Kicking off your organization’s data governance implementation with an introductory meeting is an effective way to ensure stakeholder buy-in and set expectations for things to come. With the proper focus, this meeting can quickly lay the groundwork for the journey ahead.  That said, avoid the temptation to cover everything during this meeting and instead limit it to the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Primer on data governance  
  • Thoughts from the group
  • Establish meeting cadence
  • High level overview of plan + deliverables (time permitting)


At the start of the meeting take a few minutes to get each person’s thoughts about what data governance is and the impact they anticipate it will have on the organization. People have different ideas about what data governance is. Some will think of it as a technical project, others a business process, others something that is contained within an application, and others will think it is only going to be a pain in the butt. The first step to getting people aligned is learning where everyone is starting out.

Primer on data governance:

Once we learn the team’s initial perspective of data governance, it is time to put down a central definition and relate everyone’s individual definitions to that definition. DAMA shares a concise arrow diagram that defines and shows how governance fits into the data management landscape.  

This diagram is a fantastic tool to pull everyone's definition into something that the entire group can coalesce. From here, we can take the definition a half step deeper into data governance.

I have found it helpful to go through what data governance is and is not. How its purpose is to enable business outcomes and not limit activities, how it is a process and not a project and will require long term commitment from the organization to be successful. It takes a bit of dialogue, but if a group begins to recognize that data governance is more about organization change than just a thing to do, it will have been a successful meeting.  

Depending on the group and discussion, this might be all there is time for, and it would be fine to begin closing by establishing next steps and a meeting cadence (more on this below) so that you can maintain momentum without getting stuck at the scheduling step later.

Thoughts from the group:

If there is time left and the group is in good spirits, take a few minutes to get additional thoughts from the group about what they are looking to get out of data governance at their organization. Capture these initial thoughts and tie them to data governance implementation roadmap. Being able to tie back to these ideas later in the implementation will significantly boost engagement and help your team see the impact of their efforts.

Your team may be optimistic and share ideas around positive changes like better data quality and faster reporting. Call out and celebrate this! But your discussion will also include thoughts from those that are more resistant to change. Some folks might even share a negative outlook or express skepticism about the implementation having any impact on their day-to-day role. Even this “negative” idea is important. It will eventually be turned into a positive as it sets up further discussions on how to measure the impact governance is having on the organizations.  

High level overview of plan + deliverables (time permitting):

As the meeting ends, take a few minutes to tie the group's thoughts to the next activity or two. Tying thoughts to activities help build the urgency that this activity will generate positive results for the organization and keep people engaged to join the next discussion.

Establish a meeting time + Cadence:

Before the meeting is over, take 10 minutes to establish a suitable time and frequency for the group to meet. Schedule management could be the most difficult aspect of any project. Getting a commitment from group members to meet at a certain frequency while you have their attention is much more effective than doing the calendar hunt to find an open time. Once the time is set, send the meeting invite immediately.

Share a meeting follow up:

Sending a meeting summary is always great practice and sending one after the initial kickoff is of utmost importance. The summary will reinforce the importance, impact, and learnings that came out of your collaboratory meeting. The summary should include:

  • Materials that were covered
  • The team’s thoughts
  • Upcoming project schedule
  • Agreed upon meeting cadence
  • Issues resolved/outstanding
  • Next actions
  • Main topic for the next meeting - Identifying gaps/defining best practices