A first step in data governance is to identify key decision points to be governed. These may include:
- Adopting common data definitions or standard code lists
- Adopting location referencing standards
- Adopting standard tools for field data collection
- Collecting new asset data to be included within an integrated asset management system
- Archiving or deleting existing data
- Modifying data elements for an existing TAM data source
- Adding new data layers to an enterprise GIS repository
- Adding new data marts to a data warehouse
- Adding new reports or controls to a BI environment
- Responding to an external request for data
It is best to take an incremental approach to setting up governance processes, starting with a few high impact areas that are aligned with what the agency is trying to achieve. For each of the selected decisions to be governed, think both about the criteria or guidelines to be followed as well as all the people who should be consulted or involved in making the decision.
- Criteria and Guidelines: Developing guidelines for key decisions is a good way to institutionalize practices that reflect the agency’s goals for data. For example, some agencies have established “readiness checklists” that need to be completed before data can be added to an enterprise repository. These ensure (among other things) that a data owner or point of contact has been identified, that necessary metadata is provided, that a refresh cycle has been specified, and that the authoritative source system of record has been identified.
- Decision Making Process: Consider who should be involved in each of these decisions – who is responsible for making technical recommendations, who should be consulted, who has approval authority, and who needs to be informed about the decision. Define a process for resolving issues and conflicts; and a process for granting exceptions to established standards.
Agency data governance bodies can be responsible for adopting both guidelines and process flows impacting decisions that impact multiple business functions. If there are no existing governance bodies or if decisions to be governed are specific to TAM, a separate TAM data governance group can be established.
Keep in mind that the function of governance bodies is to make decisions. Use technical advisory groups, working groups or communities of interest to do the collaborative work required to develop standards or make recommendations about changes to data and systems.