Data Governance: Avoid the Cellar of Despair

Change management is an important part of implementing and maintaining data governance. An interesting way to think about change is the Change House.

The Change House is a framework used in organisational change management to understand the different stages associated with change. It can be a useful way to understand the roll out of data governance in your organisation.

Data governance often begins in the Room of Denial. You may unfortunately be very familiar with this place. Your organisation has no data governance and considerable effort is expended on maintaining the myth that nothing is wrong. For anyone attempting to establish data governance the Room of Denial is frustrating and it is difficult to get agreement that change is needed. When you suggest implementing data governance, you’re surrounded by denial and the chants of ‘We tried it before but it did not work’. It can be very tempting to go downstairs to the Cellar of Despair and remain there. Do not under any circumstances enter the Cellar of Despair; you could become trapped for the rest of your career.

Instead you must fight your way to the Room of Confusion. Here there is no longer denial that there are problems with your data. However, there is great uncertainty about what to do. This is the moment to campaign for data governance and take your confused colleagues with you to the Room of Renewal. You must work hard to avoid the Pit of Paralysis – stick to the path to data governance and don’t allow detours.

Arriving in the Room of Renewal, your colleagues are now open to trying data governance and happy to participate. This is your moment. Work quickly to establish your data management committee, appoint data owners and stewards, write policies and procedures, track data issues and ensure compliance with the newly established controls over data assets.

Finally you have made it to the Room of Contentment. Congratulations. Everything feels good, but stay alert. The Room of Contentment can lead to an unwillingness to learn new things, a dangerous territory that can lead to old habits. For the moment though, enjoy yourself and spend some time on the sundeck.

Change management is a key element in the MIP Data and Analytics Framework.

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