Trolling for powerful backers. Wellington, New Zealand
Committment from the top is critical to the success of data science initiatives. Not surprising, since most efforts that have a broad impact in an organization need that commitment.
Commitment means that top management places enough priority and value on the initiative that its resources (time, attention, labor, capital, cash) aren’t stolen (aka reallocated). Events unfold, and new initiatives demand attention. Relative power waxes and wanes, and executives with competing priorities may succeed in sucking up the resources you need.
I think great communication is how you keep that commitment, and perhaps the most reliable way to gain it.
You need a killer KPI, one that reflects progress toward the goal, as well as the strategic purpose, the Why. Constant exposure to the KPI will cause people to kind of accept it, and kind of track it, and want it to improve.
You have to follow that up with an internal marketing and sales program (not project, not blitz, Program). Explain your data science initiative to everyone, everyone. Make sure they understand, and make sure you improve your pitch at every telling. And keep telling. Keep asking people what they hear, what they think, and especially what they don’t like. You’re not done until everyone groans or runs away when they see you coming.