Put your Policies in Writing!


One document that is an absolute must-have for your program is the “Data Governance Policy Document”. This is a document that states what the Data Governance Office (and council) will not allow. It can also state what you do allow, but I’ve found its easier to just list what is now prohibited. Why is this document so valuable? Because there will absolutely be times when someone wants to do something that the DGO is staunchly against, and having a formal policy in place gives you something to reference rather than just “because I said so”. Putting this document together is fairly easy, below are some tips to get you started.


The way I created our policy was to just list “Data Governance Policies” at the top of a Word document, and started a numbered list down the left hand side. We only have four explicit statement, so the document is short – only about a half of a page. Its one of the most important half page document I have.

One of the key statements to have in your document is that no changes to a field can take place without the approval of the Data Governance Office (who will bring it before the council). We’ve had to wield that line many times and it has always helped to say, “the Data Governance Policy Document states that a field cannot be used in a new way without the approval of the DGO”. When your program is still new issues will come up that you’ll have to resolve, and referring to policy is a very powerful thing. People respect the word policy.


You can also add another line that any new fields that are being created must first be approved by the DGO, but make sure that you analyze the volume of new field requests so that you can handle the capacity once they start coming your way. The key to creating this document is to put policies in place about the issues that are most important to your council. Is it important to you that people don’t reuse deprecated fields for other purposes? Make it a policy that they cannot do that. Think about your scope, your council needs, and your charter as you create this document – the most important issues to each of these groups should spawn valuable policy.

Oh, and by the way, this is a living and breathing document – don’t be afraid to amend it as new issues come up that need to be controlled in the future. Heck… they have amended the Constitution…

  1. Dick Brummer
    August 12th, 2009 at 02:17 | #1

    Question?
    What do you see as the major difference between the follwing Policies
    1) Record Management, Retention & Detruction policy
    2) Data Governance Policy

    assuming that all data assets is recorded as records

  2. August 13th, 2009 at 07:58 | #2

    I just posted a new article titled: Data Governance vs. Records Management? Please check the home page and leave comments on your thoughts. I jotted down some similarities and differences I see between the two, but would love to know what you think!

  3. Marita Keenan
    April 16th, 2010 at 21:30 | #3

    I have read the data governance and records management article and think that a very narrow (and possibly U.S.) view has been taken of records management. Let me refer you to the international standard or records management ISO 15489. In Australia records management is ossibly also more “up stream” than in the US and the advent of computerisation has led records managers over the past few decades to become a lot more involved in respect to the standard of the records being created. As such there is a real merging of these two areas (IT and RM) and I have long advocated that all students in these fields should start off their studies with a core goup of units and then specialise in areas such as RM,IT, DG, IM, KM etc finally possibly meging again at the peak of their career when they become the CIO! I am pleased to see there are trends in some the tertiary institutions in this direction now. Meanwhile us oldies (I’m a now semi retired RIM consultant) just have to keep re-educating ourselves and collaborating. Certainly in the development of DG and RM policies there needs to be a lot of collaboration to avoid any onfusion in the minds of the staff needing to comply with those policies.

  4. Mani Upadhyaya
    April 5th, 2011 at 15:21 | #4

    Do you see Data Governance Office located in a different organization in a Company than Central Data Maintenance Organization to avoid conflicts of interest?

  1. August 13th, 2009 at 07:53 | #1