A few weeks ago, I was privy to a very active blog topic regarding CxOs and why they don’t “get” Data Quality and its value proposition. It attracted dozens of responses from a multitude of perspectives. Much of the dialogue was in regard to getting senior leadership’s initial buy-in and support but it got me thinking… even if you are fortunate enough to get the go ahead, how do you take this one opportunity and parlay it into a string of opportunities?
At the risk of over simplifying it, I believe it comes down to one word: success. Success is contagious. It breeds confidence. It encourages risk. It attracts a crowd. It feeds on itself. There’s an old saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”, and that is especially true when it comes to Data Quality. And if you are a Data Quality professional, failure not only threatens the viability of your program, but your ongoing role in the organization as well. In short, there’s a lot on the line. So how do you tilt the board in your favor? As usual, there are many factors; unambiguous scope, clear governance, appropriate skills, adequate experience, the right tools, etc. But one factor that is often overlooked is success criteria. How will I know if I am done and whether or not I have delivered against the stated goals? More importantly, will I have met my customer’s perception of success? After all, that’s the only opinion that really matters.
So the next time you are undertaking a Data Quality project, in addition to clearly articulating the problem, goals and objectives, take some time to define success in measurable terms that are meaningful to your customer. This will remove all doubt and uncertainty about the final outcome. Every hot streak starts by achieving the first success.