Browsing articles from "May, 2012"

Join Us: Webinar Panel on Big Challenges on Data Modeling 24 May 4PM EDT

May 23, 2012   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Events, Speaking  //  1 Comment

I’ll be part of a rockstar panel of data modeling experts this Thursday, 24 May for  Graeme Simsion will be moderating us (it’s worse that herding cats stoned on catnip) as we talk about our biggest challenges in the data modeling world.

You need to register before joining, but it’s free.


  • David Hay: President of Essential Strategies (Resident curmudgeon)
  • Alec Sharp: Sr. Consultant, Clariteq Systems Consulting (Process guy who still loves data)
  • Karen Lopez: Sr. Project Manager, InfoAdvisors (Well, that’s me)


You can join the pre-show chat about 15 minutes before show time; I encourage all of you to join early and get your heckling and questions warmed up for the recording.

Hope to see you there.

Join Me: Webinar 24 May 2PM EDT – Data Governance, Stewardship and Compliance

May 23, 2012   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Events, Speaking  //  2 Comments

I’ll be presenting in a webinar for Embarcadero Technologies Thursday, 24 May.  I’ll be talking about a recent discussion I had with US Federal and commercial organizations on their successes and pain points in establishing and maintaining data governance, stewardship and compliance programs.

Registration is required, but it’s free.

Attendees will receive a copy of my whitepaper 5 Things to Do Before Starting Any Data Governance Program.

Thin Banner full logo

Join this Webinar for Expert Guidance from Karen Lopez, don’t miss out on the opportunity to ask your Burning Question now!
Thursday, May 24
11am PDT / 2pm EDT

Effective data governance and stewardship is a crucial component of every business. In this webinar, InfoAdvisors’ Principal Consultant Karen Lopez shares essential guidance on:

  • How your group can deliver organizational value
  • What works and what probably does not
  • How to meet cost, benefit, and risk goals.

Karen will also reveal highlights on compliance and policy programs from recent discussions with data professionals at US Federal Government and Industry organizations.

Join me tomorrow.  I’d love to hear about your tricks and tips around compliance, stewardship and governance.

First Day of Work Karen: What I Would Tell Her #mememonday

May 7, 2012   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Careers, Professional Development, Reviews  //  2 Comments

It’s time for another Meme Monday, as assigned by Tom LaRock (blog |@sqlrockstar ). In his post, he asks us to write about:

If you could go back in time and meet yourself on Day One of your IT career, what advice would you give?

What a great question.  I’ve previously blogged about What I Would Tell my 16 Year-old Self .  All good stuff there.  Especially about the hot rollers.

But what would I say to Karen Lopez, brand new Senior Systems Analyst (yes, that was my first job title)?  There a bunch of small stuff that really turns out to be big stuff later:

  • Skip the Full Day Voice Mail Training.  Sure, it was mandatory, but the guys only had to do a half-day version of it.  Insist you don’t know need a full day.  Set the direction for how the team sees your role on the project from the start.
  • Don’t let that clerk at the Passport Office talk you into bad data quality: alphabetizing your names on your passport.  That one decision is going to impact you more than you can ever imagine.  But you will get some great data quality presentation material out of it.
  • Respect your boss, but don’t let him manage your career.  My first boss started on the same day I did.  He wasn’t a twenty-something, though.  He had retired from the US Army the day before and had come to work for the defense consulting company I worked at.  To manage projects for the US Army.  Funny how that works.  He brought with him his military bearing…and his need to be in command of everything, even the technical design of the application we were building.  Even though he was an accountant and had no technical experience or training. 

    He and I didn’t really look at life the same way, but he was my boss.  I let him manage my professional development plan, my training, my assignments much more than I should have.  He wasn’t a good fan of female engineers, either.  So our non-technical tester was the guy who did all the demos and presentations, even though he really could answer any of the technical questions he received.

    Karen, that boss should not have been able to set your path, only guide it.

  • Don’t try to explain everything that caused a bug or a mistake in a deliverableJust fix it and fix the problem that led to it.  Nobody really cares why it happened unless the think you are going to do it again.  Fix it, learn from it, move on.   Don’t make your mistakes stand out more than anyone else does.  Be honest, but don’t broadcast them.
  • Never accept the first offer.  I can’t tell you, Karen, how many times you are in a negotiation and don’t even realize it.  The earlier you realize this, the better off you will be.  Think your boss is doing you a big favor by sending you on a local one day course?  Sure, she is.  But she’s sending Chad on a full week of bootcamp training because he asked for that instead.  Think you are fortunate because you are getting a 5% raise? You are, but Chad got 10% because he negotiated it.
  • You will make great friends at work.  But they are your colleagues first.   Save the details of your life for friends outside work.
  • No one cares what shoes you are wearing…as long as you can keep up the sprint with everyone else.  Wearing impractical shoes is going to slow you down. That’s literal and figurative advice.  See, double the value.

I think First Day of Work Karen did okay over the years. She got to work at all three branches of the US government during her first job.  She played volleyball on the Mall.  And she learned a lot about voice mail, a bleeding edge technology then.  But there were more important things to learn along the way.

Was I Too Snarky? A Big Data NoSQL Roast

May 7, 2012   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Fun, Professional Development, Snark, Speaking  //  2 Comments


At Enterprise Data World last week I had a chance to defend my crown at the Lightning Talk sessions.  Lightning Talks are 5 minute presentations, usually done to highlight one point or to motivate people to go do something.

Most of my lightning talks, though, are rants on some thing.  Think a 5-minute long roast.  This year, I picked on Big Data and NoSQL names and terms.  While it appears that one person didn’t fully grasp the "roast" part of this rant, I think I did okay. At least most of the laughter wasn’t at me, but with me.

Mark Burnelli, Senior New Editor at wrote an article about my rant:

The humorous verbal shellacking of big data — which generated plenty of audience laughs — came at the hands of Karen Lopez, a senior project manager and principal consultant with InfoAdvisors Inc. Lopez is also proprietor of the popular Datachick Twitter feed and often uses that outlet to post admittedly snarky comments about the world of information management.

Datachick gives ‘big data’ a verbal beat down at Enterprise Data World

I did start my presentation by saying:

By the way, every single one of these rants is totally unfair, cherry picked and irreverent.  I know. It’s shocking.

I will be blogging the entire rant over on and will post here when it goes live.


I should also mention, to those of you snickering, that I am currently drafting a similar rant for the RDBMS technology/naming/terminology set.  It will also be full of snark.  Shocking, I know.

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