Written by xScion
on March 08, 2019


“We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner, is the theme song to the 1985 movie, “Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome.” The story is based in post-apocalypse Australia and features Mad Max, the protagonist in a series of Mad Max films, a lone warrior who wanders aimlessly through the desert with the goal of simple self-survival in a world of brutally dangerous thieves, villains and henchmen. The lyrics of the song start out, “Out of the ruins, out of the wreckage, can’t make the same mistakes this time,” and go on to say that what they do need is “something we can rely on.”

It is doubtful that anyone will make a feature film based on your Data Governance program, but for many organizations, Data Governance is the responsibility of a few lone warriors who are looked to when issues arise. Like Mad Max, they overcome the challenges, make it to another day and ready themselves for the next crisis. In the OnDemand webinar, “GoverNOTS: 7 Assumptions Not To Make About Data Governance,” governance expert Dick Wilson (who has his own cinematic handle, “the Governator”) calls it the “fire drill culture.” He agrees with Tina Turner when she sings that we don’t need heroes.

In Mad Max’s world, the heroes survive, but nothing else changes. No one hero could individually create the culture change necessary for a better world. They would have to seek out people with shared values and interests, build relationships, collaborate and cooperate, and use that as a starting point. Wilson recommends something similar for starting an effective, reliable Data Governance program. An informal group with shared interest in Data Governance can form as “Friends of Data”. The members should be the people who know about the problems and care about solving them.

A common pitfall in Data Governance is that there are known recurring issues but no accountability or assignment of roles. When issues arise, the first question is “who should take this on?”  A “Friends of Data” group can identify specific issues and who is best positioned to handle the job, make the decisions, and handle the concerns for each one.

A “fire drill” culture reliant on heroes is reactive and inefficient. It also leaves the program too dependent on the heroes. What happens if you lose a hero and their institutional knowledge?  The “Friends of Data” should identify issues and decisions and make a case for dedicated resources rather than heroes. The goal is to have a steady, regular approach to making consistent decisions across the Data Governance environment or, as Tina Turner sings, “something we can rely on.”  Watch the OnDemand webinar, “GoverNOTS: 7 Assumptions Not To Make About Data Governance,” to learn how to systematically make the transformation toward an efficient, reliable Data Governance program.