Agile Data Ways of Thinking (WoT)

The foundation of the Agile Data method is its ways of thinking (WoT), captured by these seven philosophies:

Look Beyond Data

Data is only one of several important aspects of software-based systems. For data to be effective, we must take into consideration other viewpoints.

Collaborate Closely

Everyone must work together closely, collaborating and learning together as they do so.

Be Quality Infected

Agilists prefer to develop high-quality assets and when they run into data quality problems, known as data technical debt, they prefer to fix them at the source.

Embrace Evolution

Agilists work in an evolutionary manner where they iteratively move between activities and incrementally deliver value.

Be Enterprise Aware

Teams must consider, and then act appropriately, regarding enterprise issues. They need to take the bigger picture into account if they’re to avoid building yet another silo system or data source.


Your approach should reflect the unique context that you face. Each initiative is unique, as is each organization, requiring a flexible approach tailored to its needs. One software process does not fit all and therefore the relative importance of data varies based on the nature of the problem being addressed.

Everyone Agile

Everyone, including enterprise professionals, should strive to work in an agile mannner, learning and improving over time.

An interesting observation is that most of these philosophies aren’t specific to data. In fact, look beyond data indicates that you need to look at the overall picture and not just data, therefore data-specific principles very likely won’t serve you very well. Heresy? No, just common sense.


The philosophies of the Agile Data method were originally captured in the Agile Database Techniques book. In 2022 I updated this page:

  1. Simplification. I combined the unique context and sweet spot philosophies into fit-for-purpose.
  2. Action oriented. I reworded beyond data to look beyond dataenterprise awareness to be enterprise aware, and teamwork to collaborate closely.
  3. Extension. I added be quality infected and embrace evolution to better communicate how agilists work in practice.
  4. Ways of thinking. Rather than talking about philosophies, which was a bit academic sounding, I decided to adopt the more agile term “ways of thinking”.

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