A thorough and realistic project plan is critical to an efficient and effective metadata system implementation effort. Planners should recognize the iterative nature of developing and implementing a technology initiative as complex as a metadata system, and budget the time needed to plan, implement, test, and refine the system repeatedly until user requirements are met. The implementation plan and schedule should address all aspects of the project, from planning through post-implementation training. Good plans often
A project implementation plan should present work in discrete, manageable tasks. For example, mapping a metadata item inventory to all active data elements in a large education data system is a very big job—potentially too big to be accomplished in a single step. Instead, more manageable tasks might be identified and prioritized, such as mapping a smaller set of core metadata items. Another approach might be to divide a large, systemwide mapping job into subtasks based on data categories: student personal information, student enrollment, student assessment, staff personal information, staff assignments, etc. The activities in the implementation plan are then assigned, carried out, monitored, and completed in discrete units that can be understood and undertaken by members of the implementation team.
One special consideration when implementing metadata systems is the coordination required between metadata and existing (or envisioned) data systems. If an organization does not have a clear understanding of its current data—what exists, what format data are in, where they are located, and what quality they are—a metadata system that is dependent on those data is unlikely to provide useful information.