Over the next several months, I will be discussing the key tasks in each of the five fundamental phases of a project plan to build a meta data repository: orientation, feasibility, design, construction and rollout. Some of you may be thinking that these are the same phases used for all of their information technology (IT) projects. That observation is correct. A meta data repository project has the exact same phases as any other IT project, but there are some subtle changes.

The orientation phase is the first phase of the meta data repository's life cycle. The goal is to ensure that key people in the company understand the fundamental concepts of meta data and the value of a meta data repository. If, however, the key people understand meta data and its value and are likely to allocate funds to the project, this phase can be skipped as its objectives have already been met. This situation rarely occurs because most companies are still discovering meta data's essential value. The orientation phase also gives the project manager or project champion the opportunity to sell the meta data concept to the executives in the company. This is almost always necessary before any funding is allocated. This is why the orientation phase needs to occur before the feasibility phase.

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