Sunday, November 23, 2008

Picking the Boardwalk and Park Place DQ Projects

This weekend, I was playing a game of Monopoly with my kids. Monopoly is the ultimate game of capitalism. It’s a great way to teach a young one about money. (Given the length of the game, a single game can be a weekend long lesson.) The companies that we work for are also playing the capitalism game. So, it’s not a stretch that there are lessons to be learned while playing this game.

As I took in hefty rents from Pacific Ave, I could see that my daughter was beginning to realize that it’s really tough to win if you buy low-end properties like Baltic and Mediterranean, or any of the properties on that side of the board. Even with hotels, Baltic will only get you $450. It’s only with the yellow, green and blue properties that you can really make an impression on your fellow players. She got excited by finally getting a hold of Boardwalk and Park Place.

Likewise, it’s difficult to win at the data governance game if you pick projects that have limited upside. The tendency might be to fix the data of the business users who are complaining the most or those that the CEO tells you to fix. The key is to keep capitalism and the game of monopoly in mind when you pick projects.

When you begin picking high value targets with huge upside potential, you’ll begin to win at the data governance game. People will stand up and notice when you begin to bring in the high-end returns that Boardwalk and Park Place can bring in. You’ll get better traction in the organization. You’ll be able to expand your domain across Ventnor, St. James Place, gathering up other clean data monopolies.

This is the tactic that I’ve see so many successful data governance initiatives take at Trillium Software. The most successful project managers are also good marketers, promoting their success inside the company. And if no one will listen inside the company, they promote it to trade journals, analysts and industry awards. There’s nothing like a little press to make the company look up and notice.

So take the $200 you get from passing GO and focus on high value, high impact projects. When you land on Baltic, pass it by, at least at first. By focusing on the high impact data properties, you’ll get a better payoff in the end.

To hear a few more tips, I recommend the webinar by my friend Jim Orr at Trillium Software. You can listen to his webinar here.


Anonymous said...

Good post Steve, a common mistake for sure.

I remember one organisation several years ago who bought a DQ tool then went looking for issues, they followed the same approach, seeing who was shouting the loudest about poor DQ. End result was that the budget was pulled at the end of the following year as they made zip in terms of performance or profits improvement.

I believe organisations have to understand their "service profit chains" far more.

Once they can understand precisely what service chains drive profits in their business (and which ones don't) they can then focus their DQ efforts to eliminate time traps and deficiences from preventing even greater profits.

It sounds obvious. Every business knows how it makes money right? Sadly, in my experience, most are too busy fire-fighting to really understand where profits are really created and lost.

Steve Sarsfield said...

Thanks for your comment, Dylan. I hear that a lot. It’s not so much about having the knowledge and skills to improve information quality as is it applying that knowledge in the right places. However difficult, it’s not always the best strategy to oil the squeaky wheel. You’ll get noticed much more if you install nitrous oxide.

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