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Responsible data management toolbox

4.2.2 Data skills and function repository


The professional frame of reference: what skills in program data management

A professional frame of reference: for what purpose?

This tool has been designed to meet the needs of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) faced with the challenges of structuring program data management skills within a mission or organisation. It aims to list and organise the main functions, activities and tasks related to program data management, which are then matched to the relevant skills, organised in large groups (called skill blocks). The whole document therefore intends to reference the skills associated with the occupations dealing (to various extents) with program data management.

Among other things, this tool allows you to:

  • Discover the skills in program data management
  • Understand which tasks, activities and functions they are associated with
  • Understand how these skills are linked with one another

Who can use this frame of reference? When?

The frame of reference can be used both by HQ and field teams, whether by a person involved in program data management or by the Human Resources department who wants to understand how these skills are structured.

Among other things, the frame of reference can be particularly useful when one wants to understand what the main skill sets are in program data management, in order to frame those that are necessary (or a priority) for your organisation.

This frame of reference is further detailed in the HR pack’s document entitled “The professional frame of reference put into practice: a detailed overview of program data management skills to help frame your HR needs”, where for each skill the associated know-how are listed, by level of proficiency.

How to use and understand the professional frame of reference?

The document includes 5 sections, divided into 2 parts.

The left part of the professional frame of reference focuses primarily on the actions or activities carried out in data management. It includes:

  • A list of all the tasks that can be performed in program data management…
  • …grouped by activity
  • …themselves grouped in 5 main functions, allowing to categorize the activities:
    • Define, implement and regularly update the data management strategy of a mission or organization;
    • Organize the structuring of data sets & support data collection
    • Provide data visualization and analysis products for decision support purposes;
    • Manage data quality to contribute to program quality;
    • Ensure responsible data management of vulnerable populations (within its scope);
    • And also, manage a “data management” department and related resources (HR, technical, financial, etc.)

The right-hand side of the professional frame of reference associates these sets with skills that are themselves grouped into coherent blocks of skills.

  1. Each activity has a corresponding skill
  2. Each function has a corresponding skill block:
    • Data management strategy;
    • Data collection and structuration activities;
    • Data analysis, visualization and dissemination activities;
    • Data quality assurance processes;
    • Approaches to ensure responsible data management;
    • And, managing a department and its resources.

You can download the professional frame of reference here.