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Responsible data management toolbox

4.2.3 In practice


The professional frame of reference in practice

Skills sheets, to what end?

These sheets, organised by skill blocks in program data management, were designed to meet the needs of CSOs coping with the challenges raised by the necessity to structure program data management skills within a mission or organisation.

Amongst other things, said sheets allow the CSOs to:

  • Align each skill within a broader set and detail their common goals.
  • Get a better grasp of what each skill covers, to ensure understanding of the different types of competences (technical and methodological).
  • Understand in what context these skills are useful and why.
  • Highlight the factors that need to be considered when it comes to recruiting one or several of the listed skills.

Why not create sheets by “occupation”?

Today, data management skills are divided among a number of different occupations and posts, themselves non-standardised in the industry between different areas of intervention and organisation size. These skills can hence be part of several different “occupations.” Each skill can more easily be integrated into various organisational practices.

Who can use these sheets? When?

These sheets can be used both by HQ and the field, whether by people involved in program data management or by the Human Resources department, should the latter wish to understand how these skills are structured.

Among other things, these sheets may prove particularly useful for:

  • Strategic conversations on the structuring of program data management skills within an organisation.
  • Drafting a job description, for the assessment of needs and the activities and skills description.
  • Recruitment (test design, questions during interviews, support for communications with HR).

These sheets are particularly useful when used in conjunction with other documents of the HR pack:

How to read these sheets?

1. Presentation of a sheet

Each skill block is composed of four sub-sections. The first two sub-sections constitute the introduction and present:

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The third sub-section is composed of a series of tables detailing each skill. Each table includes:

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The fourth and final sub-section of each skill block covers recruitment aspects:

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2. Presentation of the levels of proficiency

Each level of proficiency corresponds to a different need within an organisation, a project or a mission.

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3. The skill sheets

Design and implement a data management strategy

Organise and implement data collection and structuration activities

Organise and implement data analysis, visualisation and dissemination activities

Organise and implement processes ensuring data quality

Organise and implement approaches ensuring responsible data management

Preliminary information

1. Managing a department

One of the skill sets mapped in the document The professional frame of reference: which skills are needed in program data management? is not included in this document, namely set 6, “Ensure the management of a department and its resources”. Given that the latter is not specific to the program data management sector, it did not seem relevant to detail its contents.

2. Training and experience

Initial training of profiles to be recruited is generally not very formative given the small number of courses available in the humanitarian sector with a strong focus on data management. As such, if certain courses or university degrees may be interesting in relation to the more technical aspects of data management, the following indicate as well that the person will have transferable skills that are important to achieve a solid methodological background (and develop a strategic vision):

  • Project Management
  • Social Sciences
  • Economy
  • Geography
  • Mathematics / Statistics
  • IT

The same is true of previous experience since the same job title can cover very different realities in terms of skills and tasks performed. It thus seems more relevant, for each competency, to look at the journey in terms of skills acquired rather than in terms of positions held. That being said, some experiences are relevant to look for in a generic way, depending on the skill levels sought:

  • For more strategic level B or C skills, profiles such as MEAL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning) coordinator, program coordinator or technical coordinator (with a program data management component) may be of interest, as well as program data management services coordinators or managers.
  • For Level A or Level B execution skills, profiles such as M&E managers, database managers, program data management managers can be appealing.
  • For C or D level execution skills, assuredly technical profiles are preferable, with a great deal of experience in the skill or skills sought.

More information and food for thought are available in Section 4.1 - Study - Improving program data management training capacities.