This column is the final installment of the five fundamental phases of a project plan to build a meta data repository. This month we will complete the rollout phase.

The rollout phase is the final step of the meta data repository development effort. Three key tasks occur during this phase (see Figure 1). First, and most importantly, the repository is rolled into production and is accessible to both its technical and business users (Task ID 5.1). Second, the meta data repository team, the project champion and key executive management conduct a post-implementation review to compare the meta data repository with the objectives of the original project scope document (Task ID 5.2). If the live repository matches the scope document and any change requests that were approved during the development phase, you should have a very successful project on your hands (assuming you did a good job on your scope document). If there are differences between the scope document and the repository, the review should reveal where and how the discrepancies occurred and determine what positive/negative effects (if any) they had on the ultimate success of the project. Of course, the results of the review should be thoroughly documented; and, if possible, the results of the project quantified. This information is extremely helpful in obtaining funds for subsequent project releases. Finally, this is the time to begin planning for the next release of the repository project using the original project scope document and the meta data integration architecture document as the foundation for the second release.

There are two tasks that I have not listed in the project plan for the rollout phase: post-implementation support and the victory celebration. First, any time a new system is moved into production, it is highly probable that its users will identify errors or minor enhancements. Therefore, it is wise to make sure that you have properly planned for post-implementation support. Second, assuming that the meta data repository has been a big success, it is vital to take your staff out to celebrate the success of the project. The days of assembling an information technology (IT) staff and keeping them together for 10 years or more are over. People will stay at your company and on your team if they feel they are part of something valuable. Many of us spend more time at work than with our families. If you believe that the time you spend at work is only about the money that you earn, it won't be long before you are looking for other work. Take the team out early on a Friday and visit a local food establishment. If you are the project leader, make sure to thank everyone for the great success of the project.

We have now completed walking through an entire project plan for a meta data repository initiative. I hope you have found this series informative and valuable as you begin your project. I want all of you to be successful in your meta data initiatives. Remember that building a meta data repository is not easy. Moreover, there is no such thing as an easy major IT initiative. Look at data warehousing, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) or e-commerce and tell me if you consider any of these projects easy. While building a meta data repository is not easy, if you are dedicated, don't cut corners, surround yourself with good people and believe in yourself, you'll experience great success.

Note: This column is adapted from my book Building and Managing the Meta Data Repository (Wiley, 2000). The complete project plan is available on the accompanying CD-ROM.

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