Practical Points from the DGPO: For Professionals, By Professionals

COL01x - feature image already 300x300There has never been a better time to be a data governance professional. Why? Two words: Job. Security. Whether it is the high-profile data security stories in the headlines or the exciting promise of data opportunities and the art of the possible data, it certainly has the attention of executives across industries and companies of all sizes. And, they finally get it – your data act must be together not only tp protect the business but to also enable optimization, productivity, and innovation. Data governance is the program to do just that for the entire enterprise.

If you are just starting a data governance program, you are steadily growing and maturing one, or you are re-starting the efforts again for the nth time, the Data Governance Professionals Organization (DGPO) is here to help. Who, or what, is the DGPO? Well, glad you asked. We are a non-profit international professional organization created by data governance practitioners for data governance practitioners.  Our mission? To develop and enrich the expertise of data governance professionals globally by sharing knowledge, content, and best practices; leveraging real-life member experiences; and building a community of practice and network of resources. Our Vision? To be the world-wide, connected community of data governance professionals, and the primary resource for data governance knowledge and best practices. Bottom line? We are here for you – through the good times and the…well, not so good (because we get it – data governance is not always a walk in the park).

In supporting our vision, we have had several working groups and individual contributors share countless volunteer hours to develop and document the best practices for what it takes to build, deliver, and maintain a top-notch data governance program. These best practice efforts have evolved into a formal framework the DGPO has established to be the primary, authoritative resource for data governance practices. This framework (Figure 1), the DGPO CAP (Core Areas of Practice), unofficially referred to as the DGPO Hexy and sometimes referred to affectionately as the “Sexy Hexy” (because we know that being a data governance professional is really the sexiest job around – no offense data scientists), represents the six core areas of practice and is the foundation for all the content and best practices the DGPO will continue to share going forward.


The six core areas of practice in the framework are:

1. Fundamentals – The foundational elements necessary for any data governance program.

 This core area of practice is for all aspects of getting started or restarted. It is also a good place for mature programs to reference and complete a “health check” every now and then to ensure you are sustaining best practices. Fundamentals include justifying the need for data governance, where to start, executive sponsorship, project prioritization, and business strategy alignment. It also covers program-related elements such as charters, guiding principles, checklists, and roadmaps.

The fundamentals area of practice helps to ensure that your data governance program is manageable, sustainable, and designed for success. It guides you to align your program vision and strategy with the business goals and executive priorities and address the overall needs of the organization.

2. Organization – Organizational considerations for data governance, both within and external to the data governance program.

The organization core area of practice helps to define the roles and responsibilities of each organizational body and their interrelationships. This area of practice also identifies the functions/purpose of standard teams and/or temporary working groups within the defined organizational bodies. This not only includes the documentation of “who’s who”, it also outlines accountabilities, responsibilities, workflows, interaction, and decision-making models.   

The organization area of practice helps to create visibility for the people of data governance program, not only defining who is part of the program, but also how they interact and operate with the entire organization. It establishes authority and accountability, and sanctions the data governance program as a recognized decision-making body in the enterprise.

3. Communication – Communication is the heart and soul of engagement, necessary for sustaining data governance.

This core area of practice covers marketing the purpose (and general existence) of your data governance program, sharing wins and payback, and providing regular status reports. It also covers training and development and change management. This practice area will help to identify varying audiences/shareholders and help to determine appropriate touch points, time frames, and delivery mechanisms for effective and consistent messaging.

 The communication area of practice focuses on how to get the word out about data governance, establish effective levels of engagement, establish appropriate feedback channels, and communicate effectively with all levels of the organization regarding data governance initiatives.

4. Process – Process, policy, procedure, practice.

This is all about the P’s of data governance in action. From documenting parameter-establishing guidelines to the detailed steps of tactical execution, the process area of practice covers the “Why, What, and How” of data governance. Policies represent the why we do what we do in governance and outline the expected conduct for specific situations, conditions or circumstances. Process is the definition of what the organization must do to ensure policies are followed and supported. Procedures are the documented elements of processes and how to execute for success. Practice is the tactical execution of everything defined in policies, processes, and procedures. Keeping with the “P” theme, the process area of practice covers the principal elements necessary to keep data governance running.

5. Metrics – Metrics matter.

In fact, they significantly matter. Metrics and measures are necessary for continual improvement across the business and for communicating where the business has been, where it is now, and where it is headed. 

Metrics can indicate when something is going wrong, inform when targets are hit or missed and suggest when changes may need to occur. The metrics area of practice covers how to determine metrics for program value, business value, potential value, actual value, and data quality measurements. It tackles how to set baselines and measurement criteria, and how to deliver results with scoreboards, dashboards, reports, and other communication methods.

Metrics are a critical component of data governance success. This area of practice will help ensure that you are not only able to effectively measure the value and success of your program but also share it with the most effective tools possible.

6. Stewardship – Data stewardship is an essential element of data governance.

The stewardship area of practice covers what stewardship entails and the role of data stewards. From business to technical stewards and even data custodians, this practice area helps to define who they are and what they do. This area of practice also covers the necessary elements of a data stewardship as a program and what it takes to build a healthy, active community of data stewards across the organization.

The DGPO wants to help make sure you and your data governance program are successful. With all eyes on data, it is time to shine. Remember, we are here for you. Use the DGPO CAP (or Sexy Hexy) to help keep you on track. And swing on over to the DGPO website for additional content and resources in each of the practice areas. Not a member, yet? No problem, you can join here

Do you have content to share for the core practice areas? One of the greatest resources in the DGPO Members Only Content area is the member-shared content. We would love to have you share your successes as a member for the members! In the meantime, we will keep sharing our practical points and best practices from the field here in TDAN. We are honored to be a part of this newsletter as it is always full of great information and valuable resources.


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Data Governance Professionals Organization

Data Governance Professionals Organization

The DGPO is a non-profit, vendor neutral, association of business, IT and data professionals dedicated to advancing the discipline of data governance. If you would like more information on joining the DGPO, please check out the DGPO Website.

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