Reviewing The Team Data Science Process

I am starting a new series on launching a data science project, and my presentation quickly veers into a pessimistic place:

The concept of “clean” data is appealing to us—I have a talk on the topic and spend more time than I’m willing to admit trying to clean up data.  But the truth is that, in a real-world production scenario, we will never have truly clean data.  Whenever there is the possibility of human interaction, there is the chance of mistyping, misunderstanding, or misclicking, each of which can introduce invalid results.  Sometimes we can see these results—like if we allow free-form fields and let people type in whatever they desire—but other times, the error is a bit more pernicious, like an extra 0 at the end of a line or a 10-key operator striking 4 instead of 7.

Even with fully automated processes, we still run the risk of dirty data:  sensors have error ranges, packets can get dropped or sent out of order, and services fail for a variety of reasons.  Each of these can negatively impact your data, leaving you with invalid entries.

Read on for a few more adages which shape the way we work on projects, followed by an overview of the Microsoft Team Data Science Process.

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