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…