Achieving persistent data governance, pt. 3: find a visionary


In the first two parts of my series (part 1 and part 2), I talked about common ways data governance projects can (and do) fail and offered collaboration between teams as a key to achieving success.

In this post, we’ll examine the importance of realizing the full value of your team members. With just a little thought and effort, you can leverage your team’s existing talents to ensure your project’s success.

Strategy #3: Select a data governance leader who has a long-term vision and who can execute that vision in a step-wise fashion while delivering value to the business at each increment.

Several clients have mentioned how important it is to select the right individual as the data governance lead executive. We’re talking about the person who runs the data governance office. This person will serve as the main visionary for how data governance should work and how it will evolve in the future. He or she must have a strong instinct for understanding how much change and process reengineering can be absorbed. The executive has to know when to “push the pedal” on new data management policies and when to ease off.

There is a strong linkage between an organization’s willingness to accept redesign of data management process and the amount of pain associated with the existing process. A successful data governance leader will understand this relationship and package his reengineering efforts accordingly. When the pain of the legacy approach spikes, he understands that is the optimal time to drive the largest amount of change in data management methods.

The catch-22 of data governance is that once the new methods achieve success, it is easy for executives to forget why things have improved, and revert back to old methods where each team works in a silo. That is why it is so important that the Data Governance team has both a strong vision for designing data management process that will resonate with business leaders, as well as the acumen needed to sustain data governance beyond initial success.This is critical.

What “make it or break it” moments have you witnessed when it comes to team leadership? Share your thoughts below.

I hope this series has been helpful to you. Good luck on your journey!


About Author

Bryan Finnegan

Sr Technical Consultant

Bryan Finnegan is a consultant at SAS in the data management practice where he has worked for the past two years. His focus for the past 22 years has been assisting clients wishing to improve data quality, and reduce risks related to suboptimal data accuracy. He is an expert in driving change within large complex organizations, and creating a vision and executive support for new data management methods. He has delivered advisory services that include development of data architecture framework for a large bank, a data quality assessment and roadmap for a large federal agency, and an MDM implementation plan for a national retailer

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