DATA MANAGEMENT MENTORING – A DECADE OF DELICATE BALANCE
As a co-founder of DAMA UK’s mentoring scheme, it’s no surprise that I am a great advocate of the value of mentoring, both in our data management profession and in life. I’m delighted to say that this year marks the 10th anniversary of our scheme, founded back in 2011.
Since its inception we have used the University of California’s definition of mentoring as ‘a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else’ . The scheme’s main aims have also remained unchanged over the intervening period and are to:
· Help improve the skills and expertise of all DAMA UK members by growing skills, expertise and best practice across the organisation.
· Support the professionalism of all DAMA UK members
· Raise the profile of data management specialists across wider UK industry
We launched the scheme after it became clear to the committee that some of our members want to talk with other data management professionals who are not their managers or work colleagues. This may be to help them with specific data management problems, e.g. how can I get senior managers in my organisation to buy in to data governance? How do I start a customer master data management project? How do I build a business case for improving data quality? In addition, some want to focus on their own personal and professional development, e.g. What should I do to prepare myself to take on a data governance role? I don’t feel I am getting the credit within my company for what I do in data management, so how can I raise my profile and be recognised more widely?
The scheme is open only to DAMA UK individual or corporate members. In the last 10 years more than 60 DAMA UK members have been connected to a variety of mentors who have provided support across the entire breadth of the data management disciplines including data architecture, business intelligence, data quality and data governance, in addition to career path advice. At the present time 10 mentors are mentoring more than 25 DAMA UK members. We are also currently revamping the scheme to make it easier for mentors and mentees to link up more easily via the DAMA UK website.
Having been a mentor myself since the start, what have I learned about mentoring? First, being a mentor is as much a learning experience as being a mentee, as I have been exposed to many different data management people and their problems working in a wide variety of organisational cultures, including small businesses, global multinationals and UK government departments. This has taught me that although good practice in data management is often generic, with many different organisations facing similar challenges with data quality, governance, reporting and so on, understanding specific cultural contexts is critical to providing viable support and advice. What works in a small business may not do so in a multinational and vice versa.
Moreover, what mentees usually want is not someone to tell them what to do, but a mentor who acts as a sounding board to listen to their ideas and thoughts, ask independent questions, provide feedback and generally act as a supportive friend who has their best interests at heart. In essence, mentoring should be all about helping others to develop themselves in the direction they want to go in. As the film director Steven Spielberg observed, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”
If you are a DAMA UK member and have not been involved to date by either being a mentor or a mentee (or both) why not give it a try? In the first instance go to the mentoring pages on our website at https://www.dama-uk.org/Mentoring for more information on the scheme, and how to get involved. Here’s to the next 10 years!
Principal Information Management Consultant, Global Data Strategy
DAMA UK Committee Member
Photo by Lili Popper on Unsplash
I want to start by telling you a bit about me, my name is Andy Lunt and I’m a Data Governance Manager at The Adecco Group. I’ve worked for The Adecco Group for the last 13 years starting out as a recruitment consultant, moving on into setting up and managing an Management Informationteam both here in the UK and Poland. I’ve now taken on the role of leading the implementation of a data governance programme.
I have lots of hobbies outside of work that keep me busy that in climbing to shooting clay pigeon as well DIY – I live in an old cottage so always lots of things to fix! I love to have a tiple at the weekends my poison of choice being Belgian beer!
There are many different ways for an organisation to start a data governance programme. Some are traditional and conventional, others less so. What’s more important is that in any organisation that depends on data, data governance happens rather than who starts it or how it’s started.
Increasingly, businesses are using buzz words like ‘data driven’ or ‘predictive analytics’ and so on. Part of the job of a new data governance manager is to help the organisation realise these aspirations by helping them understand the ‘as is’ data landscape and what foundations need to be put in place to enable analytics, data science and data engineering teams to get to their promised land.
