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When It Comes to Data Quality Delivery, the Soft Stuff is the Hard Stuff (Part 3 of 6)

In my previous post I discussed effective stakeholder management and communications as a key enabler of successful data quality delivery. In this blog, I will discuss the importance of demonstrated project management fundamentals.

Large-scale, complex enterprise Data Quality and Data Management efforts are characterized by numerous activities and tasks being performed iteratively by multiple resources, across multiple work streams, with high volume units of work (i.e. dozens of source systems and data objects, hundreds of tables, thousands of data elements, hundreds of thousands of data defects and millions of records). Without the means to effectively define, plan and manage these efforts, success is nearly impossible.

Thankfully, there are many recognized paths to attaining and developing solid project management skills; certification from an industry recognized organization like the Project Management Institute (PMI), a degree from an accredited university, formal on the job training, etc. Yet, one of the more common pitfalls continues to be the belief that smart people, common sense, regular meetings and a spreadsheet are adequate to effectively manage a project or a portfolio. However, one glance at any project management manual or text book, or a quick spin through any formal project management framework is all that it should take to convince even the biggest skeptic that there is much more to project management. Take PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) for example. Within PMBOK, there are 9 discrete knowledge areas covering everything from scoping to quality assurance to risk management to financial controls, and each of these knowledge areas demands specific skills, practices and techniques to be effectively performed. Without a formal project management structure, rigorous discipline, and appropriately skilled resources, even small work efforts can spiral out of control when seemingly minor issues and challenges quickly accumulate and lead to missed deadlines and blown budgets. And when you multiply these “minor” issues and challenges across an entire portfolio, the impact can be disastrous. So the next time you’re looking to cut a few corners, think twice about underwhelming project management – it will likely come back to bite you.

In my next post I will discuss the importance of grasping basic business financial concepts to enable effective Data Quality delivery. Stay tuned.

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