“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Shakespeare penned these words as a metaphor for life (Macbeth, Act V, Scene V), but they relate equally well to information governance in that organizations often spend more time arguing over the particulars than actually doing much about them.
This may be understandable – to a point – because it’s absolutely true that information governance requires a constant blending of a number of uncomfortable uncertainties:
It’s also absolutely true that sensible decision-making requires constant communication between and among all affected parties, including at minimum:
Line of business workers.
But it’s absolutely NOT true that all the discussions and negotiations have to be completed before action can be taken.
In fact, these conversations should NEVER be completed given that the volume of information to be governed is constantly growing, and the nature of that information (context, format, medium, etc.) is constantly changing.
So what do you do? And what do you do first? To answer, let me turn to a metaphor of my own and refer you to secret family recipes whose particulars were guarded to the end by ethnic grandmothers everywhere. Meaning, I can’t provide you with every detail here or the secret would be out! But I can at least share some key ingredients to give you a sense of the final flavor.
Talk to people about the information they need, use, can’t find, etc.
Listen to the answers and ask followup questions about context, process, collaborators, etc.
Compile the responses and identify overlaps, contradictions, disconnects, workarounds, etc.
Validate your observations with those same people, being sure to note additional inputs.
These are all things you can do, even informally, even if the aforementioned sound and fury is still raging all around you. The benefit is that you’ll have collected some practical intelligence to feed that maw when the time comes, and thereby help it to signify something sooner rather than later.