What Is a Single Source of Truth?

As a project director, you know that a project failure can happen due to many reasons. In fact, nearly 42% of project managers confirmed that inefficient processes were the key reason for a project going off track.

Other possible causes can include anything from slow work progress, weak cross-functional collaboration, confusion amongst multiple data sources, or low data accessibility. Using a single source of truth (SSoT) can significantly control process failures and ensure on-time delivery for real and demonstrable business results.

The best project managers leverage work automation, real-time analytics and collaborative work to get 5x more results all with existing resources. Creating a SSoT helps avoid schedule and cost overruns by ensuring all stakeholders use the same, up-to-date information for their decisions. 

Here’s how a single source of truth can support your digital transformation and project success. 

What is the single source of truth (SSoT)?

A SSoT is a system where an organization creates an accessible information architecture. It stores organizational data and is the foundation for all business decisions. An SSOT is also known as a Single Version of Truth or the Golden Record. 

How does the single source of truth work?

A single source of truth works by first identifying a primary location for storing organizational data. Aggregate all data components from multiple departments and systems into the primary area — like a project or professional services management workspace. 

All departmental teams provide complete access to their data, information, and systems. Leading project management teams use smart automation to integrate departmental data into their single source of truth.

Single source of truth vs. system of record — What's the difference?

Even though a system of record and a single source of truth sound quite similar, they are entirely different concepts.

A single source of truth is the ultimate source of organizational data. All project stakeholders use data from the SSoT for their activities and to make project decisions. For instance, Wrike is a single source of truth for project data. 

So, what’s a system of record? Simply put, it’s an ultimate source for storing a specific kind of data. For example, a human resource information system (HRIS) is a record system for the HR department.

How can your business benefit from a single source of truth in project management?

Companies all over the world, like Airbnb, use solutions like Wrike to automate repetitive tasks and achieve project success. Like Hoon Kim, Creative Production Manager at Airbnb says “The team can concentrate on their own workstream while staying plugged into the greater project using Wrike’s functionalities.”

  • Reduced duplication of data
    The presence of duplicate data wastes your employees' time and may end up derailing the project. Your project team uses standardized, relevant, and updated data with a single team truth every time.
  • Less time required for data gathering and more time available to devote to project work 
    Do you know that employees spend about two hours per day or 9.5 hours per week looking for project data? Why not empower them to do more by consolidating their project workflows, internal communication, and asset sharing in one place? Allow your project team members to spend their time where it matters the most — on project work. Make accurate and updated project data available to them, anytime with an SSoT. 
  • Provide correct data to project decision-makers
    As per a global PMI Pulse of the Profession® study, inaccurate data gathering accounted for 37% of total project failures. Avoid costly project errors by providing accurate data to your key decision-makers using a project truth software like Wrike.
  • Stronger accountability 
    With a single team truth, everyone knows who is working on what so you no longer get comments such as "I thought I wasn't responsible for that!" Individual accountability remains high as everyone's work status is clear to the project’s other team members.
  • Team priorities are aligned in one direction
    Your number one goal is to make your project succeed. To do this, you need everyone to work towards one shared goal. With a single source of truth, you can track if individual priorities align with team priorities to avoid any untimely project bumps.

What are the challenges to a single source of truth?

You may face some obstacles in creating and setting up a project truth:

  • Collecting high-quality and accurate data
    Securing the right data is critical when creating a SSoT. You want the data to be accurate, high-quality and officially approved. Once you have the right data, it’s time to filter it and store it on one unified and accessible organizational platform.
  • Getting participant or end-user buy-in
    Executive buy-in? There’s no doubt that you need it. To get your project truth implemented, you need a buy-in from all the senior business leaders. Here’s one way you can do this: get them involved in finalizing the data points and identifying the data sources to set up the SSoT.

How to implement your first single source of truth

Here are the critical steps for implementing your first SSoT:

  1. Set up data requirements of cross-functional teams 
    Identify the data source for the first trial. Let your IT team identify and record the data requirements of all cross-functional project teams. They should ask questions such as  “What kind of data is needed?” and “Is permission required for access?”
  2. Establish the data gathering process 
    Once the data requirements for project teams are identified, it's time to set up the fundamental data gathering process. Break down broad data sets to identify a narrower set of data points. Doing this will help benchmark data or a specific business operation. Make sure it's well-defined and measurable.
  3. Get buy-in from end-users from all project teams
    No participant buy-in? No problem! Get your project teams on board by sharing data access points with them. Show them how easy it is to use a versatile work management platform for communication and collaboration like Wrike.
  4. Ensure compliance is met
    Any adjustments to data organization and data accessibility rules could accidentally violate any organizational compliance norms. You’ll certainly not want that. Make sure that your SSoT internal workflows and data challenges are taken compliant and taken care of.
  5. Make data accessible to all cross-functional project teams
    Finally, it's time to give data access securely to the cross-functional teams in your project. Empower your teams to do more by tracking project discussions, approvals in one place and get real time visibility to team’s work statuses. Access to project data is easier and faster with automated permissions aligned to employee roles in an SSoT.

Why Wrike is a single source of truth

So, why is Wrike a good SSoT? 

Setting up well-defined and robust processes helps you make your project successful. Working with a project truth like Wrike helps you rationalize business data and increase project visibility.

Build accountability into every project with Wrike approvals, create custom workflows that suit all your unique team processes, and integrate with over 400 apps and solutions you already use. 

Do visual planning to stay one step ahead using Wrike’s adjustable and one-click Gantt charts. Monitor project progress with customizable reporting tools and personalized dashboards that keep all stakeholders informed. 

Facing changing business needs? Scale up quickly, prioritize workloads and iterate fast to deliver your project results. Engaging an all-in-one work management platform like Wrike lets you do more of your best work. Accelerate project efficiencies and drive consistent results using Wrike's project management software.

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