Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?

Tonette Jones

Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?

Alissa Schneider

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Tonette Jones)

I highly recommend the use of a DG Framework to help your stakeholders understand the full scope of what it means to have Data Governance. Otherwise some people have a misunderstanding that this is just a group that meets 2x/month and solves some data problems. However, since you asked for top 3, here are some critical things to understand before even going down the path of conducting an assessment:

1. Do you have a C-level executive sponsor that is fully on board with the need for Data Governance (the business drivers/reasons) and understands their responsibilities as the executive sponsor?

2. Do you or can you have a funding mechanism in place to support data governance activities?

3. Will the organization culture be receptive to DG efforts? What are the primary barriers? What will need to be addressed or overcome to be successful?

Merrill Albert

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Alissa Schneider)

I like Alissa's response.  I would also add asking about what is being governed.  For instance, some people want to govern all capabilities of data management.  Some want to start with one capability (e.g., data quality, metadata) and grow from there.  You need to start data governance with a specific purpose, not because it's something other people are doing.

Jerry Smith

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Tonette Jones)

DG is all about people process and tools related to the data.  

Alissa mentions a sponsor.  It's Critical to have one!

But, you may not be at that stage yet for a full blown DG initiative. You may be focused on one small area for whom you are doing an assessment.  If you are doing a full blown DG initiative, the need for a sponsor would certainly come out of the assessment.  

I like to start with the basics. 

Who is doing what - with what data?   

(this of course expands into a multitude of additional questions... which teams? How are they doing whatever they are doing? Which data elements do you need to be focused on?). 

Who is making decisions on what is supposed to be done with the data?  

(this also expands to a multitude of additional questions... are they the right people?  are they the right decisions?  when do they know they need to make a decision? are they tracking any of the decisions made). 

What data is the important data?  

(again - expands to more questions - Which are the Critical Data elements? Which need to be protected (PHI or PII)? Do we have a process in place TO protect them? Why is it important? To whom is it important? Do we know who should see the data and who should not?) 

I know -  you asked for 3 questions...and I gave you about 16....  It takes more than 3 licks to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop (though quite a lot more than 16). 

William McKnight

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Tonette Jones)

What you're always trying to do is match skills to business goals. This includes data governance. I always ask about business goals. I want to tie data governance into business initiatives so that's another question.

Alissa Schneider

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Jerry Smith)

I love your tootsie roll pop analogy! Very fun and very true. We always talk about the layers of an onion but tootsie roll pops are definitely more fun. Great guidance as well.

Robert S Seiner

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Tonette Jones)

The top three questions I use for a DG assessment against industry best practice are:

1. What are we presently doing that supports this and can be leveraged to support achieving this best practice?

2. Where is there opportunity to improve related to this best practice?

3. What is the gap between our present practices and what we define as best practice and what risks do we run into if we do not fully achieve this best practice?

These questions all assume that you have best practice defined for your organization. Visit TDAN.com and do a search on "best practice" and perhaps you will find additional questions there. Thanks.

Bob

Edited By:
Robert S Seiner[All DATAVERSITY Members] @ Apr 16, 2020 - 03:22 PM (America/Eastern)

Bridget Bratt

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Tonette Jones)

I always ask what their overall Data Strategy is - what data is critical to govern, how do they need to govern it and who should be responsible.

Robert S Seiner

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Bridget Bratt)

Two questions that I ask often are:

What can't you do, that you would like to do (or need to do), because you don't have the data to support doing it? This can include make decisions, perform analytics, protect data, trust and have confidence in the data ...

What could you do better, if you had better data to do it? This could include produce better reports in more a timely manner, spend time efficiently and effectively, get answers to burning (or just operational) questions ...

You get the idea ... let me know if this is helpful.

 

Charles Harbour

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Tonette Jones)

To the great list of responses, I would add a tip from a consultant friend - the fastest way to figure out which conversation to have is to ask if they see data as an asset or a cost.

 

If they see data as an asset, the conversation revolves around capabilities, priorities and budget (and things like change velocity, tools, etc).

 

OTOH, if they see data as an expense to be minimized, then the conversation changes drastically - you have to justify the expense <in concrete terms> for why you should create and fund a governance program.  There are lots of ways to justify the expense, but some insight into existing pain points and strategic goals (assuming they're documented and communicated) at multiple levels of management will enable you to craft your argument in a targeted manner.

 

You won't get high level sponsorship if they can't justify the expense.  Quantifiable, measurable goals and milestones that help reinforce your case are important.  Depending on the relative maturity of the organization, you may have to take baby, baby steps in order to fulfill that promise.

 

Good luck!

Tonette Jones

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Merrill Albert)

Thank you!

Tonette Jones

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Jerry Smith)

Thank you for your response! 

Tonette Jones

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Robert S Seiner)

This is very helpful and very much in the direction I was going. Thanks so much!

Helen Welborn

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Tonette Jones)

Where's the pain?  Who feels it?  Does the boss care?  (It's a twist on the basic change management protocol.)

Leni Oman

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Tonette Jones)

I agree with Alissa's comment to select a data governance framework (DAMA-DMBOK, ARMA-IGBOK, …). It will provide a structure for understanding strengths and weaknesses. It's like a keel keeping you on course. The parameters of your governance framework might serve to help frame the questions.

