Before you begin a project, it is useful to think through how you will manage the data produced in that project. Many grant funders ask you to include a Data Management Plan with your grant applications. Even if one is not required, it is good to write one. This will help you think through the many facets of data management throughout the lifecycle of a project, such as:
What kind of data will you collect? How much of it will you collect?
What data formats or standards will you use to aid interoperability?
Which standard forms of metadata (descriptive information about the project) will you use?
Do you plan to share your research data with anyone else? If so, how and through which mechanism?
If you plan to publish your research data in a repository, which one will you use?
Will you backup the data regularly? If so, what procedures will you follow?
These are all things you need to consider before you even begin the project. We recommend writing a Data Management Plan for all projects, regardless of funding agency. The ones required by grant funding agencies are short and should be expanded when you get the grant and actually begin the project.