Creating a data management plan (DMP) is a good first step to ensure that your research data is organized, properly preserved, and made easily accessible to your research group and the larger research community. In an effort to encourage preservation and sharing of research data, numerous funding agencies are also beginning to require that researchers submit data management plans along with their grant proposals.
Although the exact requirements of the funding agencies vary, the National Science Foundation's guidelines provide a good starting point for developing a thorough data management plan. According to these guidelines, a data management plan should address the following points (from Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter II.C.2.j):
Your data management plan is more than just an item on your grant-getting checklist. It can guide the way you manage data throughout your project, keeping you organized so you can find your data when you need it, and helping you be prepared to share the data at the end of the project.
Consider creating a Data Management Cheat Sheet for your project, based on your DMP. A generic template is included below to help you get started.