Chucking Daisies

Chucking Daisies

Chucking Daisies: Ten Rules for Taking Control of Your Organization’s Digital Debris (published by ARMA International in hard copy and PDF download) is a useful, inexpensive resource for educating IT, legal, risk and other professionals and line of business managers about fundamental R/IM principles and the imperative for any organization to effectively manage its ever-increasing volume of digital information.

In just over 50 pages, the authors Randolph A. Kahn, Esq. (President of Kahn Consulting and the author of books such as Information Nation Warrior) and Galina Datskovsky, Ph.D., CRM (formerly Senior VP of Information Governance at Autonomy and ARMA International Board Chair/Immediate Past President 2012-2013) cover ten key rules:

#1 – Stop keeping everything forever

#2 – Clean up the past to gain business efficiency

# 3 – Keep only what you can access and be sure you can access what you keep

# 4 – Create an enterprise-wide information governance team

# 5 – Strive for reasonableness, not perfection

# 6 – Policy must come before technology

# 7 – Don’t expect to totally control your cloud provider

# 8 – Manage information from creation to disposal using big bucket rules

# 9 – Automate information management and take the responsibility away from employees

# 10 – Don’t live in fear of discovery – be prepared with a discovery response plan.

Their writing style is crisp, concise, and engaging.  And they use R/IM terms sparingly, presenting key terms (e.g. authenticity, vital record, etc.) in sidebar boxes.

If you’re looking for a detailed examination of how to implement the rules, you’ll need to look further (and the authors’ list of additional resources will help you in that regard).  But I encourage you to consider this book if you’re looking for a quick read to help stakeholders understand the issues and begin planning to better manage digital information or, to quote from the last line in the book, “Start chucking those daisies!”

In case you’re curious, here’s the authors’ analogy between ‘chucking daisies’ and taking control of digital debris.  Think about a bunch of fresh cut daisies in a vase as you read the following (I added the bolded text for emphasis).

“. . . as the days pass and no matter how much fresh water is added, their beauty will begin to decline.  After a couple of weeks, their stems will start to bend, their once bright white and yellow colors will turn brown and their petals will wilt and fall off.  They begin to stink and you throw them out.  That is the lifecycle of most things; they come into existence and, at some point, they decline and die and need to be disposed of.  Information is no different.  Think of the information in your organization as the daisies.  It has a lifecycle – it comes into existence and at some point, when it no longer has business or legal value, it begins to ‘stink’ as it clogs up your systems and should be disposed of.  Old, outdated information needs to be ‘chucked’ (or thrown away) just like dying daisies – maybe not in just a few weeks, but at some point it needs to go.”  (page vi, Chucking Daisies: Ten Rules for Taking Control of Your Organization’s Digital Debris).

Disclaimer: Sheila Taylor is a member of ARMA International’s Content Editorial Board (CEB) which is responsible for aiding ARMA International in unifying and streamlining content development processes across all formats.  She was not a CEB member while Chucking Daisies was under development.


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    Sheila Taylor
  • Sheila Taylor is a well known consultant, educator, speaker and writer with more than 25 years of experience in the information management (IM) field.

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    Case in Point

    That's A Lot of Records!
    Often the requirement for a needs assessment is driven by a specific initiative being considered or an immediate problem to be solved, rather than a general desire to establish a corporate (or organization-wide) IM program. We had a client wanting to improve its management of a specific group of critical records – thousands of member files in paper, microform and digital formats containing hundreds of unique document types.
    Assess, Plan and Schedule
    Ergo reviewed the organization’s current practices for managing those records, compared those practices to best practices, and identified risks and areas for improvement. From there we developed a strategic plan with a focus on records storage and retention. The plan identified the operational, financial and technological requirements for implementing the recommended changes, improvements and enhancements in the lifecycle management of the member records. Activities in the plan were classified as short term (next 6-12 months), medium term (next 12-24 months) and longer term (next 25+ months).
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    Implementation of the strategic plan enabled this organization to ensure its member records are properly identified, organized, accessible, protected and retained as long as necessary to meet operational and other requirements.
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