- Every time product requirements change, you hear a tree fall in the forest in order to support the printing of a new multi-page gantt chart;
- The project managers comes into the office early in the morning so he can carefully prepare the specific tasks to assign to each team member;
- Although sitting within 20 feet of each other, your team members proudly sit in closed offices and only communicate via email;
- Your business analyst is pleased to show you that she managed to fit each user story on 42 50 index cards;
- The last time a business representative attended your requirement gathering meeting, she was using a Palm Pilot;
- As per the project plan, the Champagne has been opened to celebrate the launch of the project while half the development team is busy trying to do code integration;
- While no team members attended, the management team is pleased with the content of the discussions that took place during the end of release post-mortem (retrospection);
- The architects have locked themselves up for 6 to 8 weeks in order to properly prepare for the upcoming project;
- The business representative is waiting for her administrative assistant to arrive in order to take notes from the daily stand up meeting;
- A project control officer has been assigned to the project to ensure each steps have been properly documented and successfully executed.
Do you have other reasons to doubt?
Although the notion of Agile Business Intelligence is still fairly recent, I decided to do some research (aka Googled) to find out who are the Top 10 People in the Agile Business Intelligence / Agile Date Warehousing World. Assuming that Google’s ranking is accurate, I compiled the following list of thought leaders.
My objective was to identify the Top 10 and much to my surprise, I was only able to identify 4 people (companies were excluded)! These 4 individuals’ name consistently appeared in the search results.
- Scott W. Ambler
- Ted Malone
- Ralph Hughes
- Ken Collier
Do you feel there are names that aren’t in the list and should be there? Let me know.
We all know that getting the right information (meaningful and accurate) to the right people in the most timely fashion so they can make the best business decision is the ultimate objective of a business intelligence projet. Using an Agile approach aims to address these requirements but transitioning to an improved approach does generate some challenges.
Below is what we believe are the “8 challenges to address for a successful transition to Agile” for your BI projects. Although some of these challenges may seem overwelming at first, addressing them early in the process will greatly increase the chances of success in the long run.
- Educating your users so they understand their new role - showing up only at the beginning and at the end of the project is no longer an option
- Training your architects and software developers on flexibility – not everything has to be binary
- Teaching your users the need to invest in invisible components – underlying technical architecture and infrastructure may not be visible to the users but they are a critical part of a BI project
- Making the users accept to divide large deliverables into smaller components – flexibility outweights the risk of not having the small components all at once
- Multi-years monolithic projects do not work – an incremental and iterative approach combined to timely budget allocation has proven to be a better strategy
- Informing everyone that refactoring is a success criteria and not an indication of failure – time saved from advanced detailed planning more than makes up for the time invested in refactoring later in the process
- Needing specialists with specific roles on the team is not a constraint – team members need to recognize they have a role to play on the team and should not stick to their defined job description
- Agile is a well documented methodology where all the answers are readily available – Agile is an approach based on key principles and relies on people’s ability to “do the right thing” in order to deliver quality output on time
With the challenging economic times, very few organizations are ready and willing to allocate large budgets and extended time lines before they get to leverage their investment. As such, transitioning to an approach that provides more flexibility and faster results seems like a logical choice.
Below is what we believe are the “Top 10 indications that you are ready for a successful transition to Agile” for your BI projects. It is obvious that an organization can begin a successful transition to Agile without having all 10 conditions but it is important to remember that the chances of success and the duration of the transtion will decrease as the number of conditions available increases.
- Your business users are already heavily involved in the development activities
- Your development team is successful in developing within defined time boxes
- Face-to-face and open communications are preferred to paper documentation and email communications
- Your organization has already had success implementing an Agile approach for other projects
- You are comfortable letting your customers take full control of the development process (requirements definition, answering questions during development, specify the required tests, ensure the results meet the expectations, and sign-off on the completed work) while maintaining flexibility on their priorities
- Your project team is used to prioritizing their needs and is able to determine which items are more critical (and which ones can wait)
- Management recognizes that adapting to the situation at hand is far better than spending countless hours in defining a detailed project plan
- The business sponsor, end users, and the development team are comfortable with iterative and incremental development and delivery
- Your organization has already invested into a data warehouse on which to build
- Your management team and the company culture can tolerate that people make mistake as long as they can learn from them (and that the mistakes aren’t huge and irreparable)