There are several reasons why a disciplined agile approach to data management is important:
- Data is the lifeblood of your organization. Without data, or more accurately information, you quickly find that you cannot run your business. Having said that, data is only one part of the overall picture. Yes, blood is important but so is your skeleton, your muscles, your organs, and many other body parts. We need to optimize the whole organizational body, not just the “data blood.”
- Data is a corporate asset and needs to be treated as such. The traditional approach to data management has unfortunately resulted in data with sketchy quality, data that is inconsistent, incomplete, and is often not available in a timely manner. Traditional strategies are too slow moving and heavy-weight to address the needs of modern, lean enterprises. To treat data like a real asset we must adopt concrete agile data quality techniques such as database regression testing to discover quality problems and database refactoring to fix them. We also need to support delivery teams with lightweight agile data models and agile/lean data governance.
- People deserve to have appropriate access to data in a timely manner. People need access to the right data at the right time to make effective decisions. The implication is that your organization must be able to provide the data in a streamlined and timely manner.
- Data management must be an enabler of DevOps. As you see in Figure 1, Data Management is an important part of our overall Disciplined DevOps strategy. A successful DevOps approach requires you to streamline the entire flow between delivery and operations, and part of that effort is to evolve existing production data sources to support new functionality.