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Author's profile photo Ina Felsheim

How Project Management can Promote Information Governance in Companies

This blog is a summary of an ASUG webcast presented by David Zanotta, of SAP’s Data Management Organization.

First, let’s start by defining information governance. It is a management process that provides oversight to ensure successful execution of your data iniatiatves by establishing policies, standards, and objectives. It can be applied to one project, can be started with one data type, and can AND SHOULD be extended to additional projects.

But how do you know which aspects of information should be governed?


Project management involvement

How do you get this done? Project management needs to get some education early on. Also, project management needs to building in information governance aspects (like process engineering workshops) into their project plans. Finally, Quality Gate reviews of project lifecycle phases needs to run by Information Review Boards.

The first step is to educate early and often. During Initiation, stakeholders should learn about objects and scope definition via a workshop. This workshop is when the stakeholders should be made aware of the information governance program and components. Capabilities include standards and rules that govern information, the process engineering that enhance the quality of data. For example, creating a new data field may require a Data Leader’s approval. Knowing the data standard for content of a particular data field also must be communicated.


At SAP, we have Data Leaders, Data Managers, Data Councils, and Process Leaders spread around the globe. The project stakeholders need to know they exist and plan for them. Specific attention to activities like data scope are critical.


The main components are summarized below:

  • Data Scope: Understand which data will be a key part of this initiative. Identify what you will do with the data. Read only or Updated? There must be awareness of the CRUD policies by the project team, including when they can manipulate the data according to the information governance policies. The project team should also investigate if existing business rules can be used before creating a new rule—which of course, you’d do according to your information governance policies. Make sure you are measuring the results and understanding the ownership of the key data elements and processes.
  • Reviews: Internal project reviews are necessary, including status updates of information governance tasks. Data Steering committees validate or suggest project changes. Cross-Line of Business Data Management Councils also help make decisions when project cross Lines of Business.
  • Measured Value: Key Performance Indicators should be established early, as part of the business case development process. Benefits management systems need to be established and monitored by the project management team, so they can revise estimates and track value. Take both initial measurements and operational run measurements.

Project teams need to understand that KPIs measure how well you are meeting a goal, where a benefit can many times be a financial measured outcome, based on KPIs.

Measurements and KPIs

In defining your KPIs and benefits, make sure to address the following items.


To identify KPIs, you’ll need a methodical thought process that are SMART. They also need to be classified.


Types of classification vary depending on what you are trying to achieve. If you are selling a product, you’ll use revenue KPIs, for example.

So how to ensure that you’ll meet the KPIs? First, meet with the project stakeholders to identify and categorize. Make sure you agree and obtain approval.

Then, make sure there is a system to measure the benefits against the KPIs.

Why is it important to get agreement? Without the project team support, you’ll be left wondering how to measure the benefits. Without project management ownership, it will be extremely hard to measure these benefits. Define the As-Is and To-be state, including documenting the assumptions going into the project.

Once all the details are ironed out, you need a formal agreement which includes the data KPIs and benefits. This helps you capture the benefits of the information governance program.

To do all of this, you need a measurement methodology. Will you use quantitative or qualitative measurements? Are the measurements attainable?


Once the project deploys, the project team should take initial measurements to capture any changes or modifications to the methodology or algorithms.


Once the Operational Run team takes over, the KPIs and benefits identified during the project need to be continually measured. This should be lead by the business process owner. Benefits can be realized for multiple years, so don’t just do it once.


Organizational Change Management (OCM)

There are 5 OCM activities that support information governance.

  • Stakeholder identification: (business sponsors, end users, operations run support for business and IT, and project team members)
  • Communications: Email is not sufficient. Identify who, what, how, and the frequency of these communications, making reference to how they are adhering to the data policies)
  • Testing: Provides the first look for stakeholders on how the data will behave. Use a copy of a subset of the production data in the testing environment to ensure an accurate comparison.
  • Training: Expose audiences to the aspect of information governance in the context of training of the project deliverable. Validate audience understanding using scenarios or demonstrations.
  • Deployment and adoption: At the start, provide a data standards checklist to augment formal training. Measure data quality to gauge the adoption of policies and standards.

Use of the OCM methodology and deliverables in your project are key.

Quality Gates are also known as Q-Gates. They validate the expectations are met at key phases in the project. Integrate data questions into the Q-Gate checklist, like below.


Information Review Board

Whether formal or informal, this panel of data management experts is responsible for review and inspection of information governance activities.


To simplify inspection process, use questions like the ones below at each Q-Gate. The project manager has to fill these out at each Q-Gate, and the information governance experts review.


The overall intent is to ensure that project teams are following the policies and standards defined.

Thanks for sharing this great information, David! Are you using the Project Management Office to help further your information governance initiatives? Let us know, or ask David specific questions at

Related blogs on SAP’s Data Governance program:

Information Governance Maturity Models: Quick and Easy

How Project Management can Promote Information Governance in Companies

OneSAP for Data Quality

Information Governance Tips + Tricks from a Practitioner

Creating a data culture in your company: What you should know about Information Governance you learned in pre-school

Walking the Walk: SAP and Information Governance

Information Steward 4.2 in Practice: How SAP’s Data Management Organization Uses Information Steward

SAP’s Internal Information Governance Program: Business Value Metrics Framework

Avoiding data corruption during mergers and acquisitions: A story from SAP’s Data Governance Organization

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      Author's profile photo Andreas Zusann
      Andreas Zusann

      Thanks, for this overview of conceptional and helpful topics ... very nice post 🙂