Data Contracts - The Book

Driving Data Quality with Data Contracts

A comprehensive guide to building reliable, trusted and effective data plaforms.

By Andrew Jones - Principal Engineer at GoCardless and the creator of data contracts, with a foreword by Kevin Hu, PhD, Co-founder and CEO of Metaplane.

Also available from, Packt,, Kobo, O’Reilly, Apple Books, and anywhere else you get your books!

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Data contracts

Data contracts is a new approach to building data platforms that finally deliver quality data consumers can build on with confidence, with explicit responsibility and accountability assigned to those who generate the data, and governance built in from the start. Everything you need to become a true data-driven organization.

I define a data contract as follows:

A data contract is an agreed interface between the generators of data and its consumers. It sets the expectations around that data, defines how it should be governed, and facilitates the explicit generation of quality data that meets the business requirements.

In the book I explain why this is important and how to achieve all of those with a data contract.

The book

This book will guide you through the problems with current data architectures before introducing data contracts, a step change in building a new type of data architecture. We'll then look at how data contracts drive a change in your data culture, and finish with practical advice on implementing a successful data platform built around data contracts.

Kind words from happy readers

"Driving Data Quality with Data Contracts provides a strong conceptual foundation for data contracts, and gives powerful tools for thinking about the practice of data contracts. The book progressively introduces complexity, interweaves real examples between explanations, and leaves the reader with opportunities to learn further.

Whether you're a data practitioner who is tired of being blamed for data quality issues or a business stakeholder who wants to promote data trust, this book is the gold standard for learning about data contracts."

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Kevin Hu, PhD Co-founder and CEO, Metaplane.

"Just finished Andrew Jones' excellent book on Data Contracts and it really is excellent - essential reading for anyone who's interested in better managing data, learning more about Data Contracts specifically or is already on their journey with Data Contracts."

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Yali Sassoon Co-founder and CPO,

"If you want to understand the history and evolution of data contracts and how using this way of working, you can provide more value from the Data platform and team. Check out this book."

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Chris Tabb Co-Founder & CCO, LEIT DATA

"The book is an easy and engaging read. I learned a lot about the history of data architecture and how we arrived at the data quality nightmare we are all facing today.

It benefits anyone who works with data and wants to understand practical ways to improve quality and governance."

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Andrew C. Madson Analytics Leader | Product Management @ LPL Financial

"Driving Data Quality with Data Contracts lives up to its ambitious subtitle as "A comprehensive guide to building reliable, trusted, and effective data platforms".

... Author Andrew Jones, credited with coining the term "data contract", addresses both technical and social/organizational aspects of data contracts and also includes a sample implementation."

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Peter O'Kelly user

"Data contracts have become a hot topic in data governance. Andrew is the expert on the topic and makes the concept accessible for everyone to understand. The book is well laid out and thoughtful. I appreciate the hard work that Andrew put into this book, as is shown in the content's clarity and detail.

Highly recommend for any data professional or leader who is associated with data quality."

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ANDY user

"This is an important book on how to practically achieve Data Quality for Data Engineers and Architects. There are major tides and currents roiling the data world and Andrew's pragmatic descriptions of cascading Data Contracts help connect the dots between Data Mesh's Data Products, Data Observability, Data Governance, and Data Quality.

Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the burning DQ leaves - this book helps give you the perspective you need."

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Gordon W. Hamilton user

"This book is a game-changer. Andrew Jones really simplified complex concepts, unveiled the power of Data Contracts, Observability, and Governance. A must-read for anyone serious about getting quality data and successful insights. Kudos to the author for demystifying data excellence."

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Mojeed Abisiga user

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The author

Hey 👋 I'm Andrew, a Principal Engineer at GoCardless, one of Europe's leading Fintechs. I have over 15 years' experience in the industry, with the first half primarily as a software engineer before moving into the data infrastructure and data engineering space.

I joined GoCardless as its first data engineer in 2017, and led a great team as we built out our data platform from scratch. After initially following a typical data architecture and getting frustrated with facing the same old challenges we've faced for years, I started thinking there must be a better way, which led to me creating and defining data contracts in 2021.

I'm a regular speaker and writer, and passionate about helping organizations get the most value from data (that's what it's all about, isn't it?!).

Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn, or follow my writing on Medium or my personal site.