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The Ten Commandments for Divine Data Quality

With data becoming more and more complicated, the task of managing your data can seem like a minefield. Managing data is not an easy job and with many traps designed to trip you up, the consequences of poor data management can be very large.

When the data is wrong, the information is wrong and bad decisions are made.  There is an overall lack of trust and decisions are made on instinct rather than fact.  This can lead to large efficiency losses, reduction in profits and dangerously large fines due to potential data breaches.

We’ve come a long way in over 3000 years since Moses was reported to have received the ten commandments. However, following in similar fashion, in order to simplify the data management landscape, here are ten data commandments to follow in order to improve data management within organizations.

10 Common Sense Commandments:

  1. Discard conventional fixed ideas. You don’t have to be sick to get better.
  2. Think of how to do it better; not why it cannot be done.
  3. Start by questioning the current practices, methods and resources used. Do not make or accept excuses for poor data quality.
  4. Others will follow you, if you continually seek improvement. Data Quality is about fitness for use. Leave the search for ‘perfection’ to others.
  5. Do it right away even if it will only achieve 50% of target. Ten improvements of 1% will often be better than one change of 10%.
  6. If you make a mistake, correct it straight away.
  7. Throw wisdom at a problem, not money.
  8. Seek the wisdom inherent in your people rather than the knowledge of one.
  9. Ask ‘WHY?” five times and seek root causes.
  10. Don’t ask workers to leave their brains at the workplace entrance.

With these principles applied, the quest for high data and information quality becomes a shared commitment, everyone becomes involved.  With this approach, from the point data is first recorded, to the point it is reported upon, data will be nurtured, everyone will understand the downstream impacts and avoid the unnecessary waste, accrued through the use of defective data.

By following these ten data commandments, your data will be elevated from the downtrodden to the divine through measurable and actionable steps.

This blog was written by Martin Doyle, CEO and Founder of data quality software company DQ Global. From time to time guest contributors write on the Workbooks Blog – have something to say? Email the Workbooks Marketing Team on