How to develop data governance leaders in the law sector (Case Study)


One of the Law Firms we worked with to develop a Data Governance Roadmap was in a great position to deliver it because we had helped them identify a data governance lead from the internal stakeholders we interviewed.

All the stakeholders were excited that she was willing and able to take on the role. The challenge was that while this person had the right skills, credibility, experience of projects and change within the Firm, and a passion for getting data right, they needed to gain experience creating and leading a data governance capability. Because this was a new role in a new organisational capability, there wasn’t any internal support available to them.

Iron Carrot’s ‘Grow-Your-Own Expert’ Programme

CJ from Iron Carrot had worked with them to develop the Foundation Roadmap and to identify the Data Governance Lead. The Business Sponsor agreed that Iron Carrot’s Grow-Your-Own Expert programme would let the new Data Governance Lead benefit from CJ’s skills and experience via 1-to-1 support, developing their inexperienced Data Governance Lead into a Data Governance super-star.

Train, Mentor, and Coach

If a Firm does not have the in-house skills, Iron Carrot can go beyond an initial handover of the Data Governance Foundation Roadmap and use its experience to train, mentor, and coach new Data Governance Leads.

This supports firms in implementing their data governance roadmaps in several ways. It’s essential to think about the needs of your data governance lead and the supporting team to help identify what kind of support would best help them over time.

Step 1 Understanding the Data Governance Lead

Before a support plan could be wrapped around them, we needed to understand what they wanted to learn and how they saw their role developing. There are three different approaches to support; it was essential to know how that person wanted to be helped and not just guess based on what the Business Sponsor thought would work to deliver the Foundation Roadmap.

Step 2 Building the plan

By working closely with the Data Governance Lead and the Business Sponsor and using the delivery of the Data Governance Foundation Roadmap as the first 12 months of activities, we developed a phased support plan of training, mentoring, and coaching, which was very hands-on in the first few months, tapering off to fortnightly meetings in the last few months and ongoing.

Step 3 Training

Training means teaching skills and knowledge related to specific valuable competencies to improve someone’s capability, capacity, productivity, and performance.

As well as providing ‘just in time’ short formal training sessions to fill immediate knowledge gaps, which enabled the Data Governance Foundation Roadmap to start, CJ recommended some self-paced informal learning from appropriate books, videos, and professional memberships. The topics covered were data governance-specific and general business skills ranging from the purpose and objectives of data governance to leadership and influencing skills.

Step 4 Mentoring

Mentoring is sharing knowledge, experience, and skills to help someone develop their career. As CJ has designed and supported the implementation of many data governance foundation roadmaps and has experience in creating and growing new organisational capabilities, she has a wealth of knowledge to draw from in supporting a new Data Governance Lead.

In this case, the focus was on implementing the firm’s foundation roadmap, so weekly meetings were set up so that the new Data Governance Lead could draw on that expertise to get things done. Over the first year, this moved from doing it together, then providing support to the Data Governance Lead, to the Lead doing it themselves and only helping them where they asked for that help.

Step 5 Coaching

When the Data Governance Lead was more comfortable in their role and starting to make plans for the firm’s data governance capability, which went beyond the foundation roadmap, they didn’t want to lose the support of CJ’s expertise, so the relationship moved into a coaching relationship, where CJ was helping the Data Governance Role to correctly set a goal and find the best way to achieve the goal with a focus on here-and-now problems.

This was on an as-needed basis rather than a regular, scheduled catch-up.


  • Confident and Expert Data Governance Lead

By working closely with the Data Governance Lead and Business Sponsor to identify and fill skills and experience gaps quickly and in context, the firm met its data objectives and began to grow an internal firmwide capability.

  • Senior, influential Data Governance Lead

Using a combination of training, mentoring, and coaching over a 2-year timeframe helped give the Data Governance Lead the time and confidence to take over implementing the Data Governance Foundation Roadmap and the skills and support to plan what to do next.

  • Operational Data Governance Framework

Using the operational Data Governance Framework implementation as a practical step for framing the learning and development of the Data Governance Lead meant that upskilling and implementation could happen in parallel.

The firm could capitalise on the momentum and engagement of the data governance foundation roadmap processes and didn’t lose any time between the appointment of the Data Governance Lead and the implementation start.

  • Plan for beyond the Foundation Roadmap

Because the Data Governance Lead was supported to understand not just the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the Data Governance Foundation Roadmap but also the ‘why’, they were better prepared to undertake their own planning process to take the firm’s data governance capability beyond the roadmap.


By working with the new Data Governance Lead and empowering them to contribute to their support programme, they were much more engaged and committed to making the most out of the support offered.

The blended approach enabled the firm to keep up the momentum and deliver an operational Data Governance Framework while giving the Data Governance Lead the time and confidence to take over implementing the Data Governance Foundation Roadmap and the skills and support to plan what to do next.


Creating a new Centre of Excellence by re-deploying existing staff into new roles is a great way to accelerate the execution of your roadmap. New Data Governance Leads will need support to learn and share skills which may be new to them—and this is not always available in-house.

Iron Carrot supports your data governance team by sharing their knowledge, expertise, and experiences to upskill through formal and informal learning opportunities. We also offer mentoring and career development for new or junior Data Governance team members, allowing you to ‘grow your own’ experts.

Would you like some help with data governance at your organisation?

Innovative organisations have big goals for improving the client experience through data innovation. The problem is that many organisations struggle with a lack of data maturity and alignment between their strategic objectives and the siloed reality of their data.

We have developed a unique data governance road-mapping solution to help business leaders launch the proper foundation for data governance through our extensive data governance and information management background.

Our five-step road mapping process quickly helps law firms create a complete framework and plan for assuring the governance and quality of its data to realise the strategic goals.