The Data Model Owner

by Kathy S
The author (of the article I read) is a data modeling consultant and instructor, and he asked the question,”Who owns the data model?” He received over 100 responses.  It is known that an organization has a team of skilled developers, and these developers do the data modeling. When a developer from this organization asks,”Who owns the data model?” How does one respond? 37% say the business should own the model because “the modelers don’t ‘own’ the data model – they are only the caretakers of the model.”  22% say the development team because as the owners, they would keep all the members informed about changes while maintaining the ability for everyone to make changes to the model as needed. 15% say the individual developer because they have the skill and knowledge to manage the data model well. 11% say the application manager or database administrator because they are the ones who feel the pain when the application is not working properly and they are the ones who are contacted first if the application isn’t working as it should. 15% say no one owns the model simply because no one may have the big picture in mind.

Since we are learning about the different types of data models (specifically the E-R model) used in organizations, I thought this article related to what we’ve been learning. Many systems developers believe that data modeling is the most important part of the systems development process. In the work environment, data models need to be customized for a business’ particular setting, and a lot of time is spent on doing this.  It is interesting to know what the developers involved think about the ownership of the data model they work on.

I thought this article was interesting, I liked that it takes a simple question and reveals what developers think who should own the data model in their organization. It’s interesting to see that it is divided all around and the majority doesn’t win by a big margin. It seems like everyone wants to take credit and own the data model because they have put their skill, knowledge and effort into it. I think everyone who inputs into the data model should have ownership.


Steve Hoberman. (2010, May 1). Who Owns the Data Model?. Retrieved October 7, 2012, from

2 thoughts on “The Data Model Owner

  • October 7, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    This is a very interesting article, and one that I never really thought about up until this point. I know for some companies if a person develops or creates something, is considered company IP and is owned by the company. I am not sure if the actual data model would be considered IP as well, so this is definitely something I am interested in finding out. Good post!

  • October 7, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Hey steve!

    This subject seems very ill-discussed and I think it’s awesome you’re giving it more attention. Personally (as example) I’ve dealt with similar situations. As a graphic designer, I’m usually at debate with myself in giving my artwork source files (photoshop, indesign, illustrator, etc) files to my clients because of the fact that they may use the same artwork without payment to me for future endeavors. This is why I usually outline on terms of the initial contract that they may use the source files only for the specific project at hand and that I have ownership over the artwork (to use for a portfolio, contest, etc) – but we both have to agree that the artwork my not be used for future endeavors. At the end of the day, coming from my perspective, I firmly believe that it is the man with the money who should own the model because without money and payment out to the employees to create the database model, nothing would have come to bloom in the first place.

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