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How to include data governance in an MDM development process

Learn how to include data policies and data governance in a master data management (MDM) development process even if your company doesn’t want to fund data governance.

I’ve heard you speak in the past on the importance of data governance and master data management (MDM). My company...

has funding for MDM but not for data governance. Is it possible to hide a data governance initiative in our MDM project?


I can give you some pointers, but truth be told, I’ve never really been a fan of stealth data governance. I think data governance should be in-your-face. It should kick dust on your sneakers, wear a party hat and put a whoopee cushion on your office chair.

But the answer to your question is yes. You can hide data governance, and data governance will probably help you even as it skulks around feeling underappreciated. The way you do this is by customizing your MDM development process to include formal business participation around data policy-making and business rules. Your MDM development process is already unique, right? It focuses on functional requirements, and low data latency, and matching and linking, and all that stuff -- so it’s not like you’re going to use your standard business intelligence development approach, right? (Say “Right.”)

So in this case, you include data policies in your MDM development process. Make it natural; bake it in. When this is done well, your business users feel as if they’re part of the development effort. Maybe even suggest that it was their idea. And if you can, appoint a data steward, perhaps but not necessarily at the data-subject-area level, just to ensure that “business rules are aligned.”

Promise me that if you’re going to do this, you’ll lift your head after the initial MDM effort and acknowledge that data governance was part of the process. That’s right: You have to “out” data governance. Throw it a party and let it put the hat on. Then invite it to other projects. Soon it -- and you! -- will be the life of the party.

This was last published in May 2010

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