Making a chief data officers playbook more accessible

And suggestions for the CDO Council.

Luke Fretwell 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).

Luke Fretwell is founder of GovFresh. He is the co-founder and CEO of ProudCity.


This work by GovFresh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Ideas, opinions, observations.

Screenshot of space photo of the day page on USA.GovFresh.

Civic hacking NASA (astronomy picture of the day)

Building a space photo of the day page using NASA's astronomy picture of the day API.

Luke Fretwell · November 3, 2022

Screenshot of Department of Interior page on USA.GovFresh.

Civic hacking the Federal Register

Building an executive branch agency list using the National Archives' Federal Register API.

Luke Fretwell · October 31, 2022

Screenshot of .gov search tool.

Civic hacking .gov domains

Building a simple .gov domain search tool with CISA open data.

Luke Fretwell · October 29, 2022



Thank you for supporting our work.



Stay updated.



Help make GovFresh better.