Erica Louie, Head of Knowledge at dbt: Management classes and recent views on managing a contemporary information crew – Atlan


How you can construct respect and forge your personal path as a brand new information chief

In the previous few years, the fashionable information stack has essentially modified the best way we work with information. Self-service and transparency are up; set-up occasions and compute price are down; and on-premise, monolithic instruments are receding into the previous.

These concepts aren’t new, and many individuals have talked about them. Nonetheless, there’s one other necessary change that we typically miss.

Because the fashionable information stack is so new, nobody can have many years of expertise working with it. This has opened the power for youthful folks to hitch and form the info world as we collectively outline what it means to be a knowledge chief.

That’s why immediately we’re seeing superb folks like Erica Louie, Head of Knowledge at dbt Labs, who’s shaking up custom and setting an incredible instance of what it seems wish to construct a contemporary information crew.

Nonetheless in her twenties, Erica leads the inner information crew at dbt Labs, the proprietor and maintainer of dbt. She is the one of many youngest leaders at her firm and leads with a people-first strategy — all with out a formal diploma in information.

What stands out about Erica is her clear imaginative and prescient and drive to create the setting she’s all the time needed to work in. “I’m the youngest on the management crew,” she says. “I needed to actually replicate arduous on what good and unhealthy administration regarded like primarily based on what I skilled. I feel the position of a knowledge chief is to guarantee that your crew is working and scaling effectively.”

For different younger information professionals hoping to maneuver into management positions within the close to future, listed here are some nice recommendation and insights from Erica.

(This interview is from an book we not too long ago printed, titled The Secrets and techniques of a Fashionable Knowledge Chief, that includes insights from Erica and different superb information leaders. Study extra and obtain right here.)

Not all outdated methods apply — your strategy to management could be private

The longer you’re employed as a pacesetter, the more durable it’s to recollect what it’s wish to lack decision-making energy. One of many benefits of being a younger information chief is that these reminiscences are extra acute. For Erica, they have been prime of thoughts whereas she was creating her hiring and administration plans.

When their crew was simply three folks, she organized an offsite to collectively develop values for his or her crew. “Principally, we explored what we had skilled. Let’s unpack our office trauma,” she laughs. “And let’s speak about what we worth as we at the moment are immediately, and the traits that we need to have our fellow teammates have.”

These values nonetheless inform every little thing about how the crew works and Erica manages. Being the identical age or youthful than her direct experiences meant her relationship along with her crew members was inherently totally different than that of a extra senior chief — regardless of the hierarchy, the end result was naturally collaborative. That relationship type has carried ahead because the crew has grown, which makes for an setting the place everybody feels secure to confess they don’t know one thing or ask questions.

“In all my month-to-month one on ones and efficiency opinions, I all the time ask, how can I help you higher?” she says.

It isn’t about figuring out every little thing, however it’s about ensuring that your crew appears like they’re rising professionally and that they’re joyful.

Erica Louie

Belief your self

Erica wasn’t all the time so assured about main a crew of people that may need been within the trade lengthy earlier than her. “I’m actually younger for my position, and I all the time felt like I needed to know the solutions to every little thing,” she says. “And I puzzled, how can I earn the respect of a few of my direct experiences — in the event that they’re older than me, they in all probability have had extra expertise.”

However as a younger fashionable information chief, some of the necessary classes she’s discovered is to belief her intestine and imagine in herself. “If I don’t know one thing, I simply inform them — ‘I don’t know this.’ And in the event that they don’t comprehend it both I say, ‘let’s study it collectively.’”

Being a younger chief means not being afraid to study out of your friends and even your experiences, as a result of what you’re bringing to the desk is a imaginative and prescient that helps the corporate’s objectives. A lot of recent information management is about making choices that make sense for the group at massive — that may occur at any age.

I feel that by me being upfront and clear and weak, it created this actually snug work setting for us the place everyone seems to be open. 

Erica Louie

Those that are extra prepared to ask questions usually tend to discover solutions that may then be used to enhance your product and enterprise. Elevated studying alternatives irrespective of your seniority can solely make issues higher.

Let your work converse for itself

It doesn’t matter what trade you’re employed in, younger leaders could be met with skepticism. Erica has discovered to not spend a lot time arguing with those that are unwilling to see my imaginative and prescient — usually your work could be a lot louder.

There are typically going to be individuals who will query your validity as a pacesetter since you’re younger. However don’t do politics, simply do good work and it’ll converse for itself.

Erica Louie

There’s a lot to handle as a knowledge chief — constructing relationships with division heads, creating methods, constructing infrastructure. Don’t waste vitality making an attempt to vary folks’s opinions. A contented crew, environment friendly work, and company-wide influence converse volumes about your capability as a pacesetter.

“Anybody who questions what you’re doing gained’t actually have something to again it up,” says Erica. “Since you’re going to be doing nice work. That’s all that issues.”

As a result of fashionable information management is ever-evolving, folks like Erica are a window into the way forward for tech. Your present crew, and even your subsequent rent, can convey new views and fervour if given them the chance.

Celebrating that form of vitality and enthusiasm will solely breed extra innovation and engagement inside your group — to not point out a office with extra fashionable values and approaches to assist preserve your organization forward of the curve.

Discovered this beneficial? Learn our newest free book  — Secrets and techniques of a Fashionable Knowledge Chief: The First 365 Days Inside a Knowledge Workforce.

It’s chock-full of insights from modern information leaders like Erica Louie, Stephen Bailey (Whatnot, Immuta), Taylor Murphy (Meltano, GitLab), and Gordon Wong (Wong Resolution Intelligence, Hubspot, Fitbit).

Header photograph by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash


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