Long gone are the years when to have or not a BI Solution (or Decision Support System) was yet an option. A company who choose not to analyze its data today won’t grow beyond a certain point. It has no tomorrow.
To have working BI initiatives is not easy, let alone simple. A sucessfull BI project depends on a lot of factors and to lead one is not a job for the faint of heart. Business Intelligence projects are experience- and knowledge-intensives. Even the customer must control a degree of education to reap the benefits.
A best selling book does not come from anyone armed with a word processor. A new software is not born out of the hands of its final user just because he/she has a point-and-click Java IDE within reach. Business Intelligence Solutions does not either. The whole big world is a complex place with less and less room for amateurs. Go educated or go extinct!
The Agile Manifesto
This was a milestone for the Information Technology Industry. The Agile Manifest broke the shackles tying projects to ever-late schedules in doomed iniatives, and opened up a road of unprecedent success. As a developer and manager I have embraced the A.M. and adopted Scrum as the means to implement AM. I ended using them both to do everything I do, including Teaching and building Business Intelligence projects.
Recently I became aware that, influenced by the A.M., I have brought some of those principles under a BI light, and I am sharing my insights here.
Agile Business Intelligence Manifesto
The highest priority is to help the customer to answer his questions through early and continuous delivery of quality data and tools for its exploration.
Changing requirements are a must because only so data exploration can shape new hypothesys and drive an increase in knowledge.
Deliver working advances on data platforms frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
Take part in the customer’s problem: To help the customer answer his questions is to help him formulate them by employing specialized knowledge on tools and techniques.
A customer answering its questions is the primary measure of progress, so he can make new questions.
This list does not stand on itself, but rather extends the Agile Manifesto. It also does not take care of effective delivering the results, which should be achieved by using Scrum and a special, iterative technique for BI projects, soon to be posted here.
I didn’t invent the above principles, I more like found them spontaneously sprouted and began guiding my work whilst studying and applying the A.M., Scrum and some other methodologies and strategies to my daily job. The statements I posted above are in fact the Agile Manifest adapted to BI needs as per my point of view. I missed a list like that a lot and as until now nobody made a movent toward them, I did. So, here is my proposal.
What is your opinion?
To my English speaking fellows a note: In Portuguese the generic third person is the male form – he/him/his etc. So when we say “he” as the meaning of “anyone” we also refers to women as well. So, I am not confortable with using “one” or “he/she” when refering to an unknown person, what led me to using “he/him” above in the place of a generic “customer”. Please! I have a lot of intelligent women as friends besides my own wife, and I would never downplay the importance of them! I just wanted to sweep the ethnical differences aside so not to taint the discussion or raise any wrong criticism. Right criticism is welcomed <grin>.