Over the years, the importance of the availability and quality of data has only increased. This is also reflected in major migration processes in which Marcadus is involved. Colleague Alon Voet is happy to share his top three tips for tackling challenges with data governance preventively.
You probably recognize it: you are managing a project, you keep all the balls in the air and you have the overview. The preparation of reports runs smoothly, the scope is clear and the stakeholders and steering committee are informed structurally and efficiently. As icing on the cake, everything can be carried out within the agreed budget and timelines. While reading I can already hear you thinking: “Hello Alon, you are painting a utopian picture here. In practice, projects never run smoothly, something always comes up that is not foreseen.”
Unfortunately a hard truth. Every project manager has been confronted with a present from Pandora's box. This blog will not be comprehensive enough to address all the causes of this. I do, however, see a trend from my experience, which recurs in every project as a cause for inefficiencies. Namely, ad hoc data governance.
I am currently project leader for several projects in a large migration program. Within the program there are several large organizations that need to be linked in order to make progress, with each organization having its own policy with regard to data. In addition, the relevant organizations also have their own governance structure that determines how data should be handled, including how and where it is stored and sent, who has access to it, to what level and what actions can be performed on the data. These different ways in which data is handled is a major risk if it has to be combined within a project.
In the context of major migration processes, there are several tips that can help to tackle problems preventively. Here's my top three.
1. Anticipate the political landscape in good time
Within migration processes there are regularly competitors who have to work together within a project. This creates an interesting field of tension where it is not self-evident that all data may be shared with each other. This can form an obstacle if it is not anticipated in time. On the basis of the requested deliverables, make sure that you define with all parties what information is needed to bring everything to a successful conclusion. A clear definition in advance also ensures that the data request can be properly deployed within those organizations. Large organizations are often bound by their own internal data policy, which results in processes with a long lead time to get information to the surface. Incorrect or incomplete expectations can directly lead to project delays.
2. Provide one truth
The more stakeholders are involved in a project, the more complex it becomes to keep a grip on the data. It is essential to look at how different parties deal with data. Perhaps the data is not present or incomplete because the organization is set up in such a way that data is kept in a decentralized way and is therefore not uniform. How do you make sure everyone is looking in the same direction? How do you prevent companies from keeping their own administrations without coordinating them with other parties? Always ensure that one source of information is used to facilitate the processes with information. Consider this source as the so-called Golden Record, the data bible, something that cannot be annoyed. This can only be achieved with a clear master data management strategy.Be informed in good time about the availability and quality of data from the various sources. The sooner you detect the inconsistencies, the more time you have to set up a solution.
3. Protect your project against Cyber Security
Today, cyber security can be a significant factor in the availability of your stakeholders, especially in times of Corona. For example, some companies do not want to use Microsoft Teams, and only work with Google Meet. Other companies mainly use Teams but not Zoom etc. This can be quite blocking if you want to plan a progress meeting with all parties. Search together for a solution in which traditional telephony and modern 'call' software can possibly be combined.
The same goes for document management systems. Organizations often have very strict policies when it comes to exchanging sensitive data. As a project manager, try to keep an action, risk and issue list if not all stakeholders can view these documents. Here too, it is essential to test the policy of your stakeholders in a timely manner against your operational needs. It may be possible to engage an external party to safely guide this process.
In an immense migration process, it is inevitable that things will come out of Pandora's box. Always be aware of this and try to preemptively exclude bottlenecks instead of running after the facts. Prevention is better than cure.
Do you want to learn more about data governance and how it can help deliver projects on time and within budget? Then contact us!