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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How Would Jesus Do Data Governance (part 2)

First of all, as I mentioned last time, I am NOT comparing data governance to the Salvation of humanity--I am simply examining methods in light of the fact that both ideas resist description, can't be marketed and are not for sale.

So, I've got an idea that will make the lives of many easier to get through, make the company more profitable, reduce the level of risk involved in making use of information technology, and improve the ability to communicate. My problem is that the idea is based on something I can't describe. I can provide plenty of examples but that only seems to increase the confusion. So far I'm in good company. We've all been exposed to the parables of Jesus. He used them as everyday examples to shed light on some seriously abstract concepts. His disciples scratched their heads and asked each other, "What did he mean by that?" Two thousand years later, they're still being explained to us on Sunday mornings around the world.

Fortunately my idea has no expiration date. There is no competition to put the idea across--no race to the finish. The pain will continue until a critical mass of enlightenment is achieved. Enlightenment is essential because without it all we'll ever have is a collection of examples and stories that, to the average person, seem completely disconnected. Because people like for things to make sense and to be predictable, this disconnectedness leads to alienation.

When Jesus stuck to his idea, looking for better examples, better stories, he found himself on the outside. He was a different sort, something of a kook, but certainly not threatening. He had his small following who were largely content to be associated with him for the limited notoriety that the association provided. They knew him, liked him, respected him. The powers-that-be were not threatened and left him free to try to get his idea across.

Up to this point we have already made us of his methods and find ourselves in exactly the same position. We are tolerated and even receive minimal support from those who hear that others are doing it and seem to derive some non-quantifiable benefit. Unfortunately, as a band of disciples we lack much. We either lack a common cultural foundation or we ignore it. perhaps Jesus' disciples were fortunate in that they weren't constantly bombarded with "fresh, new takes" on their central idea. They were able (forced to) discuss the examples and stories among themselves. This process no doubt kept them cohesive as a group and, in the end was the springboard that helped them to launch the Idea out into the world.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How Would Jesus do Data Governance?

Recently I've been led to a reassessment of my approach to this whole blogging thing. Originally I had the idea that people would be attracted to a common sense, git'r done view of data governance. This quaint notion was driven by the fact that, although a lot of money was changing hands under the label "data governance" not much was really getting done to realize the vision.

There have been several incidents of late that have honed this approach by grinding away some remaining misconceptions on my part. What is left is the sharp edge--no assumptions, no vain hopes, no vanity, no illusions or delusions--just a cutting edge that can be applied to any knotty issue in the data governance/data quality landscape. Actually this edge can be applied to any knot whatsoever.

First I had to let go of the idea that anyone would listen to and heed an idea just because it's good. We've come to expect marketing glitz. A wise person once said, "All that glitters is not gold." The best ideas are seeds that must be tended over time but which will, in their own time, produce fruit.

Then I had to abandon the notion that people would rally to an idea. As it turns out, people rally to people--to leaders. Here I would ask the reader to consider leaders in general and some specific leaders. What was the basis of their "leadership?" In most cases it was charisma. Too often their followers realized too late the direction in which they were being led. I'm not charismatic.

Finally, I have understood that people will follow reward (most often money) rather than ideas. The great idea of data governance has been crushed, chopped, sliced and diced in search of marketing leverage and greater monetary reward.

All of this honing has left me with a better appreciation of Jesus of Nazareth, known as the Christ. I'm not comparing his mission with data governance--that would just be ridiculous. I do want to look at his methods, however, since many of the problems are strikingly similar.
Stay tuned here for an exploration of "What Would Jesus Do?" applied to data governance.