Six Characteristics of a Successful Data Governance Practitioner - Great Communicator
- Created on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:46
As I said in my last blog post, good communication skills are essential when implementing a data governance framework. Did I say good? Actually I mean great. Being able to communicate successfully is vitally important, I believe that it is the second most important skill required, after having data governance expertise and knowledge.
You have to be able to be able to explain to everyone at every level in your organisation what data governance means for them. You need to be able to tackle everything from one-to-one coaching sessions to presentations, writing website content and a whole variety of written communications.
You must be comfortable communicating with everyone, utilising every medium available. Depending on where you are in implementing a data governance initiative, your audience will range from Executives to Data Producers and everything in between. Depending on the terminology your company has chosen to use this could include Data Owners, Data Stewards and Data Consumers and you need to be able
to articulate clearly to each and every one of these groups what Data Governance means for them and what they need to do as a result.
Communication skills are a huge topic, one on which there are hundreds of books, (my particular favourite being The Jelly Effect: How to Make Your Communication Stick by Andy Bounds), so I’m not able to teach you how to be a great communicator in one short blog, but I will share my top tips for getting your data governance message across.
- Whoever you speak to, make sure that you talk in terms of what it means to them, find out what their pain points are and how poor data is a contributing factor. Ask lots of questions to understand what they do, so that you can explain how it will benefit them.
- Gather real examples of poor data quality issues in your organisation, to back up your message. Making up examples tend to lead to a response something along the lines of “no that doesn’t/couldn’t happen here” and distracts from the message you want to get across rather than reinforcing it.
- Simplify your message (over simplify even). For the majority of people you are dealing with, this will be the first time they have heard of data governance and data quality. Make sure that they understand the basics before you inundate them with detail.
- Draw pictures and diagrams to get your message across. These are far more effective than pages of written words.
- Do not use formal documents to communicate your topic. There are very good reasons, why you need to have detailed data models, process maps, policies and operating models, but remember they are called “formal” for a reason. You need to take the material you need out of these and turn it into a compelling message for your audience, whoever they might be.
I hope you find these tips useful and if you try some of them for the first time please let me know how you get on.
Join me next time as I explain why I believe being passionate about data governance is so important!