My favourite story is the fairytale “The Emperor’s new clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen.
In this tale an emperor hires two swindlers (aka consultants) who offer him the finest dress from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who is either stupid or unfit for his position. In fact there is no cloth at all, but no one (but at the end a little child) dares to say.
The Data Quality discipline is tormented by belonging to both the business side and the technology side of practice. This means that we have to live with the buzzwords and the smartness coming from both the management consultants and the technology consultants and vendors – including myself.
So you really have to believe in a lot of things and terms said in order not to look stupid or unfit for your position.
A way to cope with this is to look behind all the fine terms and recognize that most things said and presented is just another way of expressing common sense. Some examples:
Business Process: What you do at work – e.g. selling some stuff and putting data about it into a database so it’s ready for invoicing.
Referential Integrity Error: When you sold something not in the database. You may pick another item from the current list. Bad Change Management: When someone tells you to do it in another way. Now.
Organisational Resistance: When you find that way completely ridiculous because no one tells you why.
Fuzzy logic: This is about the common nature of most questions in life. Statements are not absolutely true or absolutely false but somewhere in between depending on the angle from where you observe.
Business Intelligence: When someone puts your data along with some other data into a new context visualised in a graph in order to replace human gut feeling.
Poor Enterprise Wide Data Quality: The invoicing went well. The decision made from the graph didn’t.
Data Governance: Meetings and documents about what went wrong with the data and how we can do better.
My experience is that the most successful data quality improvements is made when it is guided by common sense and expressed as being that. From there you may find great inspiration and practical skills and tools in each area of expertise.