Q

Four must-have master data management project skills

There are four important master data management project skills needed for MDM projects and development efforts. Discover what they are and learn about MDM job roles and responsibilities in this tip.

I've heard you say that master data management (MDM) projects require special skills. We are looking to move people from other IT areas over to the MDM project. Are there any specific areas we should focus on first?
The answer to your question depends on the scope of your MDM development effort. A so-called "bottom up" MDM project in which the solution addresses a very narrow, but high-profile business effort will require fewer skills than an enterprise-wide effort targeting customer master data.

Having said that, there are four project skill categories you should focus on for MDM:

  1. Program or project management skills. A unique brand of project manager needs to manage up, communicating status and time-to-value to business sponsors and stakeholders. She also needs to manage down, making sure the development team is on-budget, and on-track.
  2. Hub development and configuration skills. A set of developers familiar with the MDM product will be charged with delivering it.
  3. Source system data knowledge. Knowledge of source systems and their data is key to the effective on-boarding onto the hub.
  4. Data governance and management skills. This can be a combination of data quality expertise, data stewardship, in which key stewards understand data lineage and usage, and data modeling.

These categories don't count business sponsors and subject matter experts who may be called to explain certain data or justify its formats and usage. They'll keep their day jobs but will be in demand when it comes to requirements. Also, the number of people in each of these categories will vary with the size and scope of your MDM effort, and will change as MDM matures in your company.

If you need more detail, our CDI book has a complete list of MDM job roles and their descriptions. Shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you that list. Meantime, just remember the following: not every skill on an MDM project is brought to bear at the same time!

This was first published in May 2009

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