my secret plan to rule the world book

Data Governance Strategy

A strategy is a plan of action. Within data governance, it makes sense to ultimately develop a strategy or plan to ensure data governance takes place. In this post, we will look at the components of a data governance strategy. Below are the common components of a data governance strategy.

  • Approach
  •  Vision statement
  •  Mission statement
  •  Value proposition
  •  Guiding principles
  •  Roles & Responsibilities

There is probably no particular order in which these components are completed. However, they tend to follow an inverted pyramid in terms of the scope of what they deal with. In other words, the approach is perhaps the broadest component and affects everything below it followed by the vision statement, etc. Where to begin probably depends on how your mind works. A detail-oriented person may start at the bottom while a big-picture thinker would start at the top.

Defined Approach

The approach defines how the organization will go about data governance. There are two extremes for this and they are defensive and offensive. A defensive approach is focused on risk mitigation while an offensive approach is focused more on achieving organizational goals.


Neither approach is superior to the other and the situation an organization is in will shape which is appropriate. For example, an organization that is struggling with data breaches may choose a more defensive approach while an organization that is thriving with allegations may take a more offensive approach.

Vision Statement

A vision statement is a brief snapshot of where the organization wants to be. Another way to see this is that a vision statement is the purpose of the organization. The vision statement needs to be inspiring and easily understood. It also helps to align the policies and standards that are developed.

An example of a vision statement for data governance is found below.

Transforming how data is leveraged to make informed decisions to support youth served by this organization

The vision is to transform data for decision-making. This is an ongoing process that will continue indefinitely.

Mission Statement

The mission statement explains how an organization will strive toward its vision. Like a vision statement, the mission statement provides guidance in developing policies and standards. The mission statement should be a call to action and include some of the goals the organization has about data. Below is an example

Enabling stakeholders to make data-driven decisions by providing accurate, timely data and insights

In the example above, it is clear that accuracy, timeliness, and insights are the goals for achieving the vision statement. In addition, the audience is identified which is the stakeholders within the organization.

Value Proposition

The value proposition provides a justification or the significance of adopting a data governance strategy. Another way to look at this is an emphasis on persuasion. Some of the ideas included in the value proposition are the benefits of implementation. Often the value proposition is written in the form of cause and effect statement(s). Below is an example

By implementing this data governance program we will see the following benefits: 

Improved data quality for actionable insights, increased trust in data for making decisions, and clarity of roles and responsibilities of analysts

In the example above three clear benefits are shared. Succinctly this provides people with the potential outcomes of adopting this strategy. Naturally, it would be beneficial to develop ways to measure these ideas which means that only benefits that can be measured should be a part of the value proposition.

Guiding Principles

Guiding principles define how data should be used and managed. Common principles include transparency, accountability, integrity, and collaboration. These principles are just more concrete information for shaping policies and standards. Below is an example of a guiding principle.

All data will have people assigned to play critical roles in it

The guiding principle above is focused on accountability. Making sure all data has people who are assigned to perform various responsibilities concerning it is important to define and explain.

Roles & Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities are about explaining the function of the data governance team and the role each person will play. For example, a small organization might have people who adopt more than one role such as being data stewards and custodians while larger organizations might separate these roles.

In addition, it is also important to determine the operating model and whether it will be centralized or decentralized. Determining the operating model again depends on the context and preferences of the organization.

It is also critical to determine how compliance with the policies and standards will be measured. It is not enough to say it, eventually, there needs to be evidence in terms of progress and potential changes that need to be made to the strategy. For example, perhaps a data audit is done monthly or quarterly to assess data quality.


Having a data governance strategy is a crucial step in improving data governance within an organization. Once a plan is in place it is simply a matter of implementation to see if it works.

Leave a Reply