respect the EA’s ability to self-adjust and grow quickly and acknowledge this growth
  • Always give the EA the maximum ownership possible — with necessary support — as detailed here. SLM/DLM must constantly be looking out for opportunities to responsibly increase EA’s level of project ownership.
  • EA will participate in ~2 days of technical training quarterly with the rest of the Data Team.
  • EA, DLM, and SLM will consider the EA for one Data Team Deep Dive per cycle, even if this Deep Dive is not strictly within the domain of the Stakeholder Team. Deep Dives represent a unique learning and growth opportunity because their scope typically well exceeds that of any “normal” work and because they immerse the participants in new analytic complexities, techniques, and frameworks.

Security

Data security at Ro is of paramount importance. The Embedded Analyst must:

  • Follow all security procedures outlined in the “Data Team Project Ownership Handbook”
  • Do a security review with SLM for any projects that involve importing new data or exposing data in a manner that has not been done previously

It is important to note that the Data Team does not have access to PII data.

Ro Data Team Blog

Ro Data Team Blog: data analytics, data engineering, data science

Thanks to Kevin Stern

Sami Yabroudi

Written by

Ro Data Team Blog

Ro Data Team Blog: data analytics, data engineering, data science

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