Agile Just-in-Time Data Governance is the Way to Go

Agile Just-in-Time Data Governance is the Way to Go

StockSnap_IL1H0KQY9W_trainstation_AgileJITDG_BPWe are a firm believer in just-in-time data governance (or as we also call it, data intelligence) which is very agile. The agile methodology has radically transformed the process of software development. It has several advantages over the waterfall model thus why it is widely used. Agile is simply an iterative project management technique that can be applied whenever an activity can be clearly identified, defined, prioritized, and broken down into smaller tasks. Drawbacks of the classic data governance approach of big committees, many heated meetings, and big workloads on a few folks is that it takes too long before benefit is seen. And, the data users have very little idea of how to meet these often new and unexpected obligations. Thus, the data governance initiative can quickly lose momentum. In this blog post we will cover what is necessary for the success of an agile just-in-time data governance initiative.

Data governance initiatives need to be tailored to the industry, size, culture, maturity, objectives, organization structure, complexity, and technology of the organization in question. Data governance should not be an obstacle to getting things done and making data-driven decisions in your organization. Data governance is about helping people (not controlling people). With agile just-in-time data governance, the organization identifies small, manageable items that will prove beneficial to the organization when completed.  These completed small items will combine with other small items so the organization can benefit even greater. The organization benefit is realized much faster with agile just-in-time data governance and thus generates even more enthusiasm among stakeholders. For additional just-in-time data governance resources check out this blog post.

Necessary for Agile Just-in-Time Data Governance Success

The following are thoughts on what is necessary for agile just-in-time data governance success:

Implement the Minimum Necessary First

To achieve agile just-in-time data governance you need to answer the question of what is the least amount of work necessary to establish data governance within the organization. The answer to this question will vary from organization to organization. It will primarily depend on why the data governance initiative was started in the first place. Clarity of scope helps increase the likelihood of success. Feel free to check out our "Start with Why" video.


For data governance to be beneficial at your organization you need a framework in place. For our recommendation on framework please check out this blog post.

Empowered Data Stewards

Regarding data stewardship, start by selecting someone in each functional area (business unit or department or knowledgeable person on that data system) who is the go-to person when there is a request or question. Train the data stewards on what they need to do as well as the understanding of the need for governance and how the organization will benefit. Make sure these individuals can allocate the necessary time to perform data governance related activities. And make sure that they have the necessary tools such as the Data Cookbook. Give them the authority to make decisions. Check out our blog post with additional data steward resources.

Build Your Knowledgebase with Each Data Request

Have a data request process in place and grow your knowledgebase just-in-time. Do not worry about the past – worry about what is needed right now. Check out our blog post with additional data request resources.  A data request can create new:

  • entry (such as a report specification) in your data deliverables catalog
  • functional and technical definitions
  • data quality rules and/or issues
  • documentation in the data system inventory


Make sure that the necessary people (which could be everyone in the organization) know about data governance (should be part of the on-boarding process) and know about the progress (accomplishments) of the data governance initiative (check out our blog post regarding a communication plan).

Continuous Delivery

Data governance is not a project, it is a journey. You need to adjust and continuously add content. New requests are continuously coming in. New data systems are being added. Definitions and data quality can always be improved. Data stewards and others in the organization are getting more knowledgeable about the data. Progress matters because the data users value different capabilities. Agile just-in-time data governance makes the journey better and easier.

Hope that this blog post was beneficial to you. The payoff for agile just-in-time data governance is substantial. With agile just-in-time data governance, users of the data can see quick benefit of data governance and are happy with the continuous addition of new data governance content and processes that aid them in their job. The momentum for the data governance journey will keep going when the agile just-in-time data governance strategy is used.

IData has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the employees and the organization in its data governance, data stewardship and data quality initiatives. IData also has experts that can assist with data governance, reporting, integration and other technology services on an as needed basis. Feel free to contact us and let us know how we can assist.

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Jim Walery
About the Author

Jim Walery is a marketing professional who has been providing marketing services to technology companies for over 20 years and specifically those in higher education since 2010. Jim assists in getting the word out about the community via a variety of channels. Jim is knowledgeable in social media, blogging, collateral creation and website content. He is Inbound Marketing certified by HubSpot. Jim holds a B.A. from University of California, Irvine and a M.A. from Webster University. Jim can be reached at jwalery[at]

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