Project communication

Do great things and talk about it – How to effectively communicate your data management project

Implementing a data management project requires organizational change. New roles need to be implemented, and existing processes need to be adapted. Most importantly, the way employees think about and use data needs to change. One of the key success factors for effective change is communication. Unfortunately, data management professionals tend to neglect the role communication plays when it comes to implementing projects. They do great things, but they don’t talk about it (or at least not enough). But what are proven practices of successfully communicating data management initiatives?

  • Run a good website on your company’s intranet. First of all, the site should inform about the basic objectives of your project. It should also give an overview of the roles related to data management and provide a list of contacts. In addition, you may run a blog on the Internet informing about your latest data management activities (e.g., the results from the latest data management implementation sprint) and providing interesting links to other websites. But always make sure your most recent entry is not from 2016! Another way of capturing the attention of your fellow employees is to place a link to your site with the policies and guidelines for data creation and maintenance.
  • Make videos and put them on your intranet site. Videos are great to get your message across. Make sure people speaking in your videos use simple language and avoid technical jargon.
  • Present your initiative in various meetings. Getting a slot in the annual CFO meeting or taking part in meetings of your marketing or supply chain colleagues is another great way to spread the word about your initiative. What helps is to have a general marketing slide deck for your activities that you can tailor to the specific audience (your colleagues from the marketing department will probably be interested in your activities regarding customer data quality, whereas the guys from the procurement department certainly find your ideas about vendor master data more interesting).
  • Use a communication plan. This does not have to be a lengthy document. In fact, it can be a one-pager listing what topics you want to communicate to which key stakeholders when, how often, and over which channels.

 

From our experiences, the following instruments can be considered not very effective:

  • Newsletters: We often hear from firms that they stopped using this instrument after only a few issues. The problem is that the number of readers mostly is too small, as a single-subject newsletter may be too specific. As a consequence, the time and effort required to write the articles often is hard to justify. A good alternative is to publish two or three articles on data management in the general company newsletter or the company magazine each year. These are definitely read by more people.
  • Giveaways: Giveaways (e.g., flyers, posters, mousepads, or pens) are still very frequently used. Whether this instrument is really suitable for raising awareness of the subject is questionable though.

Always remember: Don’t just do great things, also talk about what you are doing!

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