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Lessons learned

The most important questions are still unanswered since the central metadata management system is not deployed yet. The complete ISIS information system in general and CROMETA system in particular will force big changes upon the overall culture of CBS. The degree of content or discontent by the majority of statisticians when they start using the metadata maintenance tool is yet to be learned. In any case, we expect resistance from a number of subject-matter experts, especially those who cherish very much the legacy from past times when it was usual practice to order a tailor-made data processing system from the IT department.

Therefore the 'Lessons learned' here apply mainly to software development activities and this is by far less important than the overall cultural changes that will be met by the deployment of the new ISIS.

  1. The most important lesson learned is that there is no serious development when there is no development team appointed to this and only this project. This applies to IT developers as well as statisticians. Of course we knew that even before we started the project but we could not afford to have experts unavailable to regular production for a longer period of time. So we entered a vicious circle: we wanted to develop software to make production easier but we could not develop because we had to handle the production. For this reason the development lasted much longer than planned.
  2. The support from top management is crucial.
  3. Teamwork is very important and now it is enhanced with practical tools such as SharePoint etc.
  4. It is obvious from experiences of other NSOs that the involvement of statisticians is crucial for the project. Therefore we tried from the beginning to include selected statisticians in the development through various forms of cooperation but somehow it always ended after two or three meetings (see item1.).
  5. Strict project management. It is the responsibility of the project management that statisticians fell out of development activities sooner or later.
  6. The most painful lesson learned was that there is no project interesting and challenging enough to keep young and well educated IT experts from going to better paid jobs. IT experts in government bodies are paid two or three times less than in private sector and this needs no further comment. The CROMETA project started with 16 people (more or less involved) and ended with 3.

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