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July 20, 2022

Demystifying Data Governance: Data & Analytics CoE event asks, ‘How do you manage your data?’

By the Data & Analytics CoE

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In June 2022, the Data & Analytics (DA) CoE hosted a data governance office hour designed to help federal government agencies set up data governance and manage data as a strategic asset. Based on their three charter templates, the office hours provided an opportunity for attendees to dive deeper into data governance. The DA CoE has helped multiple agencies establish an office of the chief data officer (OCDO) and other data governance bodies. The team’s charter templates are based on their experiences working with chief data officers and data practitioners across government. Employees from 15 federal organizations attended the session.

The Evidence-based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) was established to advance evidence-building in the federal government by improving access to data and expanding evaluation capacity. The Evidence Act requires each department to identify an OCDO and advise different elements of evaluation, data, and statistical policy issues.

The DA CoE published charter templates focused on the Office of the Chief Data Officer (OCDO), Data Governance Steering Committee (DGSC) and Data Governance Advisory Group (DGAG) to help organizations at the enterprise level develop infrastructure and progress towards an end goal of creating enterprise-wise data products. The charter templates were created as templates and are not to be interpreted as guidance.

Organizational Structure

Data governance must scale to the size of an organization and the mission. The templates are built on industry best practices and generalized. They are designed to be applied to a variety of organizations.

Office of the Chief Data Officer (OCDO)

  • When agencies go through major modernization shifts, whether moving to the cloud or setting up a data warehouse, chief data officers are critical for ensuring those initiatives are managing data responsibly and in a way that disseminates data effectively across the organization.
  • OCDOs set the organization up for success by developing data products at the enterprise level.

Data Governance Steering Committee (DGSC)

  • The DGSC, mandated by law, should consist of high-level executives with budget authority within the agency.
  • The charter shows its structure in detail. There has to be a steering committee like this at all CFO agencies.
  • The steering committee should ultimately help the CFO and the chief data officer make resourcing decisions based on the organization’s priorities.

Data Governance Advisory Group (DGAG)

  • The DGAG should consist of data practitioners and program implementers across the organization who have specific data needs.
  • The DGAG should aggregate agency data management and analytics needs and elevate to the DGSC for resourcing decisions.
  • The charter demonstrates the structure and purpose of the group in detail.


The office hour was seen as very valuable for all participants. Key feedback included:

  • “My questions were answered and the sharing of resources was very helpful.”
  • “It was a great overview on how to set up data governance with the right people and the right roles!”

June’s Data & Analytics Office Hours was inaugural and participant feedback will be included in any future session. Office hours and workshops are part of CoE’s new collection of Resources & Advisory Support.

To learn more about the Data Analytics Center, contact us or visit our Center page.

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