I also agree that it's important to identify the objectives by understanding current pain points you want to address.  And it may help the people who don't think about data everyday understand the problem. 

I also like the approach Jeanne Ross et al took in Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: understand what the organization MUST be able to do, the data that supports those activities, and the operating model needed.

Anthony J Algmin

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Tonette Jones)

This post caught my eye, and in reading the responses I generally agree, but I feel that there is a systemic misrepresentation of the value of Data Governance. Sure, we need to address the pain people have with data they are trying to use, but that's just part of what we should consider before taking action.

To create actual value, business results must improve in a measurable way as a result of Data Governance activities. There must be a value proposition, and success (i.e. return-on-investment) only happens when the business improves along revenue, costs, or risk management metrics.

If Sally has a data pain, and we resolve it, what happens to improve the business? What will it take to resolve her pain? Are there other areas that may benefit if we solve this? What happens if we do nothing?

These are the kinds of questions to ask. We need to look at Data Governance more holistically through the actual outcomes instead of laser-focusing in on symptoms and wondering later why our efforts aren't gaining more traction. If approach our challenges more like the executive sponsors we need so much, we'll find a more willing audience to hear us out -- and we'll be more successful in deploying our limited resources.

Anthony J. Algmin

Make an Impact! 

Get the first book on Data Leadership at DataLeadershipBook.com.

Jason Matthew Hare, CIP&#174;, CDMP&#174;, ITIL&#174;, APM&#174;

Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Anthony J Algmin)
I am saving this- one of the better vision scopes I have read.

*Jason M. Hare*
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jhare/
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On Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 11:18 AM Anthony J Algmin <
[login to unmask email]> wrote:

> This post caught my eye, and in reading the responses I generally agree,
> but I feel that there is a systemic misrepresentation of the value of Data
> Governance. Sure, we need to address the pain people have with data they
> are trying to use, but that's just part of what we should consider before
> taking action.
>
> To create actual value, business results must improve in a measurable way
> as a result of Data Governance activities. There must be a value
> proposition, and success (i.e. return-on-investment) only happens when the
> business improves along revenue, costs, or risk management metrics.
>
> If Sally has a data pain, and we resolve it, what happens to improve the
> business? What will it take to resolve her pain? Are there other areas that
> may benefit if we solve this? What happens if we do nothing?
>
> These are the kinds of questions to ask. We need to look at Data
> Governance more holistically through the actual outcomes instead of
> laser-focusing in on symptoms and wondering later why our efforts aren't
> gaining more traction. If approach our challenges more like the executive
> sponsors we need so much, we'll find a more willing audience to hear us out
> -- and we'll be more successful in deploying our limited resources.
>
> *Anthony J. Algmin*
>
> *Make an Impact! *
>
> Get the first book on Data Leadership at DataLeadershipBook.com
> https://dataleadershipbook.com .
>
> -----End Original Message-----
>

Robert S Seiner

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Anthony J Algmin)

I like Anthony's post very much. If the focus shifts away from improved business outcomes, successful data governance will become increasingly at risk from the moment that shift occurs.

Charles Harbour

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Anthony J Algmin)

Anthony,

Do you have any specific suggestions for questions to ask business owners who are not used to seeing data governance as a consultative relationship?  For governance folks that are just starting out, or who do not have executive sponsorship, that level of understanding doesn't exist.

When I talk with some people around capturing that value, some of them are not capable of measuring the current cost or value, let alone capturing the improvement that DG enables.

Can you help with some baby steps?

Thanks,

CH

Anthony J Algmin

RE: Can someone share your idea of the top 3 questions to ask on a data [governance] needs assessment?
(in response to Charles Harbour)

Hi Charles,

My first thought is we have this tendency to think of everything with Data Governance as "big lifts." It all feels so heavy. My advice to people getting started is first just try to connect some dots. Just learn how the business is using the data today and where they are frustrated.

This is technically a metadata exercise in disguise, but we don't need to complicate it. The key is to look at a situation and think "how might we make this work better by doing something related to data?" Form some hypotheses and bounce the ideas around. It can be a team of people in a workshop, or just ourselves at our desk.

Data Governance at scale comes from coordinating all of these little lifts. If we put all our early efforts into coordination when nothing is happening, nothing gets done. If we can spark some meaningful improvements, eventually the coordination function becomes necessary and welcome. I'd much rather earn executive sponsorship through getting so much done versus making a big pitch for an unproven investment.

None of this actually answers your question. So more tactically, here are a few questions to get started:

- How does what you do rely on data?
- When has a data issue hurt you?
- What were the consequences (in terms of measurable business impacts)? <-- I LOVE this question, because often people cannot answer it, and that leads us to interesting places.
- If we improved the data in [this] way, what might it mean for you?

The biggest thing is to get our Data Governance folks away from thinking of themselves as administrators, and more as data detective superheroes. We need to find a way to save the day, and cannot let anything stop us! We may need help from others, but it is up to us to get it done. 

Best,

Anthony

Anthony J. Algmin
Make an Impact! 

Get the first book on Data Leadership at DataLeadershipBook.com.