Disciplined Agile

How to Adopt Disciplined Agile Data Management

We’ve found that the following strategies are critical to your success when adopting a Disciplined Agile approach to Data Management:

  1. Surface your challenges. You need to have an honest conversation about the effectiveness of your current approach to data management. This conversation must be driven from an organizational viewpoint so as to take into account stakeholder needs. We’ve found that a very effective way to do this is value stream mapping (VSM) sessions to reveal the true efficiency and quality levels of your critical data management processes. This will not be pleasant for anyone who still believes in traditional data management practices, but it is vital to your success that everyone recognizes that you need to improve.
  2. Expect better. One of the reasons why the data management field has languished for as long as it has is because the rest of the IT community allowed them to. For the most part we accepted their claim that they needed to work in a slow and onerous manner, that eventually they’d address our organization’s data quality challenges through some form of bureaucratic magic that only they understood.
  3. Invest in your staff. Traditional data professionals tend to be overly specialized, often focusing on one aspect of data management such as logical data modeling, meta data management, data traceability, and so on. Not only does this result in bureaucratic, drawn-out processes but many of these specialties are no longer required when you’ve adopted pragmatic, quality-focused agile strategies. To be effective you need T-skilled generalizing specialists, and that requires you to invest in training and long-term coaching to help people to modernize their skillset.
  4. Hire agile coaches with deep experience in both Agile and Data management. Someone with agile coaching experience alone will struggle to gain the trust of experienced data management people, and a data management coach without deep agile experience will struggle to help people to overcome their deep-rooted traditional belief system.

Improving your data management processes and organization structure to support a Disciplined Agile way of working is a daunting task. Along with evolving your governance strategy it is likely the hardest part of any organizational transformation, but it is one that you cannot ignore. Effective data management is critical to your success as an organization. 

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