Data Quality is not an Act, it is a Habit

Posted October 21, 2010

Keywords: advice, Data Quality

The Second Law of Data Quality states that it is not a one-time project, but a sustained program.  Or to paraphrase Aristotle:

“Data Quality is not an Act, it is a Habit.”

Habits are learned behaviors, which can become automatic after enough repetition.  Habits can also be either good or bad.

Sometimes we can become so focused on developing new good habits that we forget about our current good habits.  Other times we can become so focused on eliminating all of our bad habits that we lose ourselves in the quest for perfection.

This is why Aristotle was also an advocate of the Golden Mean, which is usually simplified into the sage advice:

“Moderation in all things.”

While helping our organization develop good habits for ensuring high quality data, we often use the term Best Practice.

Although data quality is a practice, it’s one we get better at as long as we continue practicing.  Quite often I have observed the bad habit of establishing, but never revisiting best practices.

However, as our organization, and the business uses for our data, continues to evolve, so must our data quality practice.

Therefore, data quality is not an act, but it’s also not a best practice.  It’s a habit of continuous practice, continuous improvement, continuous learning, and continuous adaptation to continuous change—which is truly the best possible habit we can develop.

Data Quality is a Best Habit.