Implementing a Data Governance Initiative?

I recently received the following question and I think it is interesting enough to blog about.

Q: My company is looking to implement a data governance initiative. We want to be careful to avoid merely employing a series of extemporized data quality projects and are taking great pains to involve executive management, so we have formed a structure that segregates the responsibilities and activities into layers: a strategic level, tactical level, and execution level. What specific responsibilities should be assigned to each level?

Here is my answer:

The strategic level needs to involve upper level management and high-level technicians. Of course, this should include the CIO and CTO, but should include their lieutenants as well. Additionally, a senior data administrator or data architect should be included. A high level consultant could be used to help steer this committee and keep it on track. The strategists will map out the purpose and intent of the data governance initiative. Why is it needed? What problems will it solve? What will its impact be on the business?

The tactical level needs to involve the folks most literate on data and database systems. This should include data architects, database administrators, and technical end users; perhaps senior programmer/analysts, as well. Consultants may be needed to help flesh out the needed tasks and requirements. These folks will outline the necessary components of the initiative to meet the strategy as outlined by the executive committee. Budgeting goals will need to be set as guided by the executive committee and streamlining or adjusting the tactics may to occur to stay within the budget guidelines as this group works on its mission

The execution level needs to be staffed with the appropriate folks who can actually implement the tactics outlined by the tactical committee. This will likely include members of the tactical committee, as well as more junior DBA, DA, and programming staff.

Finally, I would suggest that you should engage the services of a skilled consultant in the area of data governance for advice on setting up your organization. I can recommend both Bob Seiner  who is quite knowledgeable on the topic of data governance, as well as his book: Non-Invasive Data Governance: The Path of Least Resistance and Greatest Success by Robert S. Seiner (2014-08-22), which describes a way to introduce data governance without adopting onerous, intrusive processes.

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About craig@craigsmullins.com

I'm a strategist, researcher, and consultant with nearly three decades of experience in all facets of database systems development.
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