CHOW #222 – Connect & Learn

Nilanjana is a data  engineering architect for an analytics platform at a large IT company whose main business is to serve FMCG companies’ marketing teams. She comes with strong foundation in databases and data engineering. With her guidance and technical prowess in computing and building systems to handle large amounts of data, Nilanjana has built a robust system of data pipes that helps the data scientists and software engineering teams process data, build models and visualization quickly to help business sell analytics solutions to the FMCG companies.

Nilanjana has the respect of her peers in the company and is always willing to extend her time to help junior engineers hone their data engineering skills. She regularly publishes papers in several journals and is a sought-after expert on processing and managing large data sets.

Her manager, Vani, who is Vice President of Data Operations, at their company has noticed that she rarely interacts with business facing folks. While she is always willing to pitch in to solve a problem for the business, her connect with them is only on a need basis. During their meetings, Vani has brought this up with Nilanjana and indicated that connecting with business facing people on a regular basis will help the company and her understanding of their needs and challenges.

If you were in Vani’s position, what would you suggest to Nilanjana and why?

Suggested Solution:

During one of their meetings, Nilanjana shares with Vani that her main challenges with consciously connecting with business folks have been paucity of time and understanding the language they use.

Vani shares a few tips with her. First start by reaching out and requesting if you can sit with them as an observer in a few of their meetings. This should help you uncover what kind of language, phrases or words they commonly use. You can find at least one “buddy” with whom you can freely talk to help you decipher language. Connecting also helps you understand ‘a day in their lives’ as they interact with our customers. Developing empathy for their work helps you expand your sense of the problem space and gain clarity on business priorities. A regular connect with business folks helps you understand changing customer needs, business environments and gain insight on how the company solutions and platforms can evolve over a period. This is your area of strength where you can help them in return. I can help you get started with a few introductions.

Nilanjana hears Vani and is willing to experiment with consciously connecting with business teams.

We would love to hear how you have helped people understand the importance of connection and learning in your organizations. Do leave a comment below and enrich our solution or write to us with your insights.

What do you think?

2 Responses

  1. Yes. My experience is little different. Being in process quality for more than two decades we always speak of adherence to established management systems and miss the difficulties with the technical team. The same is the case with the techies too. We both were speaking different terminologies.A state of annoyance was always existing. They would want that we have to “wish them get lost” while we would be at a loss to understand as to why they run away from us. Luckily we were able to get a senior technical expert who had a flair for process management and the gap was bridged. Although our getting connected well is a slow process, we were able to make a progress. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ramachandran! Developing a relationship whether at work or in any context is a slow dance in my experience. You take it one step at a time and slowly see how you move and what you create together.

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