Data Zoo characters

People interact with data in different ways and can have significant effects on data quality – for good or bad!

Our unique and popular Data Zoo concept helps identify different data behaviours, explains the factors that influence those behaviours and shows how to change behaviours to have a better impact on data.

Some of the key data behaviours in The Data Zoo are:

Whinger – The Whinger would rather complain that the new system is not as good as the old one, that current organisational approaches are wrong etc. rather than undertake data tasks

Data Squirrel – The Data Squirrel will have hoards of data (both paper and electronic), which do not exist in corporate systems and you may not be aware of. They are often liked by their colleagues as they are often able to answer tricky questions

Data Anarchist – The Data Anarchist puts a lot of energy into data activities, however, this will typically be to create their own systems using spreadsheet or personal database software. They are unlikely to keep corporate systems up to date

Jobsworth – The Jobsworth will use any ambiguity or lack of clarity in standards and processes as a reason for not undertaking tasks

Data Evangelist – The Data Evangelist is a valuable ally, they understand the power of data to an organisation and devote energy and time to convince others that good data practices are in their long term interests

The different data behaviours are illustrated in the diagram below using the three axes of Compliance, Impact and Strategic Awareness.

Compliance – how well an individual complies with written (and unwritten) standards for data activities

Impact – the energy and enthusiasm shown towards data activities

Strategic Awareness – how well an individual understands the overall strategic position and objectives of their organisation

data zoo

The data behaviours employees exhibit are influenced both by the team that they are in and by organisational factors. For example, an over bureaucratic process to obtain IT assistance will encourage Data Anarchists.

Download our free Data Zoo white paper for more information or purchase the Managing Data Quality book where these behaviours are explored in much more detail. Alternatively, our online People and Data course takes you through the behavioural aspects of data quality.