Ro Data Team’s “Project Ownership” Approach

Empowering Individual Contributors through Ownership of Team Quarterly Goals

Sami Yabroudi
Apr 19 · 5 min read

Setting Project Owners Up for Success

Twice Weekly Ownership Check-ins

Communication between project owners and managers/stakeholders is constant, but requiring structured check-ins is key no matter how much communication is already taking place. Each project owner on the data team is part of a twice-weekly check-in group which also includes managers and program managers. This meeting is more in-depth than a traditional engineering “stand-up”. Depending on the project, questions for project owners during this check-in might include:

  • What progress have you made since the last check-in?
  • What are you going to work on next?
  • How are you prioritizing your different projects against each other for the next 2–3 weeks?
  • What meetings are you having, and what meetings do you think you need to be scheduling?
  • What communications are you running?
  • Where do you need help or resources?
  • What design decisions are being made as part of your projects? How are these decisions being made?
  • What questions have come up that you are having trouble answering? Let’s schedule time with the right people to figure this out.
  • What external dependencies (i.e. deliverables from other teams) do you have in progress? What external dependencies do you need to be anticipating? How is the progress of your external dependencies?
  • What process problems have you found? What are the most important process additions/adjustments that have to be made? What do we need to add to the our “Data Team Project Ownership Resources” (this is explained in later sections)?
  • Have you logged all work and summarized important communications in the appropriate place in Jira?

Project Owner Resources

A data team project owner has the following resources as a first line of general enquiry:

  • The team’s ever-evolving “Project Ownership Handbook”
  • A product manager

Most Importantly: Always Be Communicating, Getting Buy-in, and Confirming

A project owner should always be:

  • Keeping everyone aware of key project developments
  • Consulting relevant parties/stakeholders when planning
  • Always, always, always confirming plans of actions with others (peers, managers, stakeholders)
  • Following approval requirements

The Data Team’s “Project Ownership Handbook”

The data team’s project ownership handbook is less of a fully-baked guide and more of what intellectuals might call a “living document”. It is essentially a series of organized guidelines that includes actual examples of these guidelines being implemented and how the guidelines came to be.

We host our handbook in Notion (a product similar to Jira Confluence), where anyone can access it and offer feedback
Quotable quotes from “Pirates of the Caribbean”

Constant Feedback Cycles

To maximize the speed of personal growth we are implementing quarterly feedback cycles which incorporate feedback from teammates and relevant individuals in other departments. The mechanics of designing these feedback rounds and implementing them is for another article.

Ro Data Team Blog

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

Sami Yabroudi

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Ro Data Team Blog

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