Draft Federal Data Strategy Too ‘Unwieldy’ to Implement, Stakeholders Say
Critics of the forthcoming Federal Data Strategy have faulted it for being unwieldy and overly difficult for end users to understand. According to one policy analyst, “the current draft has 47 practices organized around five objectives, 10 principles and six lifecycle steps. The result is an unwieldy three-dimensional framework that is so difficult to comprehend that I had to stop and create a reference graphic so that I could keep up with what I was reading.” The MITRE Corporation has recommended simplifying the massive effort into a single-page reference document with fewer data practices organized into a simpler set of focus areas. Regarding the broader picture, a MITRE executive argued that “Data governance is fundamental, for example, versus analytics, which is added value.” A data strategy must therefore provide agencies with a clear set of principles they must follow while avoiding overly-specific prescriptive rules that could create conflict and misapplication in different contexts. More important than a long, complex policy is a product that serves the end user (citizen, civil servant, etc.) and is produced with the end user in mind. The Federal Data Strategy working team is still accepting comments on the policy at Strategy.data.gov, and is holding forums with federal employees to gain additional input from federal agencies.