Monday, February 1, 2010

A Data Governance Mission Statement

Every organization, including your data governance team has a purpose and a mission. It can be very effective to communicate your mission in a mission statement to show the company that you mean business.  When you show the value of your team, it can change your relationship with management for the better.

The mission statement should pay tribute to the mission of the organization with regard to values, while defining why the data governance organization exists and setting a big picture goal for the future.
The data governance mission statement could revolve around any of the following key components:

  • increasing revenue
  • lowering costs
  • reducing risks (compliance)
  • meeting any of the organization’s other policies such as being green or socially responsible

The most popular format seems to follow:
Our mission is to [purpose] by doing [high level initiatives] to achieve [business benefits]

So, let’s try one:
Our mission is to ensure that the highest quality data is delivered via company-wide data governance strategy for the purpose of improving the efficiency, increasing the profitability and lowering the risk of the business units we serve.
Flopped around:
Our mission is to improve the efficiency, increase the profitability and lower the business risks to Acme’s business units by ensuring that the highest quality data is delivered via company-wide data governance strategy.
Not bad, but a mission statement should be inspiring to the team and to management. Since the passions of the company described above are unknown, it’s difficult for a generic mission statement to be inspirational about the data governance program. That’s up to you.
Goals & Objectives
There are mission statements and there are objectives. While every mission statement should say who you are and why you exist, every objective should specify what you’re going to do and the results you expect.  Objectives include activities that can be easily tracked, measured, achieved and, of course, meet the objectives of the mission.  When you start data governance projects, you can look back to the mission statement to make sure we’re on track. Are you using our people and technology in a way that will benefit the company?

Staying On Mission
When you take on a new project, the mission statement can help protect us and ensure that the project is worthwhile for both the team and the company. The mission statement should be considered as a way to block busy-work and unimportant projects.  In our mission statement example above, if the project doesn’t improve efficiency, lower costs or lower business risk, it should not be considered.

In this case, your can clearly map three projects to the mission, but the fourth project is not as clear.  Dig deeper into the mainframe project to see if any efficiency will come out of the migration.  Is the data being used by anyone for a business purpose?

A Mission Never Ends
A mission statement is a written declaration of a data governance team's purpose and focus. This focus  normally remains steady, while objectives may change often to adapt to changes in the business environment. A properly crafted mission statement will serve as a filter to separate what is important from what is not and to communicate your value to the entire organization.


1 comment:

Daryl James said...

Thanks for the post. In my opinion, the governance mission statement is as important to the data team as the corporate mission statement is to the organization itself. I'm amazed by companies' lack of DQ/IT tasking and focus. Ultimately, the whys must precede the whats must precede the hows. Otherwise, business users will continue to expend budgets without return and place blame where upon those without control over their own destiny.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own and don't necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer. The material written here is copyright (c) 2010 by Steve Sarsfield. To request permission to reuse, please e-mail me.