Having a communication plan for data governance is a necessary strategy to help ensure data governance success. You want to create and maintain staff awareness of data governance. It takes time to communicate to stake holders to understand various processes, reach consensus, translate language from one group so that another group understands, and report status and progress. Data governance is not an easy topic for people to understand so staff members need to be shown. And this is done with communication, thus, the importance of a communication plan which we will cover in this blog post.
Here are tips on building a strong communication plan that will assist in data governance:
- Create a communication plan with objectives, key audiences, communication methods to use (might be different for each audience). And include in the plan, a chart with communication type, target audience, purpose, author, frequency and medium (website, email, meetings, presentations).
- In your communication make sure you convey how data governance helps people in their day-to-day jobs. Remember to articulate the rationale for data governance.
- Communicate data governance to the right people at the right time through various channels. Also make sure that the communications are not too frequent. Timing is key. Be consistent with your communication and make the communication on-going.
- Make sure that individuals know who to contact when they have issues or questions regarding data or data governance.
- Involve managers in the data governance communication process. Let them know about data governance changes before people that report to them know so that they can provide direction through the changes and assist with monitoring.
- Store data governance related content (definitions, specifications, etc.) into a central reporting location (like the Data Cookbook). Make sure that people know via your communications where this is and how to access.
- Watch your wording in all communications and be careful of your tone. Inform and education instead of command and control. Put in any communication the words of the target audience.
- Personalization is important. Include first name in the emails. And do not communicate technical data governance information to non-technical folks.
- Be agile and be ready to change the communication if not working. Be flexible in your plan and make changes when necessary.
- Convey the ROI and benefit of data governance in your communications. Make sure you explain the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of data governance.
- Communicate the key points over and over so they stick. The plan should include the frequency of the communication.
- Brand the data governance program and make sure the brand appears in all communications. (maybe a logo or tag line).
- When possible, get invited to department meetings and present program highlights, plans and successes. Face-to-face communication shows importance and provides opportunity for questions.
- We are not big fans of meetings but when necessary, make meetings as quick and efficient as possible. Try to have as few as possible. Look at all the data governance related meetings that occur and determine the best way to communication during these meetings. And figure out how to communicate about these meetings (before meeting communication and after meeting communication).
Remember that there are various types of data governance communications:
- New employee onboarding communication – this could be a brochure or fact sheet that is given to new employees that mentions data governance benefits, where to get information and who to contact. We covered this in another blog post titled “Right Away, Give New Employees Training on Data Governance”.
- Data governance communication to those heavily involved in data governance related activities – which might include:
- how to use data governance tools
- necessary data governance processes (such as data quality issue and data request) and templates that are used
- roles and responsibilities associated with the data governance program
- best practices of data governance
- data governance mission, guidelines, and policies
- On-going data governance communication - which might include newsletter, emails, or meetings with updates on:
- changes to data governance processes
- data governance successes
- refresher data governance training
- changes to tools used for data governance
Communication builds momentum for data governance, gains a loyal, committed following and shows successes – all of which is critical for the long-term data governance success of the organization. Hope that this blog post helps create a great data governance communication plan.
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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