Included as part of the Federal Data Strategy, are a series of actions to create the foundation that will support the implementation of the strategy over the next decade. One of the actions, Action 3, is to Assess Data and Related Infrastructure Maturity. Specifically, “agencies will should conduct an initial maturity assessment focusing on data and related data infrastructure (e.g., organizational structures and knowledge bases, policies) to set a baseline for future improvements.”
In September 2021, the Peace Corps contracted Xentity to help advance Action 3.
Problem and Solution
As the Federal Data Strategy 2020 Action Plan states:
“Maturity assessments allow an organization to evaluate itself against documented best practices, determine gaps, and identify priority areas for improvement. A maturity assessment analyzes all aspects of agency policies, procedures, and operations related to data and data infrastructure, including data governance, data management, data culture, data systems and tools, data analytics, staff skills and capacity, resource capacity, and compliance with law and policy. The results of a maturity assessment feed into the data governance and management processes to inform investment decisions and to prioritize subsequent actions.”
The Peace Corps sought a baseline federal sector data governance training and data maturity assessment to help advance its data governance program. Xentity pursued a number of activities in furtherance of this requirement.
- Conducting two comprehensive federal sector data governance training workshops, for 25 Enterprise Data Governance Council (EDGC) members to create a common baseline knowledge and communicate the importance of this program. The training helped the EDGC understand the Federal Government Data Maturity Model and customize it to the Peace Corps’ needs, as specified in this Statement of Work. The training also included a section on U.S. laws and regulations. It applies to federal agency data governance and actions for OPEN DATA Act compliance.
- Conducting a pre-data maturity assessment information session for up to 25 EDGC members and up to 60 data stewards (“Data Governance Stakeholders”). This information session communicated how an assessment could benefit them and the importance of their input.
- Conducting a data maturity assessment. The data maturity model was built on the framework established by the Federal Data Maturity Model (FDMM). The model provides a systematic structure to view and assess overall maturity in data management and governance practices. It is divided into six swim-lanes or dimensions that reflect the different components of data use, management and governance. The six dimensions of the FDMM and, consequently the Peace Corps model, are Analytics, Culture, Management, Personnel, Systems/Technology, and Governance. Each of these dimensions includes various elements to reflect how an agency may advance in maturity within the individual dimension. Over 90 Peace Corps staff completed the data maturity assessment survey. This survey queried respondents about their perceptions of the different elements within each maturity dimension.
- Conducted analysis of the raw data and synthesize
- Delivered final report on the results of the assessment which discussed findings and themes that cut across the maturity dimensions. Also, findings in each dimension and recommendations for closing any gaps in each dimension based upon the assessment.
Outcome and Benefit
The federal data strategy is a 10-year vision “for how the Federal Government will accelerate the use of data to deliver on mission, serve the public, and steward resources while protecting security, privacy, and confidentiality.” Xentity successfully implemented all requirements noted above. They have also helped The Peace Corps advance its data governance program and action 3 under the Federal Data Strategy. With 50 recommendations from short to long term, Xentity has helped advance the Federal Data Strategy vision. The work under this contract was a true collaborative effort – a true partnership with incredible Peace Corps leadership support.