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Kelle O'Neal

Thanks for joining our data conversation! This blog is an opportunity to share the real life challenges, opportunities and approaches to improving the quality and value of data in your organization. We will write about everything data related from translating "data" speak into "business" speak, to governance models, to the real differences among the myriad software tools available. But there's one catch: we all have to agree to toss out the fluff. That's right, no 30,000 foot, theoretical strategies that leave you wondering how to execute and actually improve performance. Visit regularly to learn from peers and partners on how they are managing and improving data, and we hope you'll also share your views and experiences.

About the author >

As Founder and Managing Partner of First San Francisco Partners, Kelle O’Neal manages specialist data governance and data management consulting services to complex organizations that deliver faster time to results. Kelle can be reached at kelle@firstsanfranciscopartners.com or through the First San Francisco Partners website.

Follow First San Francisco Partners on Twitter at @1stSanFrancsico.

Editor's Note: Find more articles and resources in Kelle's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

September 2011 Archives

An analogous rule to The Power of Context is The Rule of 150. This rule says that close-knit groups have the power to magnify the epidemic potential of a message or idea. If we want groups to serve as incubators for contagious messages, then we have to keep groups below the 150 person tipping point. Above that point, there begins to be structural impediments to the ability of the group to agree and act with one voice.

Although we don't consider Data Governance Organizations as having 150 people, the number of people it influences in a company can be far greater than 150. It follows that the sphere of influence of the Data Governance group needs to be capped at 150 to ensure the company is agreeing and acting with one voice. This includes all the people explicitly allocated to the Data Governance program as well as the people who implement its policies. 150.jpg

A first step in doing this is to create an Operating Model that can scale without becoming too large. Ensure that you design a model that can grow and scale as you extend Data Governance across multiple data assets and domains, and multiple business processes.

Another approach is to separate decision-making structures that become too cumbersome by nature of being too large. It may be necessary to push decision making down to the Working Group rather than only being at the Steering Committee. Else subdivide the Working Group into smaller Working Sub-Groups to better tap into sets of expertise and facilitate better analysis and decision-making.

In order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first. By starting with smaller projects with measurable tangible benefits, it's possible to better manage the vision and execution through unified thinking and acting.

We can learn many lessons from The Tipping Point about how to create word of mouth epidemics and start a "governance wave". One key takeaway is that there are unique aspects to epidemics that indicate a better return on your invested time and efforts so concentrate your resources on a few key areas:

  • Identify the right stakeholders and messengers to be involved and focus your efforts on them.
  • Structure the messaging in a way that is compelling, practical and gets people to act.
  • Create a context and environment that encourages people to better govern data - don't rely on individuals alone to make the right decisions.
  • Keep your sphere of influence at 150 or below to magnify the epidemic potential of Data Governance.
And consider how best to use those types of people that can help spread the word on the Data Governance and its benefits. Recruit Connectors and Mavens to spread the information and Salesmen to convince people to get on board and take action in order to improve the way data is created, managed and maintained. Why not leverage other people with unique skills and personalities to assist you in your cause? They may be able to cover much more ground than you ever could on your own.

Lastly, those who are successful at creating social epidemics don't just do what they think is right. They deliberately test their intuitions. Therefore, test your strategies, policies and processes to determine whether the impact is as anticipated and whether people adopt them. Test decision-making structures to be sure decisions are made quickly and are enforceable - and be willing to adapt if the results are less than ideal.

What other examples and ideas do you have that relate to the rules of epidemics applied to the adoption of Data Governance?

Posted September 12, 2011 5:29 AM
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