In this interview Jason Hare kindly shares his Data Governance experience. Jason is a former archaeologist and open data practitioner. He has been working in IT since the later 90’s. His interest in data governance stems from his time managing municipal open data programs in North Carolina.
How long have you been working in Data Governance?
In one capacity or another, I have been involved in data governance since the early 2000’s. I did not know back when I started that there was a whole discipline around governance and data management. I knew I had a data integrity and availability problem with a piece of software I was working on and so started thinking about how to solve that problem.
Some people view Data Governance as an unusual career choice, would you mind sharing how you got into this area of work?
My whole IT career was more accidental than intentional. I started bagging and tagging artefacts. The idea that we could store data electronically and use metadata to describe the provenance of artefacts was how I became interested in information technology. Knowing what I did about social science, I was always thinking about the quality of the data coming from these information systems. Since about 2000, I stopped thinking I would go back to social science and made governing data my focus.
What characteristics do you have that make you successful at Data Governance and why?
I follow my curiosity. That has made my professional life fulfilling to me. My curiosity seems to run towards how to make the lives of people better through making data better. What makes me successful, or at least successful to me, if a culture change approach to governance. People and process, the understanding of why data governance is important, that is what is most important to me.
Are there any particular books or resources that you would recommend as useful support for those starting out in Data Governance?
I enjoy reading and discussing data governance issues with Peter Aiken. I think he was the first person I met that had ‘data governance’ somewhere in his job title. I have also read a lot of what Kelle O’Neal, John Ladley, Christopher Bradley and of course you Nicola. I like learning from my customers as much as I like reading what others think about data governance.
What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced in a Data Governance implementation?
I am sure, like many of your readers, there are so many. The biggest type of challenge I face is convincing an organisation that repeating the same process over and over and expecting a different result is not going to work. That is true for just about anything but it seems to be especially pernicious about data governance engagements.
Is there a company or industry you would particularly like to help implement Data Governance for and why?
I have a fondness for the public sector and how smaller local governments can make better decisions around policies that affect real people. In the US, the local government has a bigger impact on individuals than the Federal Government does. The data with which local government makes decisions is often rife with bias. This may or may not be intentional. I would like to work in local government again.
What single piece of advice would you give someone just starting out in Data Governance?
Read the literature but be prepared to find that the literature does not often match reality. My biggest mistake starting out was trying to fit some situation into a framework. Rarely do real-world problems fit neatly into a framework. I also find keeping up with the legal side of what we do keeps me in step with how governance is changing and cross walking with information assurance.
Finally, I wondered if you could share a memorable data governance experience (either humorous or challenging)?
I could but I might violate my non-disclosure agreements. Ask me about “biscuit gate” and I can share with you how a little creative data governance and open data worked together to solve a social issue with an online map. You can find out more about Jason and connect with him on LinkedIn by clicking here.