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Republished in order to re-open the debate.

Document basis

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth”

Mohammed Ali

This paper was written as the first discussion document of the nascent IM Manifesto Initiative.

The purpose of the Information Management Manifesto is to arrive at a draft Information Management Manifesto (a declaration of principles for IM professionals) that will be used as a continually evolving working document.

In order to reach consensual agreement on the content of a first draft distribution of the manifesto, we will be borrowing from more “agile” approaches to participation and contribution and influencing, by leveraging as much of the social networking and technology landscape as we can possibly leverage. In this way we ensure that the essence of what drives this initiative remains intact, while opening up the debate to the whole of the IM community and to those who rely on IM, in one way or another.

The current proposed time frame to reach the first draft of the Information Management Manifesto is this:

From To Activity
23.02.2012 23.04.2012 General discussions on the nature of the initiative (social media)
23.02.2012 23.06.2012 Structuring of draft Manifesto – definition of sections and content
30.04.2012 25.05.2012 Insertion of content into draft manifesto
25.05.2012 Distribution of draft manifesto
26.05.2012 15.06.2012 Peer review of draft
16.06.2012 18.06.2012 Preparation of first general issue of IM Manifesto
23.06.2012 First electronic distribution of first issue

This is with best endeavours. Of course, the ideal will be to squeeze timeframes as much as possible to ensure that people have some time to ponder the contents of the first issue before formally and publicly committing their own good names, and even the names of their companies and organisations, in support of the IM Manifesto.

Preamble to the first declaration

“Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles”

 Confucius

We are uncovering better ways of improving the professionalism, integrity and effectiveness of Information Management, by creating, deploying and refining proven best principles, sound business, project management, architectural, analysis, modelling/design, development, quality assurance, testing, deployment, acceptance, operational continuity and evaluation practices.

Through this work we have come to value:

  1. Respecting individual proven knowledge and experience, over… opinion, speculation and tools.
  2. Agile and coherent solution approaches that work – repeatedly – over… vapourware, vendor hype and “make it up as you go along” methods.
  3. Up close and intimate customer collaboration, over… dissonance, fear of the customer and capability immaturity.
  4. Responding to change coherently by unleashing the power of iterative and agile IM, over… fighting fires with cooking oil, coal and gasoline.
  5. An acute ability to lesson effectively, comprehend rapidly and do the right thing, over… sign a contract, bill the customer, fail to deliver, then run away.
  6. Honesty, integrity, humility, intelligence and effort… over, suckering the punter.
  7. Being true to ourselves and others about the extent and limits of our knowledge and experience, over… misguiding peers and customers with speculation and opinion dressed up as facts and first-hand knowledge.

Please note: © 2012, the above authors, this declaration may be freely copied in any form, but only in its entirety and only through this notice. What about the IM Manifesto signatories?

The Information Management Manifesto makes it morally incumbent upon signatories to:

  1. Adhere to the spirit of the professional and ethical guidelines for Information Management practitioners.
  2. Seek to dissuade and deter, through reason and intelligence, any professional malpractice that may damage the reputation of Information Management and have a negative effect on the professional standing of those who work in it.
  3. Help set and follow standards for carrying out Information Management work.
  4. To ensure that professional and ethical integrity is maintained, even if this means exceeding that which is contractually or explicitly required.
  5. Evangelise the principles of the IM Manifesto.
  6. Avoid making the IM Manifesto an obsession. 

IM Professional obligation to whom?

“It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”

 Albert Einstein

With whom do we have a professional obligation? Simply stated, it is as follows:

  1. Employers
  2. Employees
  3. Clients/Customers
  4. Peers – relations of collegiality, specific expectations of reciprocity
  5. Other stakeholders
  6. The Information Management Profession as a collective
  7. Society – a clear responsibility to serve the public interest

Purpose?

The organization of individual IM professionals, who wish to work in an ethically permissible way, into a global peer group, with the aim of supporting the ideal of serving individual and organizational Information Management needs, with integrity, honesty, coherence and professionalism.

These special standards are morally binding to “professed” members of the profession. If a member freely declares (or professes) herself to be part of a profession, she is voluntarily implying that she will follow these special moral codes. If the majority of members of a profession follow the standards, the profession will have a good reputation and members will generally benefit; if the majority of members violate these voluntary standards, professed members of a profession will be at a disadvantage or at the least receive no benefit from declaring a profession.[1]

Pertinent references and guidelines

Viewpoints and examples

The issues of codes of conduct, statements of principles, ethics codes, and the like, have taken on a new importance in a world suffering from the toxic effects of hubris, lack of principles, lack of ethics and lack of integrity, to say nothing of lack of professionalism.

The following information was included to encourage discussion, act as a catalyst to new ideas and suggestions, and to help focus on the goals.

The aim is not to create the holy book of IM professionalism, but to create a succinct, exhaustive and easily understandable set of principles and ethical guidelines that any coherent, intelligent and honest IM professional should be comfortable in following.

