Data governance personas: Incorporate the voice of users

Thought leadership
Data Governance Personas

Knowing your Data Governance Center users, their goals, and needs makes for a better product. It clarifies to everyone in the product team who we are creating a certain feature for, why that is important, and what to pay attention to. At Collibra, we capture and share this essential information about user goals, needs, and skills using 16 Collibra user personas.

The UX & product team has been growing and fine-tuning our collection of data governance user personas. These personas are our tool to capture and share the knowledge and understanding we have about your data governance users throughout Collibra. We’re committed to building a product and features that focuses more and more on the business users’ needs, and that takes their goals, needs and skills into account. Our data governance user personas represent these ‘requirements’ throughout the product design process.

Discover how Collibra’s data quality and governance solutions helped Cambia Health Solutions deliver the right data at the right time and place. Read their customer story now and see how we can help your healthcare organization.

What do you need to know about personas?

Product personas are an important part of the user experience design toolkit. They create empathy and design focus by capturing user goals, current behavior, and pain points or challenges.

A persona represents multiple users
It is important to know that even though a persona is depicted as a specific person, it does not represent one – a single – user. A persona represents a subset of your users by synthesizing their needs and behaviors.
A persona does not equal a product role or permission
Neither does a persona represent a single product role or product permission. Just like you do, a persona wears different hats and roles – business steward, issue manager, subject matter expert, and more – depending on what part of our product they are in, or what asset they are using.
Personas are a medium for collecting and sharing knowledge about WHO we are creating the product for.
The Collibra user personas are a medium for collecting and sharing knowledge. And that helps us communicate and summarize research trends and patterns throughout Collibra. They ensure a common understanding of our users, and when designing, building, and testing a feature, show us who we are creating a feature for, and who not to focus on.
User personas help us gain the user perspective, enable empathy, and to see through their eyes.
User personas also help us determine what to design. Personas make it possible to gain a user’s perspective, and when a design choice is made, we do so with the persona’s goals and needs in mind. We can more easily identify edge cases, and avoid self-referential design.
Personas should be looked at in the context of their teams.
In enterprise tools, most product- and workflows are team-based. We should avoid working from a single persona hypothesis, and when working on a feature, look at the personas in context of their team.
A persona is not always the ideal user.
Personas are not ’ideal’ users. They come with their own paint points and challenges, which we need to take into account when designing and developing. This can range from having an overfull calendar, having data governance as an additional task, or working remotely, to our accessibility requirements (Section 508 & WCAG 2.0) which are integrated in the personas.


The Collibra Data Governance User Personas

A persona’s essential elements are captured on a 1-pager. We make these available to the product, development, support, and other teams through an interactive website.

Each persona also gets assigned a ‘godfather’ or ’godmother’ within Collibra. This is a person who relates closely to the user base represented by the persona. He or she becomes the go-to person to answer in-depth questions about their day-to-day job and needs.

Each of our customers has their own data governance team structure, based on data governance maturity, their industry, and the data governance initiative stakeholders. That is why our personas will have different organization charts depending on the use case (eg. GDPR, which requires their own responsibilities matrix) or application (eg. data catalog).

The Persona Organization

Data Governance User Persona Organization (March 2013)

This is an organization chart for our persona team. As you can see, the personas are still hiring: our core data governance team is very much understaffed, and Anita (Enterprise Data Steward) and Victoria (Implementation Partner) feel like they are – between the two of them – doing four jobs.

Based on feedback at the Collibra User Meetup Brussels, we are developing Samir, the Solution Architect. Samir is quickly becoming an expert at building Collibra Connect integrations and workflow set-up using a BPMN 2.0 workflow editor. Another persona, Frank, who consumes most of the data governance information through his company’s intranet portal, was added based on feedback received at the March London meetup.  Frank does not know about your data governance initiative, so you need to bring the governed data to him. He illustrates the importance of a great API and a straightforward UI and search.

John Fisher, 100% Steward

You might recognize John Fisher and others in the ‘persona team’ from Collibra University. We are aiming to align the personas company wide – building a common lexicon to talk about our different types of users.

John is a master jedi fighting the evil empire of conflicting definitions and duplicate business terms. He has great communication skills, and is always available to give a hand to others and to make sure all definitions are in place and kept up to date.

While John Fisher is not part of the official Data Governance Office, he’s 110% dedicated to being a steward, and is part of what we call the ‘virtual data governance team.’ He is one of those people who spends most of his full time job caring for data, its governance, and its quality.

Meet the Collibra Data Governance User Personas at Data Citizens ‘17

We are constantly fine-tuning and expanding our data governance user personas based on internal and customer feedback. Currently, we are validating the personas through the Collibra User Participation Program (sign up here) and at our user meetups.

The whole persona team will also be traveling to the Data Citizens ‘17 conference, where they will be available for you to review. The product management and user experience team will be there to collect your suggestions for improvement. We would also love to hear your ideas. How could your organization use these data governance user personas to improve your data governance program?

Image credits: CC BY 2.0 – By Hélène, and Victoria. By Vince Crabeo William.

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