by Max Gano
In my last post we saw how Mark Simpson recovered from stalled program funding by rolling out a working process for governing data within World Vision International. He switched his focus from general enterprise concerns to establishing much needed data controls for a few key technology initiatives. He then coordinated implementation of those controls across virtual work teams within each initiative.
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Mark laid a foundation by first meeting the immediate needs of a handful of senior business and technology managers. Then he transformed that group of managers into World Vision’s first data governance steering body to provide support, direction and priority.
Here’s a simple truth. Senior managers are far happier to embrace programs with proven success than those promising future success. It always helps to be able to look back on milestones of clearly recognized value to stakeholders. This certainly set Mark up nicely for acting on his next three principles.
Establish Data Governance Steering Council. Contrary to common wisdom, Mark deferred forming a steering council for about six months. But when he did, he came prepared with a working process. Council members were shown exactly what they would be asked to contribute. Mark started with key sponsors of the initiatives he was already supporting then gradually expanded participation over time. Recently the chief enterprise architect agreed to join.
Formulate Data Governance priorities. The steering council first reviewed and validated current DGO engagements. They provide critical guidance on what to take on next by approving controls drafted by the DGO. Each member of the council benefits directly as the DGO contributes to their initiatives. They also discovered a number of common pain points that could be prioritized for broad benefit.
Define roadmaps for adoption and validation. Mark maintains a practical balance between the controls specified by his steering council and how each World Vision group will adopt them over time. He listens intently to make sure that governance objectives make sense to those who are asked to adopt them. And the roadmap must adapt to a shifting landscape. Organizational change continues to be one of Mark’s most critical challenges. People come and go. Priorities change. Mark’s DGO must provide the continuity that spans these changes.
Steering body in place, Mark realized he now had representation from three different major divisions within World Vision with a good balance of business and technology managers. Each of those managers reported to division leadership reaching as high as executive management. Each had become a vocal supporter for governing data. This choir of champions created a foundation for securing critical executive sponsorship going forward. It seemed almost accidental. Or was it? You be the judge!
In my next post we will see how Mark sustained momentum by staying focused on business value through project priorities, avoided positional stalemates through Fit-For-Use assessment, and turned his first data quality project over to the rightful owner. Exciting stuff!