The research data lifecycle, as defined by the UK Data Service
Preparing ahead of your research will help you adopt efficient and appropriate data management solutions. In the planning phase, you should identify issues that will arise during the whole research cycle to save time later on, tackle problems before they even appear, and set rules for collaborative work through the use of good practices.
Funding institutions such as the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) now require researchers to fill a data management plan (DMP) with their application. That document explains how the research data will be managed through all the steps of the research process: collection, analysis, documentation, preservation, and sharing. It details data formats, legal and ethical concerns, storage solutions, conservation strategy, and other issues.
Even if you do not request funding from such an institution, writing up a DMP is generally a good thing and will help you further in the research process. A good place to start is the Digital Curation Centre's (DCC) DMP Checklist.