In the first blog of this series, I introduced the concept of a Trifacta Center of Excellence (CoE), which has been instrumental in helping so many Trifacta customers deliver consistent and scalable analytics across their organizations. Now, I’ll be discussing the critical first part of building a successful Center of Excellence: assembling the right team.
Who do you need on your CoE team?
A CoE starts with people. Simply put, the success of any technology is dependent upon the people behind it. And if you don’t have the right people in place, your CoE won’t get off the ground.
Like most effective teams, your CoE team should involve people with a range of skill sets and job titles that play a variety of discrete roles. Don’t worry too much about the number of people on your CoE team, especially in the beginning; what’s most important is that roles are clearly defined and assigned. For example, you may have one individual start out by playing multiple roles but, over time and as the CoE scales, those roles will be redistributed to others. You may even eventually wind up having one role carried out by multiple people.
The core roles to cover are:
- Executive Sponsor: This is the executive leader of the CoE and is responsible for acquiring and assigning resources to the CoE.
- Champion: This is the leader of the day-to-day operations of the CoE, identifying deliverables and prioritizing work to deliver the most value to the broader organization.
- Project Manager: This role performs the project management function for the CoE. This role is initially played by the Champion in most organizations but, as the CoE scales to support more and more projects, this role typically needs to be broken out into a separate function.
- Environment Admin: This role is the technical lead for the overall Trifacta platform. This role ensures that the Trifacta platform scales with increasing data volumes and workload and that security protocols are appropriately implemented. As the CoE scales, this role typically evolves to include multiple people with a lead Administrator.
- Wrangler: This role is responsible for helping business users wrangle data so that analytics value can be delivered to the broader organization. As the CoE scales, this role typically evolves to include multiple people with a lead Wrangler.
Crafting a CoE mission statement
A clear mission statement serves as a north star for your CoE team. It helps focus your team’s efforts on the most impactful activities and sets the right expectations for business partners that need to know what value the CoE will deliver.
Mission statements are often regarded as nonessential, but we’ve seen them act as a tremendous CoE accelerator and serve as an easy-to-understand summary of the CoE’s value proposition. One good example of a mission statement that you should feel free to copy and edit for your organization is:
Our Trifacta Center of Excellence will partner with business teams across the organization in order to help them deliver better business results through self-service analytics efforts.The Center of Excellence will do this by providing guidance, enablement, support and best practices to the business teams so that they can successfully prepare their own data for analysis.
Your secret weapon: cross-functional CoE teams
With the right team and the right mission statement, you’re probably feeling pretty good about the success of your CoE—and rightfully so! But there’s one last step that ensures that your CoE team will work effectively: assembling cross-functional teams that keep the different teams aligned.
The first cross-functional team that most organizations build is the Champions’ Committee. This committee is composed of the CoE Champion and the Champions for the largest business teams that engage with the CoE. This team should meet every four weeks or so to discuss the upcoming development efforts of the various teams and align those efforts in order to maximize value and reduce total effort and re-work. Generally, most organizations that we work with follow two-week sprints in their agile methodology, which means this team would meet every four weeks, or every other sprint. The ability for teams to synchronize their sprints really helps organizations identify dependencies, reduce re-work and accelerate value.
The second cross-functional team that most organizations assemble is the Executive Committee, or Steering Committee. This committee is composed of the CoE’s Executive Sponsor and the Executive Sponsors of the primary business teams which the CoE supports. This group is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the broader group and for procuring the right resources (people, money and tools) to make the group’s goals achievable. This team typically meets every 12 to 16 weeks (three to four times per year) in order to effectively align and prioritize the organization’s efforts.
Once an organization has the right team assembled within the CoE and in the ecosystem around the CoE, then the organization is ready to tackle the primary processes that turn data into valuable decisions—which is the topic of the next blog in this series.
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