This blog is loosely based on Lyssa Adkins - Coaching Agile Teams - a great book.
I get often asked whether or not a data vault model complies to the 'rules'. Or - just lately - I had a great free-format brainstorm on a friday afternoon with a data warehouse team of an organization who already practised data vault for like 3 to 4 years. Before I came, they said to me - 'Ronald, we might have deviated on data vault rules, so please be aware - it might not be to your liking'.
'Oh my god' I thought to myself - for two reasons;
1) - Who do they think I am - the data vault police?
2) - Please - BREAK THE RULES
In agile the wording Shu Ha Ri is often used.
Shu: Follow the rule
Ha: Break the rule
Ri: Be the rule
In using Data Vault at first, I understand the need for strict rules, binary answers, right or wrong, black or white. Fine - we want to 'follow the rule' - we are in Shu- state.
While practising - Ha is reached. The basics has been attained and now time is spend on 'reflecting on the truth of everything'. One comes 'to a deeper understanding of the art than pure repetitive practice can allow' (Cockurn 2008). Put in other words; one begins to 'break free of the rigid instruction of the teacher and begins to question and discover more through personal experience (Shuhari Dojo Martial Arts). Although one breaks free, one still upholds the principles underlying the data vault practice. For example; if you truly understand the princples and motives of modeling the business keys, if you truly understand the deeper meaning behind that...then maybe you are ready to break the rules that implements it!!!
In Ri 'There are no techniques...all moves are natural' (Sensei's library). One is now advancing more through self discovery than by instruction. When in Ri, one may decide to replace certain 'rules' with something else entirely - the replacement is still in line with the principle....You are now the rule...
It is this path that ensures advancement in anything. We need teams, people to surpass the masters, both in knowledge and skill. This is the source of improvement in Data Vault as a whole. If the master is not surpassed, then Data Vault will deteriorate.
Taking this a bit more generic one might say that people like Dan Linstedt reached 'Ri' state in data warehousing and decided to master their masters and invent new rules - to be that rule. Data Vault came out of that and it improved the practise of Enterprise Data Warehousing.
If peeps/teams are making up new rules - will there eventually be 'Data Vault'? That is a philosophical question and an interesting one. What will remain are the principles, what will evolve are the rules.
DO NOT EMBRACE 'DATA VAULT', embrace the principles and discover the rules, make new rules, be that rule and thereby contributing to advancements in data warehousing.
Back to the initial question; Ronald - 'Does our model comply to Data Vault Rules'.
What would you think the correct answer is......?