Nothing is less common than common sense.
In our earlier chapters, especially those on the environment in which statisticians work (Chapter 5) and the characteristics of successful statisticians (Chapter 6), we have tried to convey some tips to success for statisticians. In this and the next chapter, we present what we believe to be some useful on-the-job strategies. We comment on project initiation and execution in this chapter and on communication, publicizing statistics and statisticians, and ethical considerations in Chapter 10.
Early in your career, your manager may assign you to specific projects. As you advance, you will likely have more choice—both through your own initiative and, hopefully, because of the excellent reputation that you have established. Potential customers may, in fact, be approaching you directly. As a result, you will have a greater say about the work in which you become engaged.
The specific way in which you become involved in projects depends upon many factors, including the nature of the problem, the culture of the operation, management acceptance, organizational and geographical considerations, and, often, your own initiative. In a reactive environment, statisticians usually enter a project after the data have been gathered and help is sought for analysis. In the more proactive environment that we advocate throughout this book—and ...