At Adecco in the UK I have started our data governance journey 12 months ago, the driving force behind the move is the need for data to play a central role in helping us achieve our strategic goals.One of our big investments in this area was a data science function. We want this function to deliver insight into how our business operates but more importantly show us how to react to the changes in the world of recruitment around us.
The challenge, as any large organisation can sympathise with, is a large volume of data spread out in a federated fashion, which essentially means siloed data! Housed in a mixture of legacy and new systems. If we couple this challenge with limited system and data documentation and no real data ownership, we have recipe for failure when it comes to being a data driven organisation.
How I answered the Challenge!
All these steps Adecco are taking are a collective effort to help us mature our data management practices and achieve our ultimate goal of becoming a data driven organisation in a safe and controlled way.
Want to hear more? DAMA UK members can access my webinar by logging into the website. You’ll find my webinar in the resources area. Enjoy
Hi I'm Nicola Askham, one of the Directors for DAMA UK. For the past two years I've been responsible for arranging and hosting the webinars for DAMA UK. I can honestly say it's been an inspiring, if busy role. I get to meet a range of really interesting people who share a wide range of insights and stories.
As the host I have to turn up to all of the webinars. I can honestly say that I have listened to presentations and heard people speak on topics that I wouldn't ordinarily have joined a webinar to learn about. So, if you do see one of our webinars being advertised on a topic that isn't perhaps your area of data speciality, please be open minded and register. Listen to the webinar and you may be surprised what you will learn. Often tips shared in respect of one data management discipline are translatable to other data management disciplines.
I have been amazed at the gems I have picked up from listening to webinars on topics that have nothing to do with my speciality.
Up until last year all of our webinars were publicly available on the Brighttalk platform, but late last year we started providing additional webinars which are only available to our members. They have been a great success.
These webinars have provided very focussed advice for our members and given them a chance to question experts in their field. Our latest members only webinar was in fact a presentation practice session. It gave members a safe space to practice presenting via video and gain feedback from three of our experienced committee members. The feedback was so good that we are planning further presentation practice sessions later in the year. Please let us know if you would like to take part in one of them.
I am currently planning our webinars for the rest of the year. We are looking for people willing to share their stories, across all data management disciplines. If you believe that you've got a great story to share, some tips, or even better a case study of how adopting one of the data management disciplines has enabled you and your organisation to achieve better things, we'd love to hear from you.
We have a number of the DAMA DMBoK version 2 copies which we will be giving to our webinar presenters as a thank you for doing the webinar for us.
If you do have a story you'd like to share, please get in touch: info@DAMAUK.org
Photo by Jaime Lopes on Unsplash
I’m not really a big fan of online or remote interaction – frequently exacerbated by my failure to properly harness new technology. But needs must and, for me at least, working from home is going to be my new normal for the foreseeable future, so I thought I’d better start embracing it! Back in November I attended my first ever virtual conference – the IRM MDM and Data Governance summit. I’ve been a regular attendee at this event for more than 10 years as a delegate, speaker and sponsor. This is not a paid advert by the way - based on my personal experience I would say to anyone that this is a really valuable peer to peer learning event for data management professionals. As such I wanted to get the most out of it, to try and recreate the in-person experience and catch up with people in my network. So I committed to ‘be in the room’.
I remember a keynote from a previous IRM event, delivered by Nigel Risner:
He challenged the audience to be in the room. “Do you live your life in the present or past tense? If you are in the room, be in the room. If your mind is elsewhere you might as well leave now.”
I can’t recall everything he said – I was somewhat distracted by the multitude of animal hats he was wearing and the fact that at the end of it I think I concluded I was a Dolphin……but I did leave my phone in my bag and try to pay proper attention to the speakers and presentations that followed.
