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Short Version:

I joined a company 5 months ago in order to move them forward in data driven decisions(business intelligence). They have about 50 people altogether, and the 2 founders are also in C level positions. My direct manager is a C level as well, but has less pull.

I am trying to push for data driven decisions, but the company is in the stone age, and my pushes are not understood and encounter resistance.

I have already set up the basics, but as far as I am concerned, the potential of my job is just beginning, with the projects that add significant value being further down the line, possible only after proper processes for working with data are set up (proper tracking).

My direct manager understands what I am doing and is encouraging me, but the other 2 C levels do not care, and would rather not be bothered. This attitude is reflected in their departments, and without their cooperation my work becomes an uphill battle.

My direct manager wants me to stay and be patient, give it time for changes to happen. I am however discouraged by the extra work this involves on my side, as it is already work enough trying to do my main job, while bringing order into chaos.

Does anyone have experience with a similar situation, or advice besides 'buckle down and work hard' which is not doable as I am already overworked in the process of cleaning the mess that was left in my department by my predecessor, adding new features, maintaining, troubleshooting IT issues(out of scope for my role). I am already exhausted from bringing my department to where executive management THOUGHT my predecessor had left it (lots of reporting which was actually full of bugs and spaghetti code), while arguing with them the importance of doing so.

  • 3
    Given the amount of buzzwords and noise in your post, you should focus on limiting the scope of your question first. What are you actually trying to do? Do you want to justify your position when, from your description, you can't actually add value? – Lilienthal Dec 17 '15 at 9:26
  • I want to know if I should stay or if I should go. I know what to do if I leave, but I don't know if I can make this work if I stay. Considering the position I'm in, does it make sense to stay and fight/work even harder, when the work is not understood and rather tolerated than desired? Should I also work to help them understand the potential value of the work, and also to implement changes in other departments while encountering resistance? My direct manager(also c level) says yes, but I am discouraged. The other 2 c levels call the shots mostly, as they are founders. – dataguy Dec 17 '15 at 10:10
  • @Lilienthal, I edited my question to make it more to the point. – dataguy Dec 17 '15 at 10:19
  • What is MO? Too many possibilities... Please edit – user8036 Dec 17 '15 at 12:32
  • I already took the challenge when on day1 they told me: change of plans, there's no handover because your predecessor is on medical until the end of their contract(ragequit), here, have this undocumented buggy spaghetti code. – dataguy Dec 17 '15 at 13:11
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TL;DR>

There is an enormous opportunity for you here.

However, realising that opportunity will involve a lot of work, likely take you out of your comfort zone, and may ultimately be unsuccessful.

If you're not willing to put in the hard work to get the potential (though not guaranteed) reward, then maybe you should move on.

Details

You know something that the C-level executives don't; converting the company so it can make data-driven decisions will likely bring a big benefit to the bottom line. You also know at least some of the necessary steps to take before the company can become data-driven.

If you can persuade the executives that the benefits are real, and large, and that you are the person who can help them realise those benefits, then this could be a seminal moment in your career.

However, it seems that these particular executives are not detail-focused. If they were, then the benefits of more data would likely already be apparent to them. So you have to figure out what is important to them, and find a way of speaking to them in terms that make sense to them. They pay people – for example you – to take care of the details for them, and they need you to distil the information into stuff that they care about.

You will need to spend some time laying foundations of credibility, and working with your boss to understand what it is that the C-level execs care about.

Then find some way of using your data to address at least part of one of the exec's areas of interest. Demonstrate some value from the data. Then explain that with more, or better, data, you could be addressing their concerns more effectively. You want them to be asking you to provide information to help support their decisions.

Note that raw data probably isn't useful information to them. Scatter plots will probably just look like ants on a page to them, but a nice clear trend line will carry a message that they can actually do something about.

If that all sounds like too much work, then you're probably in the wrong place.

  • It's the same conclusion I reached, but I'm not sure how to proceed. I see what needs to be done, but I already feel swamped by current workload, since I spend a large time cleaning data and troubleshooting bugs causing issues on production db. I am already working at a non sustainable pace, and I am not excited about taking a risk and putting in more effort for people that are ungrateful at best. The last person ragequit leaving no documentation and spaghetti code. I doubled up to refactor their work to maintanable documented code, while keeping up with maintenance+ new features. – dataguy Dec 17 '15 at 11:31
  • I'm flattered but you probably accepted my answer a little too quickly… – Bill Michell Dec 17 '15 at 11:53
  • I got negative feedback on the question not following the regular q&a and your answer is good, so rather than attracting more complaints, I rather leave it at this. – dataguy Dec 17 '15 at 13:04
  • It rather goes down as: "I'd like to approach the topic of sales/stock forecasting to ensure we have the necessary stock to enable sales - insert specifics on how this saves half of an employee's workday every day, and improves accuracy, and detail effect on sales as most users only buy stuff in stock" They say they need it, get excited, but forget about it 30 minutes later/have no time to take topic further until the next time they get some of their own ideas and need a battery of reports. One of them is actually the head of the department that would have most to benefit from this. – dataguy Dec 17 '15 at 13:18

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