BI Implementation Enabler: Agile Framework for Data Warehousing–Part 2

Posted by Karthikeyan Sankaran
December 3rd, 2007

In my previous post, I established the fact that Agile Framework can be used to manage complexity in enterprise wide Business Intelligence systems.

Two phases to the Agile framework implementation are:

  1. Planning Phase
  2. Execution Phase

Agile Framework – Planning Phase

Planning is typically done at the end of a particular year for the subsequent year, once the business plans & budgets are finalized.

Assumptions / Pre-requisites

  1. Enterprise BI infrastructure is already in place in the organization
  2. Technology Architecture (BI Tools/Technologies) and Process Architecture (Standards, Policies, Procedures) are already defined.
Start –> End Activities Deliverables
Create & Prioritize the Stories
  • Conduct JAD sessions and collect user requirements
  • Have stakeholders sign-off on BI vision document
Functionality List (Stories) – With approximate effort estimates
Create the phase plan Identify Phases for completing the “Story” “Story – Phase” Mapping Document
Identify the “Cycles” Identify number of development & stabilization cycles required to complete the Phase “Story – Phase – Cycles” Mapping Document
Create the Release Plan Identify the cycles (across stories) that can fit into a particular release Monthly Release Plan

Agile Framework – Execution Phase

Execution Phase is for implementing the monthly release. This has the following tasks:

Start –> End Activities Deliverables
Execute the Cycles
  • Each cycle will have its own specifications, design & test plan documents
  • Develop the code to satisfy the requirements for each cycle
  • Design Document
  • Test Plan
  • Test Results
Deliver the Release All the cycles combined into a working release (typically delivered once a month) Code Release Plan
Deliver the Phase When all cycles for particular phase are completed, perform a regression test on some of the critical cycles Phase Release Plan
Complete the story When all the phases for a particular story are completed, perform the regression test on some of the critical phases Complete the documentation of the business functionality

I have seen lot of benefits in managing BI systems using the Agile framework, especially in Enterprise Data Warehousing situations.

Let me put some disclaimers here:

  1. Agile Development with its brand of specific techniques around Xtreme Programming, Pair programming, SCRUM etc. is a vast area with its own body of knowledge & best practices. This post neither has the intention nor the author has the talent (!) to be an authoritative guide for Agile methodologies.
  2. This post is aimed at BI practitioners to stimulate a new way of thinking around managing complexity in Business Intelligence systems. This is definitely not a “silver bullet” for managing BI projects.

Information Nugget: Came across a wonderful blog titled “Occam’s Razor” by Mr. Avinash Kaushik ( Avinash is an authority on Web Analytics and his blogs have some great information for everybody. Happy reading!

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