Questions to answer¶
The following questions are useful to answer before starting down the standardisation process.
- What is this standard trying to achieve?
- Is there existing data?
- Is the data open?
- Is there an existing community around this issue or data?
- What are the priority goals of standardisation? (good practice, interoperability... etc. )
Building a team¶
There are many roles involved in developing and maintaining a standard. At the early stages of a standard one individual may play more than one role, and in later stages, many roles remain overlapping, or are part-time or ad-hoc.
Some of the roles include:
- Project lead - maintaining relationships and communication with different stakeholders, and the balance between supply-side and demand-side considerations in the development of a standard.
- User researcher - facilitating dialogue with potential users of published data, and with data owners, to understand, document and champion their needs.
- Data analyst - reviewing pre-standard data to identify opportunities for standardisation, and analysing draft and published data for quality assurance and learning.
- Standard architect - designing the overall shape of the standard, establishing data structures, selecting schema languages, data patterns, validation and quality evaluation approaches, and identifying tools required alongside the standard.
- Schema author - translating agreed data structures and fields into a schema language, and coordinating work to define fields and relationships. Also working on standard extensions where applicable.
- Documentation author - writing technical and user-focused documentation, creating worked examples, and developing training resources.
- Designer - creating visual elements to support documentation and training around the standard.
- Developer - creating and implementing tools for maintaining a Single Source of Truth, managing documentation, performing data validation, and supporting standard adoption.
- Translation manager & translators - creating glossaries, arranging translation, and carrying out translations.
- Governance lead - coordinating the process of standard updates.
- Community manager(s) - engaging with technical and policy communities, supporting tool-building, documenting implementation case studies, ensuring community input into standard development.
- Implementation and helpdesk manager - making sure implementers have their queries addressed promptly, monitoring the quality of implementation and focussing on health of the overall ecosystem of data sharing and use.
- Helpdesk analysts - providing training and support to implementers and users, performing data quality assurance.
In our experience, standard development benefits from creative tension between team members playing different roles. For example, getting the right balance between simply usability of a dataset, and the accuracy and nuance of the data, will benefit from open discussion and negotiation between team members, each acting as a champion of different points of view.
We can help
The Open Data Services team work in partnership with a range of organizations to deliver or support many of the roles above.
Get in touch to find out how we could help you: our services.