Today’s Project Teams are expected to be transparent—providing clear, objective data on forecasts, plans, and other project metrics—while simultaneously protecting what could be some very sensitive data, often in the form of competitive intelligence, long-range financial models, and the like. How do you successfully manage these frequently competing interests? Below are some guidelines to help you juggle the need to know with the need for confidentiality.
Keys to transparency
– Provide data proactively. Your project should ideally have a set schedule for the release of progress reports, milestone reviews, meeting minutes, etc.
– Be sure that data is presented in as unbiased a way as possible. Do your best to separate the data itself from any recommendations you’re making based on that data.
– Establish review and comment periods to allow stakeholders to ask questions and provide your team with input. Make all comments public within the team, and provide everyone involved with updates on how the project will proceed based on information gathered during the review period.
– Make available your methodology for gathering and evaluating data, preferably at the very outset of your project.
Keys to confidentiality
– Immediately review all incoming information or project data, and identify which level of access is appropriate.
– Determine which types of project data will be considered sensitive at the beginning of your project and let the team and its stakeholders know that access to this information will be restricted. This removes any appearance of bias or subjectivity.
– Establish a clear hierarchy for accessing, reviewing, and validating sensitive information. Ideally this structure will remain static throughout the life of your project, and make confidential data available to as few people as possible.
– Create a single repository for confidential data. This makes access restrictions easier to monitor and enforce.