Taxonomy. Metadata. Governance. Usability.
As an information professional, you no doubt recognize these as the subjects of critical conversations that must take place as part of your enterprise information management (EIM) initiatives. And if you’ve been around the block at all, then you know there are no shortcuts to developing the needed consensuses about how things are to be categorized, labeled, protected, and accessed.
To the casual observer, reaching agreement in these areas sounds like no big achievement. But you and I both know that these conversations look an awful lot like negotiations as your various constituents seek to establish their opinions as company gospel. So it’s important to approach the exercise in a systematic and controlled way – a discovery that led a recent student of mine to exclaim, “Everything is a project!”
This realization is EIM’s dirty little secret, for relatively few understand its truth and fewer still act appropriately upon it. By this I mean that more organizations than not fail to appreciate the value of managing these tasks as projects unto themselves, and never formally undertake such tasks as:
- Form a steering committee
- Involve all stakeholders (or representatives thereof)
- Establish lines of authority and assign key responsibilities
- Develop metrics, timelines, and reporting mechanisms
- Document everything
- Communicate constantly
To be sure, being disciplined in these ways takes time and effort up front, and thus may intensify the inevitable pressures to show tangible results in the short term. But it also greatly increases the odds that your EIM project will exceed expectations over the long haul, and therefore is worth spilling the secret as early in the process as you can.