The Data Stewardship Approach to Data Governance: Part 10

Editor’s note: Following are links to all of the articles in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 and Part 10

This is the tenth and final chapter in the series A Stewardship Approach to Data Governance, by publisher Robert S. Seiner. This article or chapter focuses on the final two Framework components, the two side-bars displayed on the left side of the “pyramid” diagram below.  The two components of KIK’s Framework include the Data Governance Program Team (DGPT) and the role of information technology in implementing a successful data governance program.

The past few chapters have discussed KIK’s (Seiner’s) Data Governance Framework© of Roles & Responsibilities that is shown in the pyramid diagram below. In the past three chapters, I focused on the middle and lower section of the pyramid and described the responsibilities of the Data Domain Stewards, the Data Steward Coordinators and the Operational Data Stewards. 

I have stated this before and it is worth restating.  It does not matter what your organization call these roles or any of the roles described in the Framework or in this series of articles.  Please do not feel as though you have to use the role names described here.  It is more important that you make certain that the responsibilities described in the articles are defined and communicated clearly, and that someone has the responsibility to carry out these roles.


The two sidebars to left of the Framework pyramid focus on the Support Level of the Framework.  The Support Level includes the Information Technology Division (System and Data Subject Matter Experts) and a group I label as the Data Governance Program Team.  Typical Data Governance policies or charters call for the Data Governance Program to be managed and administered by somebody; typically a central group that can reside anywhere in the organization; in a business area, technology area or in a shared services area of the organization; as long as they carry out an enterprise business perspective.

The Data Governance Program Team (DGPT)

In the KIK Framework, the team that directs and administers the Data Governance Program is the Data Governance Program Team.  In some organizations, the early phases of the program including the definition of the program and the approval process is managed by a Data Governance Planning Team (still DGPT) that evolves into the Data Governance Program Team over time.

The Role of the Data Governance Program Team (Support Level – Business or IT):

  • Oversee Enterprise Data Governance Program Development / Architect Solution & Framework

  • Administer the Program including facilitate the Data Governance Council meetings

  • Provide the Agenda for the Data Governance Council Meetings to the Approved by Council Owner Pre-Meeting

  • Facilitate Data Governance Organization, Tactical & Operational Stewards, the Data Governance Council Involvement

  • Develop and Deliver Data Governance Program Educational, Awareness & Mentoring Materials

  • Provide Quality Assurance – Oversight, Monitor, Report Results to Data Governance Council

  • Establish, Maintain, and Periodically Review and Recommend Changes to Data Governance Policies, Standards, Guidelines, and Procedures  

  • Assist in Defining Data Quality Metrics for Periodic Release

  • Support Data Quality Issue Analysis and Remediation for “Strategic” Data 

  • Conduct Audits to Ensure that Policies, Procedures and Metrics are in Place for Maintaining/Improving the Program 

The Data Governance Program Team members are NOT the Tactical or Operational Data Stewards and they are NOT responsible for telling or getting existing informal data governance initiatives to change.  Simply put, The Data Governance Program Team is responsible for defining, delivering and sustaining the activities of the Data Governance Program.  Without this Team, the program will not be able to succeed.

Team Membership

How many people should be on the DGPT? The answer is it depends. Check out the extremes described below. The required number of individuals on the Team typically depends on 1) the level of involvement of the business areas and IT areas in the deployment of the program, 2) the complexity and knowledge of the existing of the data management environment, and 3) the speed in which the program will be deployed.  As stated earlier in this series of articles, the program will not run itself.  Somebody or some group needs to have the responsibilities listed above otherwise the program will not exist.

I have worked with several organizations where the responsibility for designing and delivering their Data Governance Program has fallen into the hands of a single person, sometimes they are full-time to the Data Governance program, sometimes they are not.  The single person (for example – an Enterprise Data Governance Manager) most likely will depend on advice, recommendations and suggestions of other managers and knowledgeable people in their organization forming an informal or formal team that assists the DGPT Manager in the design and delivery of the program.

I have worked with an organization where the DGPT consisted of one-eighth of one person’s time.  That’s it – .125 FTE equivalents.  I was told in advance of the consulting engagement that the program was expected to move slowly and that has indeed been the case.  This person (Director of the Office of Data Management) continues to make slow progress in the area of Data Governance, but his time has been split drastically between several activities.  This person’s initial focus for Data Governance was to build the collateral to educate and mentor all of the participants of the Data Governance Program (all of the components of the Framework described in this series).

I have worked with an organization where there was a team of 15 people dedicated to Data Governance when I arrived. My first impression was that this was overkill, or way too many people. I expect your reaction is the same. The truth is that this organization does not still have those numbers of resources dedicated to Data Governance.  The truth is that the program collapsed due to the expectations of the misdirected resources never being met.  This program has been re-born into to a more focused program with more focused individuals participating on the DGPT.

The bottom line is what I stated earlier. The program will not run itself. Somebody (or some group of people) need to be involved in running the program.

Home for the Team

Where should the DGPT reside in the organization when delivering an Enterprise program? The answer is it depends who in the organization has the resources to dedicate to the definition, delivery and management of the program.  The Data Governance Program Team can reside in a business area (typically a shared services business area so not to give the impression of a single-business-unit focus) or in the Information Technology / Data Management area of an organization (as long as it is not managed and sold as “another IT” project solely for IT’s sake). There is truly NOT a correct answer to this question.

Data Governance Programs require coordination, cooperation and communication – often referred to as the “3-C’s.”  When identifying the proper home for the DGPT, take the “3-C’s” into consideration and make certain that the DGPT, the Data Governance Council and the Data Domain Stewards (described in previous articles) have true enterprise perspective and representation.

The Role of IT

In many organizations, the information technology (IT) professionals have a large amount of knowledge about the definition, production and usage of data by individual business units and data that is used across business units and as an enterprise resource.  It would be foolish not to leverage that knowledge to support and improve data governance across the organization.  I often refer to the IT staff that has the in-depth data knowledge as the “Data Subject Matter Experts” (DSMEs) and the “System Subject Matter Experts” (SSMEs).

Data Subject Matter Experts are those individuals in IT that support the business professionals and the technical professionals with their knowledge of business operations and the data that is necessary to operate and perform analysis of that business.  These people can be Business Analysts, Reporting Analysts, Data Architects, Data Modelers, Project Management, basically anybody in the IT area that has knowledge of the data that is used to support the operational business units and the enterprise as a whole.

System Subject Matter Experts are those individuals in IT that support the business and technical professionals with their knowledge of the business and the software systems, internally developed applications and integrated data sets such as data warehouses, master data management solutions and package implementations that are used to operate the business areas and the analytics required for decision making within those business areas.  These people can be System Architects, System Developers, Application Developers, Program Directors (for data warehousing, MDM, …), basically anybody that has system-oriented knowledge that supports the operational business units and the enterprise as a whole.

This distinction between the people that are DSMEs and the people that are SSMEs is trivial and not important for most organizations.  It IS important, however, for the role of the DSMEs and SSMEs to become formal, to record information about these people as experts, and to utilize these roles to the benefit of the organization.

The Role of the IT DSMEs and SSMEs:

  • Focus on Consistent Protection/Classification of Data by Data Classification (Confidential, Public, Internal Use, …)

  • Responsible for Technical Data Handling to Meet Data Classification Requirements

  • Secure IT Infrastructure On Behalf of the Business Units that Own the Data

  • Assure that sensitive data, regardless of format, is protected at all times by only using approved equipment, networks, and other controls

  • Responsible for championing the integration of data governance within the standard project methodology.

  • Ensure that standard project methodology is followed and that policies, procedures and metrics are in place for maintaining/improving data quality and the creation, capture and maintenance of metadata.

  • Ensure that all “strategic” data is modeled, named, and defined consistently.

  • Ensure that projects source and utilize data as much as is feasible from the designated system of record. 

  • Provide technical support for ensuring data quality.

  • Provide technical support for data governance and data cleansing efforts where required.

  • Ensure that metadata critical to Data Governance is included in the metadata resource and is accessible 

This is the final article in this series, The Stewardship Approach to Data Governance.  The chapters of this series are a great introduction to data governance for someone who is just getting started as well as a good set of materials for an established data governance practitioner to compare their notes.  The series has led us through defining data governance, through the best practices of data governance, through the tools of data governance including an emphasis on the “Non-Invasive Data Governance”™ approach, and through a detailed walk-through of a practical set or Framework of Roles & Responsibilities.

I hope that you have enjoyed and received value from this series.  Please feel free to contact me via email at to discuss this or any of the articles in greater detail or to find out how to implement a “Non-Invasive Data Governance”™ program at your organization.

Copyright © 2009 – Robert S. Seiner
The Data Administration Newsletter, LLC
KIK Consulting & Educational Services, LLC  

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Robert S. Seiner

Robert S. Seiner

Robert (Bob) S. Seiner is the President and Principal of KIK Consulting & Educational Services and the Publisher Emeritus of The Data Administration Newsletter. Seiner is a thought-leader in the fields of data governance and metadata management. KIK (which stands for “knowledge is king”) offers consulting, mentoring and educational services focused on Non-Invasive Data Governance, data stewardship, data management and metadata management solutions. Seiner is the author of the industry’s top selling book on data governance – Non-Invasive Data Governance: The Path of Least Resistance and Greatest Success (Technics Publications 2014) and the followup book - Non-Invasive Data Governance Strikes Again: Gaining Experience and Perspective (Technics 2023), and has hosted the popular monthly webinar series on data governance called Real-World Data Governance (w Dataversity) since 2012. Seiner holds the position of Adjunct Faculty and Instructor for the Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College Chief Data Officer Executive Education program.

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