What makes Agile Business Intelligence, well, different?

by | Sep 15, 2016

What makes Agile Business Intelligence, well, different?

by Sep 15, 2016

In a recent blog I referred to Agile Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing being a bit ‘different’ to other Agile projects.
So what makes it different to other forms of software development I hear you ask? I’ll endeavour to outline a couple of the major differences:
Firstly, Data Warehouses tend to be big. Storing all of an organisation’s data, over time, tends to take up a lot of space. If we step back to pre-computer times, this would have been cupboard upon cupboard of files. And being able to cross reference between one piece of data and another is highly complex; ergo, big plus complex will be difficult and take ages to build. And taking a long time is risky. Things change. A businesses requirement now won’t be the same in two years when you deliver.
So breaking it down using Agile sounds like a good idea, until you remember that Agile promises to deliver something usable every Sprint. Now we have to extract the data from the operations system, load it, add some business rules and make a useful report from it, all within a Sprint. Hard, but not impossible if, like us, you know what you’re doing.
Secondly, after doing this for several years, we worked out the skill set of an Agile development team for a software development project is vastly different from that of a BI project. For example, it’s necessary to have an ‘architecture owner’ type role overseeing the development from within the team. Their responsibilities include managing the technical debt and ensuring the data and business intelligence all hang together.
Likewise, we’ve found it necessary to include a ‘feature owner’ into the mix; someone who really understands the nitty-gritty of the problem and takes responsibility for its successful resolution.
So, highly complex build in short Sprints plus the need for an enhanced skill set makes Agile Business Intelligence different enough to require investing in some expertise.
 
Geoff
Geoff blogs from a flat overlooking the intersection of Agile, Business, and Life
You can read Geoff’s blog, What is Agile BI and Data Warehousing? It’s what I do, or all of Geoff’s blogs here.
We run regular Agile data warehouse training courses with a business intelligence slant in both Wellington and Auckland. Find out more here.

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