So on November 3rd 2020 I booked 2 days off for personal development in the work calendar, switched on my Out of Office notification, logged out of my work email and sat down with the conference agenda, circling the sessions that most interested me. This included a virtual wine tasting guided by a sommelier (@diegosomm) from Argentina – yum! I treated anything marked on the agenda as a networking break as just that – not a catch up with email opportunity. I had some lovely video chats with people in the breakout rooms. And I popped along to the sponsors area to look at what solutions were being promoted, now that GDPR is ‘old news’.
It is much harder to ‘be in the room’ in a virtual environment. The platform format helped quite a lot with that. Sessions were auto-scheduled and if you were late for the start you missed the first few minutes . I think if everything was ‘on demand’ I’d have found it harder to commit the time. The presenters were on video – they couldn’t see you, but the fact that you can see who’s talking makes it easier to listen. You could type in Q & A in real time so there was some ‘live’ interaction. And, unlike the in-person event, this time I could download the whole presentation the next day – not just the slides. So often it’s the commentary that sparks the light bulb moment – not the words on the page. On the concluding panel session someone also pointed out that if you’d chosen a session unwisely (I’ve sat through some ‘big data’ ones in my time where the presenter could have been speaking in a foreign language for all that I understood) you could just switch over – no more needing to do the walk of shame and try and sneak out of the rear doors.
So did I prefer the virtual platform to the in-person event? No - but I did enjoy it and I think that was down to the fact that I committed to “be in the room”. Whilst I was having a lovely time catching up with past colleagues I should take this opportunity to apologise to my current ones as I really did put the day job aside for two days – but I have some great Argentinean wine recommendations if you need them!
Mary Drabble is the Principal Data Governance Analyst at Standard Life Aberdeen, leading a team embedding the organisation-wide Data Governance Implementation Framework. Mary has a proven track record in Master Data Management, Data Governance and Data Quality tools, methodologies, architectures and processes. Prior to taking on an end user role, as a consultant with more than 15 years’ experience in Information Management, she helped clients across all industries in a wide variety of engagements ranging from Analytical to Operational data and information management solutions.
Photo by Daniel on Unsplash
This is a different type of blog! I'm Lisa Allen and I am a data professional who has worked in data for many years. Recently, Nicola Askham interviewed me for DAMA UK on the topic of data governance. During the interview, I referred to several different resources and I promised to share them with you all, so here they are. But to start with, if you missed the interview, you can find it here:
With so many to choose from, I find myself on these more often than most.
If you’re just starting in data governance the Data Management Book of Knowledge (DMBoK) is a must-read. And even if you are experienced, it is a handy reference guide.
Personal skills are essential for data governance. How to influence, how to deal with conflict and make yourself resilient etc. These all can help you on your journey. To develop your personal and leadership skills I’d highly recommend:
Data technical skills
To keep learning what is going on in the world of data I listen to the following:
Examples of data principles and data maturity models
As a data professional, I think it helps to refer to other organisations approaches for ideas and tips. Here are a few examples to help you on your way.
And finally, if you’d like to see an example of a data maturity model here’s a blog that explains the approach and a link to the model itself.
That’s it! I hope you find these resources useful. There are so many more out there. Let us know what resources you use in your data governance approach.
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash
The UK Government launched its National Data Strategy (NDS) in 2020, the government sought feedback from all industries, from 9th September to 9th December, focusing on the following key topic:
1. Unlocking the value of data across the economy
2. Securing a pro-growth and trusted data regime
3. Transforming the government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services.
4. Ensuring the security and resilience of the infrastructure on which data relies
5. Championing the international flow of data
Why DAMA UK responded to the NDS Consultation?
Data and information are key enterprise assets that support an organisation. DAMA UK’s mission is to nurture a community of data professionals in the UK who champion the value of data management. We do this by connecting people, providing resources, and supporting development.
Therefore, DAMA UK is in a unique position to provide a response with and on behalf of our members, who cover the width and breadth of data professionals in the UK. Our members are from a plethora of industries and sectors including but not limited to, charity, utilities, defence, communication, education, government, agriculture, and health etc.
