8 Reasons Why Data Governance Fails
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Projects and Programs fail for a variety of reasons. Data Governance is a particularly tough program, and I’d like to see as many programs succeed as possible. Below are the top reasons I’ve seen that have caused Data Governance programs to fail.
1. No Success Shown
A good way to kill your program is to show no success out of the gate. Very quickly people will become disinterested, restless, and you’ll notice participate will wane. To prevent this, get a quick win that really excites upper management as well as the stewards. Fix a pain point for them or clean up something that everyone knows is a problem. Whatever you do, get a quick win.
2. Loss of Executive Buy-in
This can happen for a lot of reasons, including the other 7 listed here, so the key to this is to keep your executive sponsors up-to-date and engaged. You can do this through traditional status reporting as well as drop-in meetings and updates when you have success. Have a communication plan that keeps your executive sponsor and interested upper management engaged and updated.
3. Not Having a Proper Foundation
A recent article that I blogged on stated that 80% of Data Governance projects fail. Now, I’m not knocking the authors or anything, but the conclusions that were drawn were pretty obvious. If you start Data Governance before you have the proper foundation you are going to fail. A proper foundation includes proper data management for your organization, data models, metadata, etc. Basically, you need to at least have the basic foundation for what Data Governance will indeed govern. If you don’t have metadata, for instance, wouldn’t you first start a Metadata project to build up your data dictionary before starting your Data Governance Program? I would.
4. No Metrics
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never know when you get there”. You need to know where you are, where you have been, and where you are going. Keep metrics on your scope, your progress, your maturity model, your dollars saved, your dollars earned, your risk mitigated, and anything else you can. The more tangible, the better. You will use the metrics to keep people interested, both your stewards and management.
5. Poor Planning
You need to plan before you start Data Governance. Put together a communication plan, get an idea of your scope, talk with your effected business units… in other words, be prepared. Each organization is different, but get all the red tape out of the way so that you don’t bog your council down with that stuff. Make sure everything for the first few months of your program is planned out so you can focus on executing and adjusting (being reactive) since you’ve already put the pro-active work in up-front.
6. Loss of Momentum
You need to keep things going. Being successful once justifies a project, not a program. Projects end, a true Data Governance program doesn’t. You’ll need to continually track your successes (and failures) and keep searching out new ones, keep your council invested in Data Governance, stay active in Enterprise projects, etc. You can’t slow down after you succeed, you need to keep on plugging!
7. Loss of Funding
This can happen for the same reasons as the loss of executive support, but it can also happen if you aren’t financially justifying your existence. If you cost more than you are worth, you aren’t going to be worth keeping around. Make sure you are doing work that pays for you to exist.
8. Being Viewed as ‘Overhead’
You don’t want to be seen as “just another department”, you want to be seen as a necessity – an integral part of the organizations growth and stability. Frame your talking points around things such as Data Governance enables scalability of the organization, sustainable increased revenue, and tangible risk mitigation. Don’t be just another group… be visible, and try to be the rockstar group.