Join Alan Simon for an in-depth discussion in this video Allies and adversaries, part of Big Data Foundations: Program Management.
- Any large enterprise-scale program automatically comes with allies and adversaries, and your big data program is no exception. You need to understand who these individuals are and why they fall into one or the other category. So ask questions and process what you hear in response. You need to ask both direct and indirect questions so you can figure out why a person is either in favor of your big data program or opposed to it, how strongly they either support or oppose your efforts, and who each of those individuals is further allied with so you can try to gain a comprehensive picture of all of your allies and adversaries across your entire enterprise.
And for your allies, what could possibly erode that support over time so you can guard against those situations happening. Your allies are, by definition, your best friends when it comes to supporting your big data program. But don't take that fact for granted. Understand why. Big data allies are often that for several reasons. Very often they're dissatisfied with the current data warehouses and data marts that just aren't producing the analytics and reports and visualizations that they need.
They might have unfulfilled specific needs for data-driven insights they keep getting put on the back burner by the existing environments. They might have a tremendous understanding of what modern big data and analytics can actually do for their particular organizations. Reach out frequently to your allies, both formally and informally. Hold program meetings and reviews but also meet those people for lunch or coffee to further build support for your program as well as to get an early indication of any strengthening or erosion of their support.
Keep showing your allies the latest and greatest capabilities that your big data program is producing. But don't just show them. Seek continuous input even if your program is well underway. What are some of the late breaking big data needs that you might be able to help them with? Prove that you're listening to them by showing them any changes you make in your big data environment as a result of their input. And don't be afraid to ask for help from your allies as needed. Find one or two of them to be your big data evangelists throughout the organization.
Just because you have adversaries doesn't mean that you need to be fearful or that you need to go on the attack as the big data program manager. First, understand why somebody might be opposed to your big data program. They might have a vested interest in the current enterprise data warehouse or the existing data marts and want to maintain the status quo. They might have some skepticism about big data and modern analytics just because they're not very familiar with those technologies. Or, there might just be political or personal reasons that you need to understand and take into consideration.
In dealing with your big data adversaries, keep your cool. Remember that you're the face of your big data program to your entire organization which means that you need to be diplomatic even if someone else is being much less so. If someone challenges an aspect of your program, deal in facts, not emotions. Even if you feel you're under attack, be courageous but also be diplomatic. Stand your ground but do so with a calm demeanor. Above all else, keep trying because your ultimate goal is to turn those adversaries into allies or at least into neutral parties.
Work through your allies, especially those in your organization who have a great deal of political capital and also the respect of others. Still, escalate as necessary. Try to resolve problems directly with your adversaries. But if you can't, reach out to your stakeholders and executives, stating your case clearly and calmly. And make sure that you try to drive a decision and action about your big data program from those stakeholders and executives. You don't want to escalate an issue and then just leave it hanging because that could be the worst thing for your program.
Overall, remember that a large part of your job as a big data program leader is to work towards building allies who have a vested interest in your program's long-term success.
Interested in leading the charge? Manage Your Organization's Big Data Program is for business intelligence professionals who are tasked with implementing a big data and analytics program at their companies. Alan Simon explains the role of program managers, their desired skills, and the people they need on their core team. After the preliminary steps—defining program direction, budget, and initial projects—Alan helps map project milestones and define the KPIs to help track their progress. In chapter 6, you survey the risks to the program, from financial and technological standpoints. By the end of the course, you'll have the skills to be successful in a big data leadership role—and drive data-driven insights throughout the enterprise.
- What makes a good big-data program manager
- How to recruit members of a big data team
- Defining the program direction
- Creating an initial list of projects
- Identifying allies and adversaries
- Determining program milestones
- Managing milestone progress
- Assessing program risks