You will have seen blogs from us recently on Agile Data Warehousing and Agile Business Intelligence, even a couple of blogs on a methodology called BEAM – one of the most successful techniques we have adopted, and is now an important aspect of our “secret sauce”. This blog includes some of our story, describes what the fuss is all about and serves to launch our new 1-Day introduction to BEAM workshop to arm BA’s, BI, DI and DW Analysts alike with a toolkit to gather data warehouse ready business requirements (I’m excited about this can you tell?). The first public workshop we will be holding is in Wellington on October 22nd 2014.
“We provide a full-day workshop that briefly introduces BEAM✲ and then gets you using it right away to gather business requirements in an extended case study. It doesn’t replace the book, but provides an accessible introduction to the concepts and hands-on experience so you can see the value in this way of doing things.”
The journey so far
As Business Intelligence (BI), Data Warehouse (DW) and Data Integration (DI) consultants our team are often faced with the challenge of gathering design and development ready requirements from a new customer team on a completely new subject area. Some organisations simply don’t have Business Analysts (BA’s) most don’t have BI / BA’s and many BA’s have no experience in the data and visualisation space. So to solve a specific project challenge of needing our dimensional modelling team to talk directly to a group of customers who have not engaged in a Data centric project before we hunted for, and found, a solution to bridge the language gap between developers and business users.
The solution we found was an Agile methodology called “Business Event Analysis and Modelling” or BEAM, Shaun has written a great blog which provides a fantastic overview you can check out here. Adopting BEAM for that first customer involved our team reading “the BEAM book” Agile Data Warehouse Design: Collaborative Dimensional Modeling, from Whiteboard to Star Schema and considering how they could apply the techniques to working with a customer who’s project lifecycle was Waterfall and business users who didn’t enjoy IT things being “done to them”.
Long story short, the first project engagement utilising BEAM was a success, so was the 2nd and the 3rd. So successful our team considered this to be quite a revolutionary breakthrough after years of poor or no requirements and years of difficult engagements where they were figuratively speaking a different language to that of the customer we were trying to assist. You can imagine a that conversation about dimension models with a person who just wants to see a weekly report wouldn’t go especially well.
Throughout these initial engagements and via our own Agile development process we developed worksheets, templates and techniques that were reusable, adopting and adapting the methodology into a workable format we could use again and again. In true OptimalBI form we felt all of this material would be of immense value to loads of companies we aren’t involved with as consultants so the idea of “An Optimal Introduction to BEAM” 1-Day Workshop was formed.
Lawrence Corr and Agile Data Warehouse Design
Lawrence Corr the inventor of the BEAM methodology runs a three-day workshop designed for developers. He isn’t based in NZ so we have arranged for him to come out next year in March to deliver his more detailed workshop in both Wellington and Auckland – more to come on that very soon – so anyone attending the introduction workshop will be able to further their experience and meet the guru himself.
With Lawrence’s blessing we have adopted and adapted the methodology to incorporate our hands on deliverables and techniques. Our approach to ensure people really get value from their 1 day of investment is to have 1 facilitator for every 4 participants, 60% of the time is spent carrying out hands on exercises, the excel based worksheets can be reused once you leave the workshop and we will provide ongoing engagement with participants with tips and tricks and updates.
So far we have run the workshop for 3 different organisations in customer specific groups, we have found 12 people with 3 instructors to be a good mix and of course lunch is included so everyone has a great opportunity to discuss what they are learning over the lunch break.
An Optimal Introduction to BEAM workshop
This month we are offering our first Public workshop, so anyone can enrol. The date is October 22nd, it is for 1 day, costs $1000 per participant (+GST) and for that you get the instruction, “The BEAM book” (Lawrence Corr’s book), worksheets and templates you take away and reuse – read our brochure for the full list of benefits of attending the course. The October workshop will be follow up with a November one on Nov 19th, 2014. There isn’t much training offered locally for BI and DW professionals so we hope this will go someway towards filling that gap.
So if you are a BA working in the Data and Visualisation space, or a BI developer or a DI developer or an Analyst who works in the BI / DW / Data space this is the one day workshop for you. We have proven it works in both Agile and Waterfall environments and have happy customers and developers alike.
You can find all of the information to book on the 22nd of October course in Wellington here including a template for how to convince your boss. Hope to meet you soon and convert you all to the BEAM revolution. Vic.
Updated to add links to other wonderful blogs from our team:
BEAM and the Agile BA by Daniel Reed – http://blog.optimalbi.com/2014/10/29/beam-and-the-agile-ba/
BEAM me up Scotty by Geoff Hunt – http://blog.optimalbi.com/2014/10/20/beam-me-up-scotty/
We are BEAMing Lawrence Corr to NZ in 2015 by Shane Gibson – http://blog.optimalbi.com/2014/09/17/we-are-beaming-lawrence-corr-to-nz-in-2015/
BEAM me up, requirements gathering for Agile Data Warehouses by Shaun McGirr http://blog.optimalbi.com/2014/09/04/beam-me-up-requirements-gathering-for-agile-data-warehouses/
You can book your place on the next Data Driven Requirements Gathering Course here.