I have always been fascinated by the true origins of modern-day phrases or trends in my domain – Information Management, data management in particular. It is like a challenge I give to myself, a puzzle waiting to be solved. Why you say? Well, Aristotle said it already:
‘If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development’.
I tend to collect first the modern-day writings about it, mostly by practioners. Then I go to the on-line science libraries and browse through ACM journals, MIS Quarterly journals, European Journal of Information Systems, IBM Systems Journal, Decision Support Systems, Journal of Management Information Systems and lately the journal of Data and Information Quality Research. And I am forgetting a whole lot. But, since the field of information management is a relatively young science, I tend to eventually end up in the more or less classic science domains; psychology, mathematics, engineering, etc..
Being on such a quest is like opening up an unprecedented series of presents given to me by brilliant men and women. There is so much out there that can easily be applied to other domains, for example, the information management domain.
With ‘Data Quality’ the same applied. I started with books of Thomas Redman, aka the data doc, of course Larry English, Danette McGilvray, David Loshin, Jack Olson and also Arkady Maydanchik can not be missed. And one cannot overlook the books written by Yang Lee, Richard Wang and Leo Pipino. The majority of these books however (with the exception of Lee, Wang and Pipino), lack the scientific rigor, the kind of Design Research approach as introduced by Alan Hevner in 2004 (published in MIS Quarterly). And although this type of research is relatively young, there are many scientific based papers out there that more or less adhere to several of the Design Research pre-requisites that aim to have scientific rigor and relevance in practice.
Since 2004 many papers on data quality have been published that are really precious to me, but it just was not good enough for me. I had not reached the true origins yet, so I felt. So I broadened the scope to ‘Quality’ in general. Quality in a manufacturing/engineering/services context pointed me in the direction of Shewhart, Demming, Juran, Crosby, Feigenbaum, Ishikawa, and also Peter Drucker. Boy – did I enjoy the writing of these guys (sorry, they were all men).
However, I slowly digressed into various domains that opened up Pandora’s box; the domain of coping with change, management theory, decision theory, group processes, system theory, system dynamics and much more. And although I studied on a university, economics, this was all new to me.
Still not sure whether I have not being paying attention back in college or my university just sucked.
In between I entered into the field of Quality Software Management, not that odd I would say; on an abstract level one might argue that it is the sum of the above combined with software engineering and my own professional domain and the projects I undertook. Back then (and I still do) I felt that Gerald (Jerry) Weinberg seemed to have captured the soul of all these quality people combined with system theory, system dynamics, software engineering, a profound human perspective and a keen view on leadership and management (and why many current management models simply disfunction).
If anyone want to really go on a quest regarding ‘agile software development’; do not bother, start by reading the books of Jerry Weinberg. You will not find the word ‘agile’, but you will recognize it.
These books (and he wrote a whole lot) put me on a roller-coaster (which I am still on) that included exploratory testing, self-organizing teams, leadership, Kanban/Scrum/XP, CMMI, Six Sigma, etc…
I have so many books now, so many papers, so many subjects, so many loose ends…..it is ridiculous.
And it all started with ‘data quality’....
Am I done yet?
Will I ever be done?
Is it fun?
I need a second life, and a third...