Gathering data requirements, easy, right?

by | Oct 13, 2016

Gathering data requirements, easy, right?

by Oct 13, 2016

Gathering any form of requirements is hard work. I know, I’ve been there.
But gathering data requirements takes a special person and, as I’ve learnt, a particular technique. Mostly this job gets foisted onto a Business Analyst, but maybe you’re a Developer, Data Architect, or Data Analyst, so here are a few of the skills you’re going to need.
As a minimum you’re going to interested in the whole systems development lifecycle; this isn’t a job for someone who lives in a silo, takes the input form the person on their left and passes it off to the person on their right! You’ve got to be there from go to woe. Then there’s the other dimension, the high-level and the detail. At the high-level, you’ll need to understand the business context and the top-to-bottom business process.
Then the detail…when you said Customer 5 minutes ago, is that the same one as we’re talking about now? No, what’s the difference? Let’s document it…you get the picture. And to be good at data, boy, do you need to be great at detail! And the ‘soft skills’. You’ve got to be an awesome facilitator. Not someone who runs meetings and thinks it facilitation, but one that controls a room full of, sometimes, conflicting people and get an outcome at the end of the day.
If you’ve got ‘great communicator at all levels’ written on your CV, then you’d better mean it. Typically, data requirements come from the bottom to the top of an organisation. Some who can clearly articulate what they want, some not so much.
Of course there’s a bit of documentation to complete. Not a massive amount, but it’s going to be full of detailed definitions so has to be absolutely right.
And you’ve got to speak ‘business’, whatever that is! Inmon, Kimball, Star-schemas, table naming standards…they don’t care. Speak the business language they speak!
Oh, and don’t forget the detail!
Geoff blogs from a flat overlooking the intersection of Agile, Business, and Life
Want more? Read Geoff’s last blog How do data requirements differ from other requirements? or more of his blogs here
We run regular Data Requirements and Agile data warehouse training courses with an Agile business intelligence slant in both Wellington and Auckland

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