Monday, February 23, 2015

Day in the life

It struck me last week that a majority of my job as a Data Science manager is fairly mundane office work or IT work, which is necessary but a little boring.  I thought it might be interesting to document my priorities for a fairly average day.

Notable in this, is that I spend very little time actually building models.  Most of my time is spent debugging business problems or communicating prior results to other Director/Executives.

Anyways, here's what I did in a fairly typical Monday in February, 2015.

  1. Approve timesheets: This is as boring as it sounds.. it's actually approving timesheets that aren't filled out, but.. for some reason required by HR so people get paid.
  2. Create new metric: It occurred to me late last week that we're missing an important part of the revenue conversion process.  In essence, some customers create negative revenue initially, but eventually turn positive.  From an underwriting perspective, we often need to understand this process, especially when other dimensions come into play (how does late-conversion vary by group A versus B, or age of the customer?).  So I'll be working on this metric today, or delegating it.
  3. Test Online Site:  IT had some.. issues.. last week that meant there were periodic outages with our online brand.  I need to have a team member test this so that we know that it is working correctly.  This is especially important to underwriting, because changes in user experience can massively change customer outcomes.
  4. Check on Test Environment:  IT test environment has had issues for a couple weeks, determine if it's working again so I can deploy three sets of code.
  5. Provide Additional Analytics Info:  We found a major variation in customer performance based on a dimension we had never really analyzed.  I communicated these results to the executive team and a few field directors last week.  In these results, we have found some opportunities for quick gains.  I'll spend a good portion of today communicating and following up with our Exec team.
  6. Provide Info for Marketing: The director of marketing is very data hungry guy, who is asking for some customer retention data.  I'll spend a good potion of the day putting this data together for him.  This type of work would generally be passed on to a Business Intelligence team, but without one of those, it falls to my team.  I think we can add value on explaining some root-cause, but really this is just a lot of query work. 
  7. Followup on position to hire with HR.  I complained about the user experience of people applying for my job last week.  I need to followup and see if any progress has been made towards improving UX, or if I should try to work around those issues.
  8. Review new Resume Submissions.  If any are good, maybe a phone interview?
  9. Build Model For New State Underwriting.  Building an initial model, to serve as a proof of concept for roll out of nationwide model.  Not a total build out, but just initial explorations.

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