5 Guiding Principles For Becoming a Data Steward

Enterprises create the data governance program to keep a close watch on their information management initiative. Stewardship is an important governance role that manages the quality and security of the assets. Becoming a data steward does not require any specific qualifications. Anyone who is closely associated with an element can assume the stewardship duties for that asset. However, many organizations are still unclear about how to appoint people for this role. Some feel that they need to hire new people to discharge these duties. Then there are other enterprises that choose only those users who possess IT skills. Both the practices are not totally correct and show that the businesses do not know about the exact nature of the position. An ideal steward is familiar with the item she is responsible for. Any additional skills like management and subject area knowledge can be gained through custom data steward training programs. Here are the major guiding principles for becoming a steward. These guidelines will help organizations in identifying suitable human resources for the role. 

1. Anyone Who Defines Or Uses Data Can Be A Steward

Instead of focusing on stewards, enterprises must concentrate on defining stewardship. There is a difference between the approaches. When they are fixated on appointing a person, they lose sight of the duty he/ she is going to fulfill. Organizations need to define stewardship with respect to each element. They need to understand that anyone who defines the relationship between a person and an asset can be a steward. This means that people who are using the element or a related application will be fit for the position. Users who are entrusted with the formal responsibility of defining a data set or running a process can also be asked to shoulder the stewardship duties.

2. An Existing Worker Should Become A Steward

Many businesses make the mistake of hiring new personnel to discharge these duties. This is an incorrect approach and is totally against the basic principle of stewardship. A steward is responsible for an asset and ensures that it remains consistent and error-free. It, therefore, becomes necessary to choose someone who is familiar with the element. Organizations have to realize that even though they did not have a governance program, some people were still fulfilling stewardship responsibilities. These users are ideal for the role as they know the character of the items and may have even defined them at various points of time. It will always be better to choose an existing worker for the position unless the situation demands the appointment of an external specialist.

3. Multiple Stewards Can Be Assigned To A Category

Some organizations make the mistake of appointing a single person as in-charge of all the elements belonging to a specific category or subject matter. This route should be adopted only when data domain stewards are being assigned duties. These professionals are given responsibilities that are across the different sections of the business. There can be multiple stewards who can be assigned to a specific category. Remember the first guiding principle of becoming a data steward, that has been outlined in this article. If a relationship can be defined between an item and a person, then that user can be designated as a steward. 

4. Stewardship Need Not Be A Specific Job Title 

What’s in a name? The Bard has said famously and rightly. Businesses do not need to create a new job title called data steward if an existing position is already meant for shouldering the same responsibilities. The important point is to define the accountability of users with respect to various elements. Organizations should allow human resources to retain their existing titles and focus on training them in discharging their duties in a better manner. In most instances, the people in question do not have to make any drastic changes in their approach and need to make only some minor adjustments. Creating a new position when there is no need to do so will only give rise to confusion and hamper efficiency. 

5. Formal Delegation Of Responsibility Must Be The Main Aim Of Training

As mentioned before, the existing personnel will be ideal for assigning the duties. Instead of hiring new resources, organizations must focus on enhancing the capabilities of existing ones. The data steward training program must focus on formally delegating the responsibility of key assets to the relevant people. Users who define an element must be told about the accountabilities associated with that specific item. Many persons will be having associations with multiple assets and in such cases, the users must be educated about the specific responsibilities that are linked to each asset. Businesses have to create custom training programs that are aligned with the unique nature of their assets.


Organizations need to know that becoming a data steward only requires a formal association with an asset. They must understand that they can find the best people to run their governance programs by looking inwards and not by searching externally. 

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