March 16th is Freedom of Information Day

business analysis information freedom

Today is the Freedom of Information Day.  It is also the birthday James Madison. Madison, who was considered to be a major contributor to the US Constitution, was a strong advocate of information openness and believed the openness and freedom of information are true freedom.

There many times as a business analyst and project manager I have encountered the information hoarder.  These are the folks that spare no effort in locking down information and avoid sharing at all costs.  Thy kingdom is information and my cubicle walls a fortress.  It’s hard to break down those walls.  Let’s face it we live in America – we love our walls.

Dealing with the information hoarder is a difficult thing.  They can -and most likely will – sabotage you by providing you with incomplete or even inaccurate data.  When you fail in your efforts, the information hoarder will pop up and exclaim this is why they must control the information because it is too complex for others to handle.  I keep hearing that line from the movie “A Few Good Men” in my best Jack Nicholson voice, “You can’t handle the truth!”

The walls are built around the data you need.  It is time to build the catapult.  Information must be challenged with information.  Dig my friend.  Dig as you have never dug before.  I went through thousands of transactions by hand many times to find that core pieces of information which helped bring those walls down.  The walls are brought down by demonstrating that you too have a solid understanding of the information and data.  You might even have insights the information hoarder doesn’t have.  Look for the support system that feeds the information hoarder.  Escalate up the chain of command and make it clear that the lack of information openness is hindering your efforts.  Cut off the supply lines that keeps that castle strong.  

This is never an easy situation to handle and is impossible to handle without having a crucial conversation.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.