This article is adapted from the book “Universal Meta Data Models” by David Marco & Michael Jennings, John Wiley & Sons
This article is the second is a series of articles on the Data Stewardship Framework. In this installment we will examine the necessary data stewardship policies and procedures. To see the
first article in the series, click here.
Data Stewardship Policies and Procedures
There will be several tasks that the data stewardship committee will need to complete before they can capture/define business and technical meta data. These policies and procedures include:
- Data Stewardship Charter
- Data Stewardship Activities Definition and Prioritization
- Data Stewardship Committee Rules of Order
- Data Stewardship Roles
- Data Stewardship Standard Documents and Forms
Data Stewardship Charter
The first task of the data stewardship committee is to form a documented charter for their activities. This charter should state the business purposes that necessitated the data stewardship
committee formation. The data stewardship charter should not be a voluminous document as this document’s goal is to provide a clear direction as to the strategic business goals that the data
stewardship committee is looking to achieve. Typically I like the data stewardship charter to fit on one single-spaced page. If you are creating a data stewardship charter that is greater than two
pages your charter is most likely too long. Obviously this charter needs to target the specific areas of concern/opportunities that exist within your company. For example, pharmaceutical companies
tend to have very extensive and elaborate data stewardship committees. A pharmaceutical company’s data stewardship charter will traditionally have a good deal of focus on clinical trials. A
clinical trial is the process that a pharmaceutical company goes through to research, development and attain government approval for new compounds (drugs). It is important to understand that the
average cost for developing a new drug is between $150 – $250 million and over 10 years of time before it can be brought to market. The rule of thumb in this industry is that for every
day a company’s new compound is delayed from reaching the market it costs the pharmaceutical company $1 million in lost revenue. This includes the extra time it will take to recoup sunk
expenses (ever see the interest expense on $150 million!) and the possibility of a competitor creating a competing compound. During these trials, government agencies like the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) have rigorous standards that must be met before a new drug can gain approval. The task for passing these FDA (and other agency requirements) is not an easy one. These
organizations and there corresponding legislation require that a pharmaceutical company has a very definitive definitions for their data elements. Clearly, a pharmaceutical company’s data
stewardship committee’s charter will focus very heavily on how they can expedite the passing of the FDA audits.
Data Stewardship Activities Definition and Prioritization
Once the data stewardship charter has been defined the data stewardship committee will need to define the specific activities that they will be performing (in next month’s column I will walk
through the common data stewardship activities). In is vital that these activities will support the strategic objectives of the data stewardship charter.
Once these activities have been defined the next task is to prioritize which of these activities the data stewardship team should tackle first. At this point I like to use a matrix to decide which
of the activities will be most beneficial to the organization.
Data Stewardship Committee Rules of Order
Once the activities of the data stewardship committee have been identified the committee will have to create rules of order for their organization. Below is a sample of the types of rules of order
that will be needed to be defined:
- Regular meeting schedule
- Meeting structure/agenda
- Issue documentation
- Issue resolution
- Meeting notes capture and dissemination
Data Stewardship Roles
After the data stewardship committee has defined their rules of order it will be important for this team to formally define their different data stewardship roles and responsibilities. In my
December column (DM Review, December 2002, “Data Stewardship Framework”) I had defined four data stewardship roles: Executive Sponsor, Chief Steward, Business Steward and Technical Steward.
Certainly these roles are a good beginning set for any new data stewardship committee; however, if you are like most companies you will tailor these roles, titles and descriptions to suit your
company’s specific needs.
Data Stewardship Standard Documents and Forms
Once the data stewardships have been defined and assigned it is time for the data stewardship committee to create any standard documents or forms that will be needed to support the data stewardship
activities that have been defined and prioritized. This activity is important as you do not want to have each steward creating their own document/form for each activity.
One of the most common documents/forms that will be required is a change control document. These are the documents that members of your company can use to formally document their data stewardship
tasks. For example, suppose that a key task of your data stewardship committee is to define business meta data definitions. Certainly you will have business stewards working on these definitions;
however, there may be so people that are not formally part of the data stewardship committee. These people may want to recommend changes to the business definitions that your business stewards
defined. Clearly you would need a form (optimally web-based, tied into a meta data repository) that would allow these people to provide their feedback on these definitions.
Another common form is a data stewardship feedback mechanism. It is important that the data stewardship committee is not viewed as a group that is in their own “ivory” tower. Allowing feedback on
the things that your data stewardship committee is doing well, as well as recommendations on what they can do better, helps to ensure that you are meeting the needs of your constituency.
The next installment will walkthrough the specific activities of a data stewardship committee.
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