Trust: Teams, numbers and data


We were delighted to welcome Sophie Carr to speak at our Webinar Wednesday on 10 June. Here she shares headlines of her talk ‘top tips when working remotely to maintain trust in numbers and statistics’. The full video of Sophie’s talk, including a question and answer session, is available at

It is easy to forget that before March 2020, most people only worked remotely occasionally, and for many, it was a new concept altogether. The Bays Consulting team has always been remote, meaning we’d had time to develop solutions to the challenges other teams suddenly faced such as: how to set work/ life boundaries; defining our working space and learning how we best communicate as a team and with our clients.

Although change can be challenging, it provides an opportunity to look ahead to how analytics teams can be shaped. After all, analysts still enjoy solving puzzles and want to provide trusted answers to projects that are important to both themselves and their customers. Simply put, analysts know the impact numbers can have.

For us, getting the numbers right starts with creating a culture of two-way conversations. By this, we mean: listening is more important than talking to ensure every voice is heard. Find out what your customer cares about so you don’t waste time on esoteric, albeit interesting, analysis.

Not just conversations but all communications are important. Change can create nervousness, so ensure your team knows: what is expected of them, how they are doing, where they can find information and how to keep in touch. Remember to balance keeping in touch with the time needed to do the deep work. This helps to get into the flow and focus on the repetition and checking that is so crucial to developing confidence in the results. At Bays, we specifically set aside time for the deep work by having: no email Friday; no internal video call Wednesday and completely flexible working hours. Before you think these aren’t possible, just remember neither were wholly remote teams a few months ago - and now look!

We also have the mantra “document everything”: data; all aspects of the experimental design; coding; reporting and reviewing. Lack of documentation wastes time and creates frustration (ever tried to use poorly annotated code or realised that the question you thought you were answering has changed?) We build in review processes throughout the whole project, encouraging constant documenting and changing who leads the review to bring in new perspectives. This approach encourages the whole team to play a part in delivering the right numbers, ensures niggles are caught early on, and correct access to shared areas is maintained.

This year has been one long learning curve, even when tiredness and fatigue have set in. Never has guidance, mentoring or training been more important. Bays has certainly felt supported by all the new ways to gain skills thanks to the generosity of so many sharing their skills.

It has also been a unique opportunity to reflect on what matters personally and professionally. Delivering trusted results when no-one is in an office is still possible. It does take some changes from everyone and Bays doesn’t have all the solutions but providing a collaborative open atmosphere where every voice can be heard and giving the team the skills to do their deep work has helped us.