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Data Science as a Team Sport

I gave this talk at the 2019 RStudio::Conf in January in Austin, TX. The presentation was part of Track-1, org-thinking.

ABassa - RStudioConf_19 (Image Credit: Julia Silge)

You can find other talks compiled by Karl Broman here:


How do you data science as a team sport? Oftentimes a data scientific initiative starts with just a single, lonesome data scientist. But when that germ of a team is successful and starts expanding, should the team be embedded in other disciplines or should it be centralized into its own function? Where should it live in the organizational structure? Should you focus on recruiting senior data scientists or is there a benefit to attracting junior talent as well? And in terms of capabilities, should you hold out for unicorns or hire several specialists to get all jobs done? Data scientists need to work on almost every aspect of a business, so how should a team composition set the data science discipline up for success? Great data scientists have career options and won’t abide bad managers for very long: if you want to retain them, you’ll need to care about their work, connect it to the business, and design a diverse, resilient, high-performing team.


ABassa - RStudioConf_19 slides

Please note that this presentation was intended to be projected at rather high resolution, so the file is very large.


ABassa - RStudioConf_19 screenshot

This presentation was video recorded. You can watch the videos at the following link:

More on This Topic

I discussed several of these concepts in a recent episode of DataCamp's DataFramed podcast, and in a recent article on Managing Data Scientists.

Additional Resources

Being lucky enough to introduce people to something new is one of my favorite things 😄

xkcd: Ten Thousand

ABassa - RStudioConf_19 slides more

Super Chickens

Psychological Safety

Impostor Syndrome

Unconscious Bias (and Mirror-tocracy)

Survivorship Bias

Dynastic Inbreeding

Image Credits

And since I'm neither a graphic nor a web designer, I can't take any credit for the design template—only for the contents of my talk. If you like the slides you can get the template here:

More About Me

You can learn more about me on my website, or on twitter.


Slides and content from my talk at RStudio::Conf 2019, "Data Science as a Team Sport"







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