The Book Look: Navigating the Labyrinth – Exec Guide to Data Management

COL01x - feature image HobermanThe Data Management Body of Knowledge (DMBOK2) is the most comprehensive and objective book on data management. Comparable to what the PMBOK does for project management and the BABOK for business analysis, DMBOK2 provides a detailed framework for organizations to manage their data and mature their information infrastructure. It is used to assess and improve data management practices and processes, and as a study guide for the Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) program.

DMBOK2 is content-rich, and therefore a big book (over 600 pages), which is expected to educate IT practitioners. But what about for managers and leaders? If there is a need to understand the data management discipline at the same scope of DMBOK2 but not at the same depth, turn to Navigating the Labyrinth: An Executive Guide to Data Management by Laura Sebastian-Coleman, written for DAMA International. Paperback-sized for reading on a plane trip (or on the beach), at just over 200 pages, Navigating the Labyrinth contains 12 chapters. Here is a summary of each chapter along with a summary of the book’s purpose, quoted from the book’s introduction:

The first four chapters provide an overview of data management:

Chapter 1: The Importance of Managing Data – Explains what data management is, and how managing data as an asset can help your organization.

Chapter 2: Data Management Challenges – Outlines why managing data differs from managing other assets and resources.

Chapter 3: DAMA’s Data Management Principles – Explains principles of effective data management that will help you overcome the challenges presented by data; introduces the concept of evolving your organization’s data management practices based on a maturity model.

Chapter 4: Data Ethics – Describes the principles underlying an ethical approach to data management; explains how this approach to data handling can help prevent your organization’s data from being used in ways that harm your customers, your reputation, or the wider community.

The next four chapters review the mechanics of managing the data lifecycle:

Chapter 5: Data Governance – Explains the role of data governance in providing oversight for data; highlights the ways an organization can implement governance practices to make better operational and strategic decisions about data.

Chapter 6: Planning and Design in the Data Lifecycle – Describes the role of architecture and data modeling in data management, and the importance of planning and design in managing the overall lifecycle of data.

Chapter 7: Enabling and Maintaining Data – Provides an overview of activities related to obtaining, integrating, and storing data, while also enabling its currency and access over time. These activities include applying design concepts to create reliable, performant, and secure warehouses, marts, and other data storage environments, where different types of data can be integrated and made available for a wide range of uses.

Chapter 8: Using and Enhancing Data – Describes the ways that data can be used to create new data to bring value to an organization. Data enhancement adds both value and complexity to the data lifecycle. It requires organizations to plan for and cultivate the organic growth of data.

The following three chapters cover the foundational activities required to help build trust in data and ensure the organization can get value from its data over time:

Chapter 9: Data Protection, Privacy, Security and Risk Management – Describes how to manage risks related to data, especially those connected with potential breaches or malicious uses of data.

Chapter 10: Metadata Management – Provides an overview of how to manage Metadata, that critical sub-set of data which contains the knowledge required to use and maintain the rest of your data.

Chapter 11: Data Quality Management – Presents techniques for ensuring that your organization’s data is fit for its intended purposes and enables your organization to meet its strategic goals.

Each chapter concludes with assertions about what you need to know about these topics. Chapter 12 What to do Now concludes the book with an approach to redirecting your organization’s data management practices through a current state assessment, a defined roadmap, and a commitment to organizational change management.

DAMA recognizes that —to most executives— data management can seem obscure, complicated, and highly technical. You don’t have time to learn all the details or cut through the hype. But if your organization depends on data – and most organizations do – then you have a critical role to play in enabling success. Reliable data management takes organizational commitment, and organizational commitment comes from leadership. DAMA hopes that by navigating the labyrinth of data management, you can develop opportunities for your organization to get more value from its data. This book will explain the fundamentals and help you understand why they are important, so you can focus attention on how to build trust in your organization’s data through efficient and effective practices.

Thanks Laura for this impressive work!

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Steve Hoberman

Steve Hoberman

Steve Hoberman has trained more than 10,000 people in data modeling since 1992. Steve is known for his entertaining and interactive teaching style (watch out for flying candy!), and organizations around the globe have brought Steve in to teach his Data Modeling Master Class, which is recognized as the most comprehensive data modeling course in the industry. Steve is the author of nine books on data modeling, including the bestseller Data Modeling Made Simple. Steve is also the author of the bestseller, Blockchainopoly. One of Steve’s frequent data modeling consulting assignments is to review data models using his Data Model Scorecard® technique. He is the founder of the Design Challenges group, Conference Chair of the Data Modeling Zone conferences, director of Technics Publications, and recipient of the Data Administration Management Association (DAMA) International Professional Achievement Award. He can be reached at

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