Master Data Management Best Practice #6 – A Long Term Program, Not a Short Term Project

Long Term Program

Today, we’re going to resume our series on Master Data Management Best Practices. Here are the earlier articles in the series:

  1. Start with the Need, Pain or Problem (Not “The Solution”)
  2. Active, Involved Executive Sponsorship
  3. Emphasize the Organizational Change Management Aspects
  4. The Business Has To Own MDM and Data Governance
  5. Use Your Best Project Managers and People

MDM Best Practice #6 is to think of MDM and data governance as long term programs, not a short term projects.

Start by understanding and describing your current state – where you’re starting from. Then define your “to be” or future state, and analyze the gaps between the current and future states, and how to close them.

Work with the business owners to break the project to close those gaps up into a series of discrete, manageable phases, much as a software company will have a series of releases of functionality in their successive versions of their software over a period of years.

Spend some quality time planning – the time you invest will be repaid many times over. I recommend spending up to 15% – 25% of the total initiative in planning. Don’t forget, you’ll be breaking down silos and coordinating across multiple lines of business, functional areas, channels, geographies, and so on – and sometimes, these areas you’ll be coordinating won’t like one another very much. So you’ll want to allow for plenty of time to plan what will probably end up being a complex, multi-year effort involving a balanced initiative composed of both data governance organization and process and MDM technology implementation.

The other thing to keep in mind is that MDM is never truly “over” – you may reach a plateau or “steady state”, but there will always be master data coming into the company that will have to be cleansed, matched, merged, synchronized, published, analyzed and utilized. And there will always be more you can do – higher levels on the MDM maturity model scale that you can help your organization achieve.

So plan for an MDM “way of life” that continues on, much like Finance or Sales continue on, not a project that “goes live” and then is over.

Please let us know – in the comments here or in the forums on the MDM Community – how your organization deals with the long term nature of MDM and data governance.

The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #7 – Create a Data Governance Organization and Processes

Tags: , , , , , ,


  1. Master Data Management Best Practice #5 – Use Your Best Project Managers and People « Hub Designs Blog - 10/18/2010

    […] Master Data Management Best Practice #4 – The Business Has To Own MDM and Data Governance Master Data Management Best Practice #6 – A Long Term Program, Not a Short Term Project &… One Comment leave one […]

  2. Ten Best Practices for Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration « Hub Designs Blog - 11/03/2010

    […] Build your processes to be ongoing and repeatable, supporting continuous improvement: As mentioned above, data governance is a long term proposition.  I still run into a lot of people […]

%d bloggers like this: