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Jill Dyché

There you are! What took you so long? This is my blog and it's about YOU.

Yes, you. Or at least it's about your company. Or people you work with in your company. Or people at other companies that are a lot like you. Or people at other companies that you'd rather not resemble at all. Or it's about your competitors and what they're doing, and whether you're doing it better. You get the idea. There's a swarm of swamis, shrinks, and gurus out there already, but I'm just a consultant who works with lots of clients, and the dirty little secret - shhh! - is my clients share a lot of the same challenges around data management, data governance, and data integration. Many of their stories are universal, and that's where you come in.

I'm hoping you'll pour a cup of tea (if this were another Web site, it would be a tumbler of single-malt, but never mind), open the blog, read a little bit and go, "Jeez, that sounds just like me." Or not. Either way, welcome on in. It really is all about you.

About the author >

Jill is a partner co-founder of Baseline Consulting, a technology and management consulting firm specializing in data integration and business analytics. Jill is the author of three acclaimed business books, the latest of which is Customer Data Integration: Reaching a Single Version of the Truth, co-authored with Evan Levy. Her blog, Inside the Biz, focuses on the business value of IT.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Jill's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

By Mary Anne Hopper, Senior Consultant

As you can imagine, I travel quite a bit as a consultant for Baseline.   Over my tenure, I have developed a standard routine for getting through the airport.   More often than not, things have gone pretty smoothly for me.   Until this week – my bag was pushed into the extra screening area where it turned out there was an over-sized tube of toothpaste that had to be thrown away.     How did this happen when week in and week out, I use the same bag for my stuff and always get through without a hitch?   Well, I deviated from my process.

You see, the prior week I actually checked a bag and was able to throw a full tube of toothpaste in the ditty bag and I never checked when I was packing for this week’s trip.   I deviated from my standard process.   If you’ve ever implemented a ”small” or ”low impact” change that has blown up an ETL job, changed the meaning of a field, or caused a report to return improper results, you know where I’m going with this.

Process is important.   Discipline in implementing to that process is even more important.   Am I proposing that every small change go through an entire full-blown project lifecycle?   Absolutely not.   But, there should be a reasonable life cycle for everything that goes into a production quality environment.   Taking consistent steps in delivery helps to ensure that even the smallest of changes do not result in high impact outages.   This can be achieved by taking the time to analyze, develop, and then test changes prior to implementation.   What that right level of rigor is depends on the impact of the environment being unavailable or incorrect.

So, what did I learn from my experience with the tooth paste?   My deviation only cost me about $3.50, some embarrassment in the TSA line, and an unplanned trip to CVS.   I learned I will no longer change my travel packing plans (whether or not I check luggage).   What can you learn?   There is a cost in time and/or dollars if you don’t follow a set process.   The best starting place is to work with your business and/or IT partners to reach consensus on that right level of rigor – and stick with it.

Photo provided by CogDogBlog via Flickr (Creative Commons License).

MAHopper_BWMary Anne has 15 years of experience as a data management professional in all aspects of successful delivery of data solutions to support business needs.   She has worked in the capacity of both project manager and business analyst to lead business and technical project teams through data warehouse/data mart implementation, data integration, tool selection and implementation, and process automation projects.

Posted October 28, 2010 6:00 AM
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