Professional Competence and Integrity

The British Computer Society defines Professional Competence and Integrity as meaning that a professional shall:

    1. only undertake to do work or provide a service that is within your professional competence.
    2. NOT claim any level of competence that you do not possess.
    3. develop your professional knowledge, skills and competence on a continuing basis, maintaining awareness of technological developments, procedures, and standards that are relevant to your field.
    4. ensure that you have the knowledge and understanding of Legislation* and that you comply with such Legislation, in carrying out your professional responsibilities.
    5. respect and value alternative viewpoints and, seek, accept and offer honest criticisms of work.
    6. avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious or negligent action or inaction.
    7. reject and will not make any offer of bribery or unethical inducement.[2]

Public Interest

The British Computer Society also defines Code of Conduct in terms of Public Interest. In that its members shall:

    1. have due regard for public health, privacy, security and wellbeing of others and the environment.
    2. have due regard for the legitimate rights of Third Parties*.
    3. conduct your professional activities without discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, nationality, colour, race, ethnic origin, religion, age or disability, or of any other condition or requirement
    4. promote equal access to the benefits of IT and seek to promote the inclusion of all sectors in society wherever opportunities arise.

Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (Short Version)

The Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice of the Association of Computer Machinery[3], along with the Agile Manifesto, is what we are trying to aim for in terms of length, scope, accessibility and style. Here is the short version of their code of ethics and professional practice:

The short version of the code summarizes aspirations at a high level of the abstraction; the clauses that are included in the full version give examples and details of how these aspirations change the way we act as software engineering professionals. Without the aspirations, the details can become legalistic and tedious; without the details, the aspirations can become high sounding but empty; together, the aspirations and the details form a cohesive code.

Software engineers shall commit themselves to making the analysis, specification, design, development, testing and maintenance of software a beneficial and respected profession. In accordance with their commitment to the health, safety and welfare of the public, software engineers shall adhere to the following Eight Principles (We have changed the term Software engineer for that of IM professional):

  1. PUBLIC – IM professionals shall act consistently with the public interest.
  2. CLIENT AND EMPLOYER – IM professionals shall act in a manner that is in the best interests of their client and employer consistent with the public interest.
  3. PRODUCT – IM professionals shall ensure that their products and related modifications meet the highest professional standards possible.
  4. JUDGMENT – IM professionals shall maintain integrity and independence in their professional judgment.
  5. MANAGEMENT – IM managers and leaders shall subscribe to and promote an ethical approach to the management of IM development and maintenance.
  6. PROFESSION – IM professionals shall advance the integrity and reputation of the profession consistent with the public interest.
  7. COLLEAGUES – IM professionals shall be fair to and supportive of their colleagues.
  8. SELF – IM professionals shall participate in lifelong learning regarding the practice of their profession and shall promote an ethical approach to the practice of the profession.

Summary

“You gotta be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, otherwise you might not get there”

 Yogi Berra

The Information Management world is in a poor state. Levels of professionalism are at an all-time low; disciplines such as Data Warehousing and Decision Support are awash with chancers, charlatans and dogma, and as time moves on, the worse the reputation of the profession becomes.

Information Management desperately needs an ethical and professional revolution, one that all professionals can contribute to and support. To this end, we as professionals need to create a democratic, global and self-imposed constitutional code of ethic that professional people of integrity will abide with and will feel that adds real value to the profession.

During 2012, the IM Manifesto Initiative will be working together with partners, clients, collaborators, vendors, service providers and peers in shaping and defining a DW / DSS Manifesto, which we consider to be a necessary and imperative initiative for promoting visible ethical and professional integrity in the DW / DSS discipline.

To this end we have established a series of touch points through which people can engage in, initiate and contribute to debates, discussions and discourse on ideas, suggestions and proposals for an IM Manifesto, initially focusing on the areas of DW and Decision Support (BI, MIS, KM).

IM Manifesto Initiative Touchpoints

  1. Twitter: @IMMANIFESTO
  2. Linkedin group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=4299867
  3. Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/339430782746340/
  4. Associated Linkedin page for the IM*NET – the IM, DW and BI professional network group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/292721250763469/
  5. Blogspot blog: http://immanifesto.blogspot.com/
  6. IM Manifesto Initiative 2012 – The founding document: http://cambriano.es/content/manifesto/imManifestoDiscussion.001.20120212.pdf

Martyn Richard Jones-Lovering

The IM Manifesto Initiative

Bamberg, Bayern, Germany, January 2012

[1] Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at IIT (Illinois)

[2] http://www.bcs.org/category/6030 BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT

[3] http://www.acm.org/about/se-code


File under: Good Strat, Good Strategy, Martyn Richard Jones, Martyn Jones, Cambriano Energy, Iniciativa Consulting, Iniciativa para Data Warehouse, Tiki Taka Pro

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