There has never been a time when there were so many ways to set up a process- or platform-driven Data Architecture that you could choose from. In the last few years, some companies have a lot of money, and they have all the tools that people have ever used. Use different tools for each solution. This works for some businesses or groups of people. Other businesses have a core set of applications in place. There are data flows, but they’re very operational in nature, and there’s nothing at all to do with Data Architecture, even though there are some data flows. Still, some people are trying to use one tool to do everything, from start to finish.
Approaches that don’t work for everyone
Approaches and frameworks to Data Architecture can be used by many different types of businesses, but they must be matched up with the type of business, the industry it works in, and its own needs and goals. Healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing businesses all have different needs, and a startup will have a different look than a well-known business. Another thing to think about is the culture of the company. Companies with top-down management styles will need a different strategy than those with bottom-up management styles.
Over time, adapt to the culture and influence the people who work for you.
Yuhasz told us how to get a Data Architecture project off the ground in a way that worked. The first thing he told us to do was to treat the process with a sense of humility. Many people think that this means agreeing to everything, but he said that it’s more about respecting other professionals, giving them the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that everyone wants to help each other and the company. “Even if you don’t think you’re getting it back, sometimes you have to be the one who sets the standard.”
With empathy and a willingness to listen, you can learn about the culture and how people see things from their point of view when you lead. Rather than being seen as an outsider who is trying to be disruptive, humility lets a manager “baked in” to the culture and adapt to the way the company works, he said.
Raise awareness and teach people.
“It’s wonderful to feel like we’re there with our people,” he said. It can be hard to keep enthusiasm in check when you have to share it with people back home who haven’t been to the conference. It’s important to meet them where they are, as well as work over time to make them more aware and educated about things. Rather than just telling people what you’ve learned, he said, focus on the results and goals that are important to both of you and work together to get there, using the new tools you’ve learned. Because of that, you’re going to win them over.
Act as a Change Agent in the Right Way for the Organization
The best way to make changes that work is to start small, be humble, and build up your inventory and skills from there. If you talk about making “a few tweaks” here and there, you’ll be able to achieve small victories quickly, especially if you listen to each other and work together to solve problems. At the same time, work with people in your company who want to change, improve, and innovate. Find out how they get people excited about new things.
Foster new ideas and minimise disruption.
It’s also important to know how much potential there is for people’s lives to be changed by changes, Yuhasz said: “This is the empathy part.” Even if disruptions are for good, understanding and acknowledging their effects will help people see how they can help them grow.
Evangelise the power of data to make things happen.
Continue to link the results of your work to how Data Architecture helps you get value from the work that led to those results. People will tell the storey of the project if it is shared, he said. “And you’re just saying that they did a great job of getting the value for you.” People who share the credit, share the wealth, and build each other up earn a lot of money in the long run.
“Good”: Find out what that means.
Use the current roadmap to make sure everyone agrees on what a good outcome should be. Get to know each other and make sure that everyone is working toward the same goal. Begin by working together with your stakeholders and users to set a common definition of “good.” Then, figure out what the best ways are to get there.
You need to know when “best” is important.
There is a lot of space between “good” and “best,” and there is a lot of value that can be added there. Then, when it comes to things that are very important for keeping the lights on, the highest standards are important.
It is important to make sense of the big picture.
This starts with a problem statement that explains why you should do X or Y and lays out how they’ll be done. “The more you put on the page, the less simple it looks.”
Why should I care? Do I have to do this? When I do this, “And then absolutely be able to drill down in detail from there.”
Quick Wins: Champion
When a Data Architecture or strategic plan didn’t have enough quick wins up front, it often didn’t work out well for them. It’s a mistake to ask people who work with you to wait six months before seeing any benefits, Yuhasz said. Keep in mind when they will see real value.
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