Start Small with Data Governance

Start Small with Data Governance

StockSnap_YLML6DQ3PM_Cupcake_StartSmall_BPData governance, while beneficial, is a lot of work.  And many are waiting for that large project to be done but there are many small tasks that can be done to get the data governance initiative going.  If necessary, break the large project into small tasks.  What small actions can you do right now that builds on your data governance efforts?

Here are 10 start small items that can be done:

  • Assign Data Stewards
    Assign a data steward in each department that can be contacted when there is a data related problem, issue or question. Gather a team that will help others do their job.  Knowing who to contact is an easy first step.
    Additional Resource: Video on First Step Process
  • Create Internal Web Page
    Create an internal data governance website page where staff can go to when then want information regarding data governance. Make sure there is a link to the business glossary on this page, list of the data stewards and how to contact them, reason for data governance, and data governance related resources.  Communicate with your staff as much as possible.
  • Work with HR
    Work with HR to educate new employees regarding data governance especially the newly hired employees.   Create a sheet with data governance web page URL and other information that can be handed to new employees.  Place this sheet on the internal data governance web page.
    Additional Resource: Blog post on New Employee Onboarding
  • Create Inventory
    Create a data systems inventory. Inventorying data systems helps position your data governance efforts for success by providing tools for your staff to better understand (and interact with) the data systems that are used in the organization.  Document where data is stored and who has access to these data systems.  A good data system inventory is a building block for other projects.  Inventories are usually non-controversial and don’t need a lot of debate.
    Additional Resource: Blog post titled Data System Inventory Resources
  • Fix One Data Quality Issue
    Select one data quality issue to fix and resolve it. Start with an easy one to fix.  Place how to report a data quality issue on the internal data governance web page.
    Additional Resource: Blog post on data quality issues
  • Improve One Process
    Pick one data governance process to improve. Start with an easy one to improve.
    Additional Resource: Evaluate Your Data Governance Processes blog post
  • Maintain Business Glossary
    Start a business glossary (or update your existing one). Everyone needs to be speak the same common business terminology.  There needs to be an up-to-date business glossary that is accessible from the internal data governance web page and known about by the staff.
    Additional Resource: Blog post on What Goes into a Business Glossary
  • Document One Report
    Document one critical report. Pick one that is widely used and maybe not be understood so well.  Make sure all the data on the report is defined.
  • Gather Data Governance Resources
    Gather governance resources, such as ones on GDPR and CCPA, and place them in an accessible place. Put link to this information from the internal data governance web page.
    Additional Resource: IData Data Governance Resources Page
  • Start with Why
    Start with Why data governance by getting a group together and define the problems you are trying to solve.  Why are you implementing data governance?  Set your data governance goals and priorities based on the problems you are trying to solve.  Document this information and place on the internal data governance web page.
    Additional Resource: Start with Why video

Again, start small.  Maybe select one item a month to work on regarding data governance.  Keep the ball rolling.  You do not have to do everything at once.  There are many resources available on getting started with data governance including Aaron’s blog post on Getting Started with Data Governance and a recorded webinar titled Getting Started with Data Governance.

Hope this blog post was beneficial to you and your organization.  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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