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Hacking the chief data officers playbook

Making it more accessible, and suggestions for the CDO Council.

By Luke Fretwell · January 14, 2022

At the beginning of 2022, the U.S. Chief Data Officers Council published a playbook to help CDOs “lead data-driven transformation” within their agencies.

What struck me as odd – especially coming from an organization that should always default to an open, data-driven approach to everything it does – was that the playbook itself came in only one format: A very unstructured, inaccessible, proprietary PDF.

Disappointed by this, I built a web-based version (repository) to make it more accessible to everyone.

Recommendations to the CDO Council

In the future, I hope the CDO Council – and every government agency – publishes information like this in open, accessible and, ideally, machine-readable formats. My hope is that my version of the CDO playbook, while not perfect, is an example of how to do this.

I also would like to see the CDO Council add RSS functionality to its website (as a data-driven approach to sharing updates). While a seemingly trivial point, the federal government desperately needs a simple, standard strategy for publishing information, particularly blogs and news, in a more API-like format.

Other suggestions for the CDO Council:

  • Move the playbook to a public repository, as a living document that others can re-purpose or contribute to (similar to the Digital Services Playbook).
  • Add a fifth play focused on privacy/security.
  • Strongly recommend all federal agencies have an RSS strategy.
  • Strongly recommend an end to government use of PDFs (unless they are accompanied by an open alternative).