#18 Modern Data Culture Stack – How to build a dream data team!

Hi, One question we often hear from our DataOps champions is, “how do we create a culture for an amazing dream data team?”. It’s a great question, after all, tools can only take us so far, the biggest delta comes from culture change! Some time back, Prukalpa gave a talk at dbt Coalesce about our experience building data dream teams, where she coined a term called the “Modern Data Culture Stack” and the response from the community was amazing! In this week’s digest, I wanted to bring learnings from that talk and break down how we created this culture stack and the best practices we found after lots of trial and error. You can read the detailed article here.

Broadly, there are three main steps:

  1. Lay the foundation for your culture stack: team values and charter

We started by bringing our entire data team together for an exercise modeled on Google’s Design Sprint. We used HMWs, or “How Might We” questions, to reframe our pain points as opportunities. These became a dream wishlist for our data team — all of the things we wanted to do better in the future. We then turned these goals into a Team Charter, or the key values that we wanted our data team to live by.

  1. Turn values into action with rituals that reinforce your values

You can work towards creating the culture you aspire to be by converting your values into something more tangible. We did this through “rituals”. People had different ideas for rituals that might help, so we experimented with lots of new traditions and processes. Some worked great, and some were busts. But along the way, we learned a lot more about what it takes to help our team work together.

  1. Rolling out new rituals, bottom up rather than top down

Frame a new ritual idea as an “experiment”. If the experiment works, then it becomes a ritual and a way your team works. If it doesn’t, you try something else. Some best case practices for creating these new rituals:

  • Start by agreeing on common principles and problems:
  • Get the team on the same page
  • Measure your progress
  • Build a culture of helpful questioning

Just like your data stack, building a better culture isn’t easy or quick. It will take time, trust, and experimentation. There will be plenty of failures, but if you keep assessing and communicating, you’ll eventually end up with a dream data team. ⭐

You can read the full article, along with spotlights on our favorite rituals that helped us live our values – Link.

What are your thoughts? How you are building your dream data team? Hit reply and share with me. Would love to hear from you. 🙂 Cheers, Nandini

P.S. The purpose of these emails is to share learnings and best practices to empower our community of DataOps Leaders. All the previous editions of these weekly digests can be found on our community website. Though we have put a lot of thought into curating the most relevant content, if you do not wish to have access to this, you can choose to opt-out by emailing me here: opt-out