This is Part 2 of a 5 part blog post. If you have not already read it see Part 1 – The shape of the Zoo
There are three species in the low compliance area of the Data Zoo: the Data Whinger, the Data Squirrel and the Data Anarchist.
The Data Whinger typically exhibits low levels of activity relating to data, they would rather sit and complain that it is all too difficult, that the application is all wrong, that the company is wrong etc.
The Data Whinger, through their low level of activity, tends to create little poor quality data (thankfully) but what they do create may well need extra checking. As they can be quite a vocal type, you will usually know who they are and where they are. If you can listen to their complaints and ignore the emotion, they can give some clues as to what needs correcting
The Data Whinger can make a lot of noise and demotivate others (see below). Even when you respond to their complaints, they may respond with another complaint “It’s not how I would have done it…”, “But you still haven’t taken into account….”, “The old system was better…” and “I still don’t see why we should change from the current process/system/standard…” etc.
Impact on others
The Data Whinger can make everyone’s working lives difficult, they will demotivate, derail and generally be obstructive. If you are the manager/data steward/project manager etc. who is trying to address their concerns and improve the standards, systems and processes of your organisation then you are putting yourself in the firing line of their complaints, so you need a suit of body armour to stay sane.
The Data Squirrel will not see a need to conform to company standards for data, systems and processes. They will tend to be busy doing their jobs – what they see as important to them personally, but anything that they do not see as important to them will not get done. They may believe that “knowledge is power” and will be able to produce an email/memo/document to support any argument.
They will have data and information on many topics, some of it may not exist elsewhere, so can be a valuable source of information, if you are able to access their data hoard.
The Data Squirrel typically will not make much noise. They will quietly hoard data, so long as it supports them getting their job done, but not make anyone aware of it. If you find a Data Squirrel and try to get access to their hoard of information, they may start to get more vocal and defensive.
Impact on others
They will often be very popular with colleagues, as they are seen as a useful source of information and are often heard to say “I’ve got that in a mail/spreadsheet/file somewhere…. Ah, here it is.”
Clearly from an organisational perspective, they are bad news, as they perpetuate their own private hoards of information which should be in corporate data stores.
The Data Anarchist puts lots of energy into all the activities they do with data, it’s a shame that none of it is in corporate data systems! They will have a multitude of spreadsheets and databases, created unofficially and lovingly maintained to increase the perceived importance of their roles. Any attempt to make them conform may result in abuse and/or arguments that the corporate system is not as good as the system they have created. Some of them are very vocal about their activities, others keep quiet and hope they won’t be spotted.
The Data Anarchist puts lots of energy into data activities and may gather data that is not held elsewhere. They love new technologies and new approaches, but only if it is their idea.
The Data Anarchist by their nature cannot conform to company standards and conventions, they love being a maverick and cannot be made to conform.
Their systems and spreadsheets are likely to duplicate corporate data sets and are likely to create future problems in de-duplication.
As the Data Anarchist’s activities may not be obvious, corporate decision makers may not be aware that they are not using up to date data.
Impact on others
The Data Anarchist can be a problem to resolve, they will not conform and love exploring new areas and generally rubbishing any corporate approaches. They perpetuate and worsen data quality problems, but they see themselves as doing a better job than the IT department. To their colleagues they may be recognised as not conforming, but they will often provide a good “service” to colleagues, shame they cannot provide the same service for others!
The next post in the series will consider the medium compliance data personalities see Part 3 – Medium compliance personalities.