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Cultivate strong relationships to partner on solving mission problems with data.

Establish partnerships to realize quick wins - CDOs are most successful when they engage and influence key stakeholders. Your stakeholder engagement strategy should focus on forging relationships before zeroing in on data governance activities that may risk appearing solely compliance driven.

Key strategic actions

1.1 Identify your key stakeholders and learn how best to engage them in problem solving through collaborative working relationships.

1.2 Engage IT decision makers to build partnerships around data priorities.

1.3 Partner with stakeholders from across agency offices to collaborate on pilot projects that solve specific business problems.

1.4 CDOs should work with executive stakeholders to demonstrate how data and analytics initiatives address agency challenges.

1.5 Continuously engage with decisionmaking executives and other key stakeholders to continue value proposition discussions and the value of data. Agencywide representation and support gives a broader lens to the organizational drivers and constraints needed to make datarelated decisions.

1.6 Communicate to your entire workforce the progress, successes from your quick wins, and plans for building and delivering long-term capabilities for the agency.

1.1 Identify your key stakeholders and learn how best to engage them in problem solving through collaborative working relationships.

Key activities

  • Conduct a stakeholder analysis starting with leadership, then moving to agency or sub-agency offices. Key stakeholders should include a variety of levels of data expertise including agency data stewards with expertise in working with data as well as offices unaware of their data capabilities.

  • Interview stakeholders to identify their mission needs and challenges. Give them opportunities to voice their interests and priorities. Some example interview topics include priority questions, as well as data needs, acumen, access gaps, and opportunities, etc.

  • Use stakeholder needs to guide decisions about how to remove any relevant organizational obstacles related to data goals and identify potential project opportunities.

Common pitfalls

  • Do not just start with data governance for the sake of data governance, partner on key questions to drive value. CDOs can improve data governance and data quality as needed to meet agency goals.

1.2 Engage IT decision makers to build partnerships around data priorities.

Key activities

  • Actively engage with key IT partners to collaborate on planned IT projects where data transformation opportunities exist or to gain access to IT environments and tools needed for future data projects.

  • Develop understanding of the relationship between CDOs and Chief Information Officer (CIO) even where there is no direct reporting relationship.

  • Cultivate consensus with the CIO and other leaders on shared priorities. This common understanding is significant because of the interdependent nature of the two roles.

  • Build coalitions with key IT partners to seamlessly integrate into the IT investment and governance processes within your agency. IT and data priorities are connected and often share interdependent goals of generating increased business value.

  • Ensure you are aware of the types of planned and current IT investments and projects to prioritize key data activities. This strategic relationship building tactic demonstrates your ability to develop meaningful partnerships.

1.3 Partner with stakeholders from across agency offices to collaborate on pilot projects that solve specific business problems.

Successful small-scale projects or “quick wins” build the credibility needed to support longer-term goals.

Key activities

  • Deliver solutions quickly and communicate wins to demonstrate value to your agency to increase support and buy-in for your data vision.

  • Plan pilot projects such as data prototyping opportunities with interested agency offices to achieve fast results to make the case for data investment to executives.

  • Focus on the “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM) by having value conversations and asking if stakeholders see additional business opportunities so you can further ideate on solutions leveraging analytics capabilities.

Agency example

  • The CDO at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed Human Resources (HR) dashboards with consistent information data collected from 19 different component agencies. This quick win initiative demonstrated labor savings by moving away from siloed approaches, which ultimately led to confidence for more data projects and deployments in other mission areas.

1.4 CDOs should work with executive stakeholders to demonstrate how data and analytics initiatives address agency challenges.

Key activities

  • Conduct targeted discussions with key executive stakeholders to obtain their buy-in for your proposed data priorities and high-impact solutions.

  • Identify and prioritize solutions to your agency’s data challenges which connect to agency mission goals and manage time and risk.

  • Implement foundational initiatives, for example, developing data definitions and standards or more focused use cases to build more capabilities over time.

  • Review lessons learned from previous pilot projects to factor into your plans.

1.5 Continuously engage with decisionmaking executives and other key stakeholders to continue value proposition discussions and the value of data. Agencywide representation and support gives a broader lens to the organizational drivers and constraints needed to make datarelated decisions.

Key activities

  • Ensure executive sponsorship and support for your data priorities to build momentum and encourage investment to address data issues throughout your organization.

  • Conduct strategic discussions with a stated purpose and desired outcome, whether it is to inform, gain support, or ask for funding.

1.6 Communicate to your entire workforce the progress, successes from your quick wins, and plans for building and delivering long-term capabilities for the agency.

Key activities

  • Build organizational awareness through agency-wide communication that keeps employees interested in your agency’s data transformation journey.

  • Effectively communicate about data transformations, how to get involved, and share tools are available to build awareness and trust.

  • Anticipate questions from stakeholders on the value of working with the CDO.

Play 1 lesson learned

  • Identify data champions throughout the agency who demonstrate how they are leveraging data for better decisionmaking and improving overall data quality for their programs.

  • Prioritize the data analytics community as a key stakeholder, learn and understand their needs and identify ways to meet them.

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