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Does your methodology use the DAMA DMBOK Framework?

How do you deal with a stakeholder that MUST use best-practice frameworks?

As a Data Management consultant, have you ever been asked “How does this align with the DMBOK? We are thinking of adopting the DAMA framework in this firm”… ???

I have, and for many years I didn’t really have a great answer.

Truth be told, I’d not read the DMBOK from cover to cover, and I wasn’t really sure what their question meant.

I’d often answer with some generic “Our framework is built on industry best-practice and has been successfully applied in the field” – or something to that effect.

I was trying to understand what the potential client wanted to hear, and responding accordingly. Most of the time it failed.


Turn the tables

Since I got the CDMP certification in March this year these conversations have been very different.

When I’m told “we want to adopt the DAMA Framework”, I now ask “have you read the DMBOK?”

The boot is suddenly on the other foot 🥾

10 times out of 10, the answer is “no, I’ve not read the book, but I’ve heard that it’s best practice in the industry”.

So you can dig deeper. “The DMBOK is 628 pages long, and it lists 14 knowledge areas, plus at least 4 potential operating models for your Data Governance rollout. How are you going to decide which of the ‘best practice’ capabilities from the book you implement?”

By this time the prospect is typically floundering and ready to admit defeat.

How to make progress with Industry best-practice frameworks

Industry best-practice frameworks are great. Having a Body of Knowledge to refer to is awesome. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel, and you know that at least one other firm got this to work.

At the same time, knowing that a book exists with a framework inside is not enough to decide that this is how you want to run your own data management organisation.

Seldom do firms consider what they are actually trying to achieve – as a business – and therefore what the overarching strategy for their data function should be.


Put the first things first

Forget the DMBOK, at least until you have a solid Data Strategy and a decent understanding of the business benefit (business case) for change.

Once you know where you’re going, you can read the relevant DMBOK knowledge areas that will help you get there, and cherry pick/tailor the activities you perform to fit your business culture and appetite for change.

If you’re consulting business leaders that ask “is this based on the DAMA Framework” and you lack an answer, consider getting certified yourself.

Not only will you help yourself have better conversations with your clients or business leaders, but you’ll also be in a better position to shape their rollout, right-size the ambition, and deliver meaningful value.

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