What to Avoid in Creating a Data Governance Roadmap

What to Avoid in Creating a Data Governance Roadmap

StockSnap_2CJWIT0OVR_AvoidSign_CreatingRoadmap_BPWhat should you avoid when you are creating a data governance roadmap for your organization which also includes doing an assessment of your current data governance and data intelligence efforts? From our experience we have come up with a list of seven items to avoid.

Here are our thoughts on items to avoid:

  1. Avoid doing unactionable activities
    This includes developing a charter or to writing generic policy documentation as they do not contain actionable tasks or often lead to success. A lot of effort is put toward charters and policies. Here we are talking about actual pragmatic implementation of best practices to help solve real identified problems or opportunities. Look for actions (such as processes, points of engagement and communication) to put into your roadmap that will have short term and long-term effects on your organization.
  2. Avoid postponed perfection
    You want to come up with a plan in a data governance roadmap that allows you to start now and have real people using it relatively immediately.  You do not want to work on your data efforts and only release it to others when all the data governance content is perfect and complete.  We feel the concept of continuous improvement is better than postponed perfection and should be conveyed in the roadmap. If you can start documenting something and publishing it from one small group in the organization then that is better than waiting for all the groups in the organization to contribute. The content from this one group will set an example and model to increase the data governance efforts at your organization.
  3. Avoid focusing only on problems
    It is easy to focus on problems because that's the squeaky wheel that comes to the top. Later in this blog post, we will mention data governance process and understanding why but for the roadmap look at what is working well and expand on it. You might have pockets of data governance success within your organization, where people are being very successful in the use of their data or in the quality of their data. Look at those things and apply and roll out as a best practice to the whole organization as well.
  4. Avoid focusing on content over process
    We believe in the concepts of just-in-time data governance and customer service approach to data governance. What this means is only work on the data governance content that is important or asked for. Let’s say you have 1000 reports. What we recommend is to take your top 20 reports and curate them. Then for the other 980 reports wait until someone asks for that report to be curated. If someone comes along who is looking at report number 703 and mentions that they do not understand what this report provides, give them a way to ask to have this report curated. Then put the report curation request into your data governance request process and workflow and be assigned to the appropriate data steward. This provides prioritization on what needs to be curated. You do not have time to curate all 1000 reports. Start with the top reports. Then let the market decide the next ones to curate with requests on existing reports and requests for new reports. And have timely responses to the requesters.  Your roadmap should convey this customer service, just-in-time approach to data governance.
  5. Avoid overcomplicating the effort and processes
    In your data governance roadmap, do not require content workflows that require multiple approvals and 50 steps in it where everybody in the organization approves everything. We guarantee that this will not be successful. Think about how to keep things simple. Empower your data stewards to get content completed and used. We know that things will change and evolve over time. So, in your roadmap, build in the ability to change and evolve over time. Keep the roadmap as simple as possible as well.
  6. Avoid treating data governance as a fixed ending date project
    Content is only useful if used. You do not want a binder on a shelf that is never looked at. You want engagement with your data governance content. Look at how people engage with the content including the search for the content. Check out our blog post on Points of Engagement.  You roadmap should convey that data governance is an ongoing project.
  7. Avoid not understanding why you are doing data governance
    Maybe you have heard about Chesterton’s fence which is a philosophy that says do not change anything without knowing why it was there in the first place. Chesterton's fence is about a man named Chesterton walking down the road who encounters a fence in the middle of the road. He thinks it is stupid for this fence to be there, so he moves the fence. He goes into town and after shopping he comes out of the store, and he sees that the town is overrun with cows and goats. All because he removed the fence. He did not initially understand why it was there. Be very careful when deciding to change things that you do not truly understand. Understand why your organization has a data governance initiative and you roadmap should deal with thw shy.  Some of the reasons for your data governance initiative could be improving data literacy, increasing transparency of your data, satisfying audit requirements, and earning trust in your data. For more information on Starting with Why, watch this video.

We hope that this blog post helps you and your organization in your data governance and data intelligence efforts. Your data governance efforts will be more beneficial if you avoid these items when creating your data governance roadmap. Additional resources (videos, blog posts, recorded webinars) on a data governance roadmap can be found here.

IData has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the employees and the organization in its data governance, data intelligence, 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]idatainc.com.

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