Data Quality Is Like Parenting

Thinking about it: Data Quality has a lot of similarities with parenting.

Some equivalence that comes to my mind is:

  • Parenting must be done by everyone who has children; you are not supposed to have an education in education before being parents. The same about data. You are not supposed be a data quality expert before working with data; some common sense will bring you a long way.
  • Some parenting experts never had their own children. I have seen the same with data quality experts too.
  • Many people are more knowledgeable about how other people should raise children than about raising their own children. Same same with data quality.
  • While we internally in the family may have some noise when parenting we keep that internally and keep up appearances to the outside. I think everyone have seen the same with data quality.
  • There may be different styles in parenting going from “because I said so” to talking about it. The same is true around data quality improvement efforts.
  • We do see more and more regulatory around parenting like it in my country now is forbidden to slap your kids.  I think it should be forbidden to slap your naughty data too.

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2 thoughts on “Data Quality Is Like Parenting

  1. Rich Murnane 22nd August 2010 / 13:51

    Love this post Henrik,

    As both a parent and a data geek I can relate to the parallels between the two professions.

    Regarding education of parents, it’s amazing that overnight new parents are supposed to be experts at parenting. In the “old days” new parents were typically coached by their own parents after bringing little ones into the world, it doesn’t seem that way anymore. Just like data, most data geeks don’t have “data parents” around in their organization for which they can ask questions to, forcing them to rely on people in their “community” such as yourself in this extended “online community” when they need assistance (Did I ever say thank you for your help a few months ago?).

    Regarding the expertise comment, my thoughts are that folks should spend less time on being “data quality experts” and more time on being “data quality experts ON THEIR DATA”. Just like parents who try to tell other parents “how to parent”, most times these are the parents of the children you’d be ashamed to be associated with.

    Happy parenting and data quality-ing…Rich

  2. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 22nd August 2010 / 22:06

    Thanks a lot for the comment Rich. I have become a grand farther now and yes, I will try to avoid too much consulting (good or bad as it might be) and concentrate on spoiling a bit (good or bad as it might be).

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