imageIf you are a data steward (or similar) tasked with improving the quality of your organisations data, then you will be reliant on many people to help improve your data quality who will often be outside your direct team. Above all, you may have people who have more beneficial impact on data quality than their peers. These are your Data Quality Heroes,but do they know they are heroes? Data Quality Heroes can be recognised in a number of ways:

  • By the extra effort that they put in to data related activities
  • They will tell you about data of dubious quality, even if it does not relate to their current task
  • They will even tell you about data problems they spot on their current task
  • They will hand over the data that they, or their predecessor, had squirreled away over many years
  • They will find new uses for existing data
  • They will put lots of energy and enthusiasm into correcting data accuracy problems and filling in data gaps
  • They will even encourage some of their wayward colleagues (who may be Data Anarchists) to supply required data updates

You may well have spotted some Data Quality Heroes in your organisation, but do they know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated? One of the key motivators for data related activities, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is esteem. All humans have a need to be respected and to have self-esteem and self-respect. Esteem is the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others. imageIf your Data Quality Heroes do not feel recognised for their good efforts, they may find that they gain more esteem from team mates for doing the wrong things with data – i.e. becoming a Data Squirrel or Data Anarchist. If this is the case, then you may have turned your Data Quality Heroes into a Data Quality Devil. So how can you recognise your Data Quality Heroes and ensure that they get rewarded and/or esteem for their efforts? Some suggestions:

  • If your organisation has a staff reward scheme, then make use of it
  • If you have an Employee of the Month scheme, propose your Data Quality Heroes
  • Each month publicly announce your Data Quality Heroes, make sure that their managers know that they are a Data Quality Hero – which can come in useful at performance review time
  • Go out and visit them and say thank you personally – they will appreciate the effort

Above all, make sure that your Data Quality Heroes gain some reward or recognition for their good work. How have you recognised your Data Quality Heroes?

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2 thoughts on “Do your Data Quality Heroes know who they are?

  • 3rd December 2010 at 09:59

    Great post Julian as ever.

    I’ve been writing a little bit about communities and the power of culture recently.

    One of the simplest ways to get people motivated is to simply mention their good work to the community. It creates tremendous self worth and also encourages others to follow suit.

    Simple techniques, cost nothing but I hazard a guess few companies practice them regularly.

    Great tips, thanks for sharing.


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