A wise man once said that "a journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step." Quite true. However, taking the first step on such a journey without a map and a compass could be a career limiting move--especially if you are leading the expedition for your organization's data warehouse strategy. Poor planning, implementation and expectation management can cause the business sponsors who are depending on your hot project to turn cold on you in a minute. Before you know it, you're out of that corner office and back in the cubicle jungle. But with some forethought, you can avoid most of the pitfalls ahead--and maybe even get an office with a view.

First, we need to build a road map to validate the business vision and project methodology. Then we'll use four points of our data warehouse compass to validate our progress. The result should be a safe journey that concludes with our project crossing the information wilderness and marking a path for others to follow.

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