Since I returned from my annual two-week sailing vacation, I’ve been thinking about how to tie some lessons learned on the trip to managing successful MDM initiatives.
Don’t Be Too Ambitious
Last year, we tried to cover too much ground.
This year, we deliberately sailed less and stayed in port longer. We covered about 200 nautical miles (instead of 250), but we were more rested and relaxed when we got back, and we enjoyed the trip more.
The lesson for your MDM initiatives: don’t start off with a pan-galactic, enterprise-wide vision. Start with a small but significant win that will give you a good master data foundation that you can build on, so that later, you can go after more domains of data and parts of the enterprise.
Stay On Course but Be Flexible
The weather was a bit challenging on this trip – just about every day had afternoon showers and thunderstorms. But we figured out that when an entire day of rain was forecast, that was a good day to stay in port and postpone leaving for the next harbor. It required a little flexibility in our itinerary, but it was much safer and more comfortable.
So make sure your MDM initiative can roll with the punches. You’re going to run into political battles, funding issues, delays, technical problems, you name it. But it’s “all in the attitude”. If you, as project leader or key team member, can stay positive and flexible, while remaining focused on the destination, your project is more likely to stay on track and you’ll enjoy it more.
Sail When You Can, Power When You Must
This year, I was more accepting than usual of using the engine when the wind wasn’t cooperating. There were several days when the wind was too light, or from the wrong direction. Normally, that would really bug me, but this year, I found it was no big deal.
In an MDM initiative, like most things in life, there are going to be parts you really enjoy, and parts you endure so you can get to the parts you enjoy. But try to learn from everything, and don’t begrudge the hard parts too much.
Building an MDM hub, integrating it with major source systems in your company, improving data quality, incorporating third party information, and creating a data governance function – these are all significant achievements, and you’ll look back later on the total journey (not just the fun parts) with pride.