If you have been following my MDM posts, you will know that one of the key pieces of an MDM program is data governance. As part of my research into data governance, I came across the book Alpha Males and Data Disasters The Case for Data Governance by Gwen Thomas. While Data Governance obviously has some technical aspects, this book treats those fairly lightly and puts most of its emphasis on the human and organizational aspects of Data Governance. There are many good suggestions on what a Data Governance organization should look like, how it should make decisions, how it should communicates its decisions, and how it should resolve conflicts.
The Alpha Male part of the title refers to the typical middle-management style that emphasizes handling decisions yourself and only consulting peers or higher authority when there is no other alternative. This can lead to decisions about data that may make perfect sense to the manger’s immediate organization but are disastrous to the enterprise. The author explains how clear rules and guidelines will take these decisions out of the Alpha Male manager’s hands and prevent many of the data disasters that have been making headlines lately. (by the way, she does say that women can also be Alpha Male managers).
While I read this book in relation to my MDM research, Data Governance has much wider applicability than MDM. Indeed, with the current emphasis on compliance, Data Governance is something all organizations will have to consider. The author covers what kinds of organizations need Data Governance and what organizations can live without it.
In conclusion, I found this book to be very useful in understanding how to do Data Governance and would highly recommend it. It’s relatively short and a quick, entertaining read.