I like Sherlock Holmes.
No. I adore Sherlock Holmes, and must have read at least two or three times every story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
I recently had a discussion with an enterprise architect who was in the middle of a long Master Data Management program.
After listening to him explaining for one hour his impressive achievements, one thing struck my mind.
He had designed and executed his entire program without actually looking at the data. Everything was there, including the structure of the entities and the rules/policies around these entities.
But, as far as I understood, no detailed data analysis had been executed to get a comprehensive knowledge of the data. I was truly amazed and disconcerted.
After the presentation, I talked to him, and confirmed that he had clearly focused the program on the metadata while entirely ignoring the current data content. The effort and results of the project so far were great, but to me, something was utterly wrong in his approach.
Today, I thought of a statement Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put in the mouth of the most famous detective of all times in the “Scandal in Bohemia”:
“‘I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”
Maybe I (and Sherlock) are wrong, but I still believe that data management projects (and investigations) should start by looking at the data.
What about you?