DAMA UK’s Position on the NDS Consultation
DAMA UK is passionate both about the future of data and the development of data professionals in the UK. We play an active part in the Data Management Body of Knowledge (DMBoK), which includes the combined knowledge of data professionals around the world. We support the Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) qualification. Which certifies data professionals around the world in the disciplines of data management, ensuring a common standard.
DAMA UK strongly supports the principles behind the UK National Data Strategy.
Approach to the response
I led a small subcommittee. We reached out to the DAMA UK’s membership through the monthly newsletter, blogs, monthly Bright Talk events and via all DAMA UK’s social media channels including LinkedIn and Twitter. With a month to respond to the consultation, our members responded from their respective industries which gave us a varied and wide-ranging response. Our subcommittee curated the material into our government NDS Consultation document. You can review our collated response in the member’s area.
The government will publish its response to the consultation in early 2021. Subject to the consultation’s findings, the government may carry out further consultation or provide details of any potential changes to the current framework strategy.
It's an exciting time to be in data in the UK. Watch this space, as there may be an opportunity to further input into the UK's National Data Strategy.
Lastly, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of our members who contributed to the response!
Season’s greetings and Happy New Year
Akhtar Ali is Vice Chair of DAMA UK. A Data & Information Governance specialist with a wealth of experience in creating and implementing data vision and strategy. Akhtar has an extensive experience of working in the utilities industry, where he has gained both regulatory and commercial experience. He has a proven track record in Records Retention, GDPR, Data Governance, Data Quality tools, and Information Management, supported by strong Change Management and Business Transformation skills.
Photo by Natalia Y on Unsplash
Tomas Sanchez’s blog described how doing the right thing by data can feel like a curse – something that resonated with many of us, who face the same challenge in our organisations. Lisa Allen’s blog proposed some practical advice to tackling “the curse” – giving data a voice, taking a structured approach and using data storytelling. All great suggestions, but what if your organisation still resists implementing them? How can you spot the opposing behaviours and be forearmed with actions to finally lift the curse?
So here is some advice I would give:
Find the earlier blogs here:
Tomas Sanchez – The Curse of doing right for data https://www.dama-uk.org/Blog/9222122
Lisa Allen – What is data done right https://www.dama-uk.org/Blog/9320297
Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash
Part 2: What is data done right?
As Tomas Sanchez set out in the first blog of this series, data management can often feel like a curse of doing right for data. I’m going to talk to you about practical advice to help you address some of the challenges you may face.
As many people are aware data is a vital asset for an organisation. It enables better understanding, allows you to gain insight and make better decisions. But organisations don’t always value it as such an asset. As a data professional this is challenging, but it is also your calling to turn this around for your organisation. Here are several practical steps that can help you to do right for data.
1. A voice for data
Whereas other functions like Human Resources or Finance have departments that give them a voice, not all organisations have a Data Department. As a data professional you can ensure data has a voice in your organisation by addressing the following areas:
2. A structured approach
Data spans so many different disciplines and touches every part of the business. It can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some tips:
3. Data story telling
Being able to tell stories about the data and why people should care helps engage your organisation and get them onboard. Here are some things to consider:
And finally, for me, it’s all about positivity. Data transformations can be hard. But with drive and enthusiasm success will come and, when they do, celebrate the successes. If these things were easy then your organisation wouldn’t need you. But they do.
Lisa Allen – Is Head of Data and Analytical Services at Ordnance Survey. A seasoned data professional with experience across government. Lisa is a committee member of DAMA UK nurturing a community of data professionals across the UK.
This is part of a three-part series. Next hear from Sarah Burnett:
Part 3: Main symptoms of the curse
What are the main obstacles, arguments and reasons that organisations give for not implementing changes? What are the behaviours to look for? What does management and those organisations do to cope with the lack of change when results are needed.
You can read part 1 here: