Don’t Trust Your Gut, Trust The Data
Meet Phil Steffek, senior manager, data and analytics team in California
With 20 years of data and analytics under his belt, Phil Steffek certainly knows his way around numbers. But DevOps was less familiar to him before he joined CloudBees. “My degree was actually in political science. That didn’t necessarily lend itself to where I am now, but I’ve always been interested in statistics, numbers and comparing that to anecdotal knowledge. It’s the ‘what you’re expecting’ versus ‘what the numbers are saying,’ that excites me.”
From a young age, Phil says he was interested in politics. But after several internships, working for a lobbying firm and even working at the mayor’s office in San Diego, Phil ultimately realized it wasn’t for him. This decision led him to business analysis, and later tech. “The business analysis project I was working on at the time got canceled so they gave me a book about database queries and told me if I didn’t read it, I was out of a job,” he says. Fortunately, after reading the book, Phil was hooked on the subject.
Now, Phil works as a senior manager on the data and analytics team. This means providing CloudBees with the ability to monitor and manage the business based on real time data. “What that really comes down to is a lot of dashboards, reports and the infrastructure to support it. It’s all about getting data into the hands of people so they can make good decisions.” Specifically, that means making sure the Bees he serves base their conclusions on data. “In the absence of data, people are forced to go with their gut instincts and past experience to make a decision. Someone can feel like they are making the right decision, but if they have data to back it up, it makes it easier to communicate to other people, and ensures they haven’t made a bad assumption” Phil explains.
Delivering ideas in an engaging way can help, Phil says. “Not a lot of people in tech are known for being good communicators, we just want to put our head down and code” he says. “Being able to give a great presentation and build rapport with people are all pieces that help me communicate. It’s that sweet spot of bridging communication and technology.”
In his time at CloudBees, Phil says the "one-team” attitude he sees among his peers goes a long way towards creating an open and productive culture. “Having a one-team mentality is something that every company likes to say they have but it doesn’t always hold true. At CloudBees, practically from the minute I was hired I could talk to our executive leadership team on a regular basis,” he says. While that’s something Phil has seen at other companies, he says it was never to this degree. “It’s something that gets a lot of lip service at other companies. But at CloudBees, it feels way more two-way, all the way up to our CEO.”
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