Tools and Technology in the Execute and Build Phase

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Ok, you did your planning work for what tools you want to use to support your data governance efforts. You are ready to execute. What are some things you should consider?
Engage IT

Your IT team has likely seen a LOT when it comes to staff’s ability and willingness to interact with organizational systems and data. They can also help you get the most out of the tools you already have and will have informed opinions about what will and won’t work for your organization. IT may also be on the hook for building and/or helping you audit new data governance initiatives. 

Do one thing at a time

Don’t change your project management system, your data dictionary, and your data quality dashboard all at once. Do them sequentially. Doing it all at once can create stress, chaos, and disillusionment. It doesn’t give people time to develop the necessary habits before you add something else. Another thing to consider is what problem you want to solve first. We often recommend starting with data quality, because it’s hard to do much with your data without it. 

Get an early win

Build on what’s there: You might start by looking for tools that people are already using, like a Wiki or Sharepoint. If someone has done a bit of documentation, build on that. 

Target a pain point: Let’s say you know you want to use Google Sheets for your data dictionary, Lucidchart for your data models, and PowerBI to look at your data quality. Solve the most painful problem for staff, to give them an early win. For example, if people spend a lot of time looking around for data sets, get them using Google Sheets for the data dictionary. If data quality is taking up time and stressing people out, create a data quality dashboard in PowerBI so they identify and easily address data problems. Another method is to start where a tool is already in place. If staff already use Google Sheets or PowerBI, start there. Sometimes you want to start where the problems is most painful, sometimes you will start where the tool will be most familiar. You will know based on what’s going on in your organization. 

Feedback loops and training are essential: Wherever you decide to start get feedback! Ask early adopters what the expected and unexpected hurdles were. Where did they struggle and why? What would have made it easier? 

Don't forget about training. How did your early adopters figure out how to use the new tool? If you provided training, was it effective? How long did it take them to understand what needed to be done? How much longer did it take for it to become a habit? How does this data governance tool work (or not) with the other tools they are using to do their work? Be open-minded, you may get some unexpected feedback. If it’s an unmitigated disaster (it can happen) be willing to change course. If it just needs improving, keep making it better.

In the early phases, support staff by training early adopters of a tool, and allowing them to influence how it is used for your workflow. Once processes are established and documented, train staff in each department consistently. Expect that the process will look a bit different after you’ve gone through this initial testing process, as you will learn a lot. 

Pace yourself: Remember, perfect is the enemy of the good. Decide what good enough adoption looks like, unless it has major impacts on data security or integrity, then hold people accountable to that standard. 

In the execution phase, continuous improvement is the name in the game. Get people using tools consistently as you roll out the process across the organization. 

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