Can agile development methodologies apply to BI projects and if so what are the main pitfalls to watch out for in using such techniques?


Sid Adelman's Answer: The data warehouse lends itself nicely to phasing and agile development methodologies might well fit into a phasing approach. However, be careful that you don't minimize the efforts involved in properly defining your business requirements, cleaning up your data, implementing an appropriate architecture, fully training your user community, and thoroughly testing. If your "agile development methodologies" short these activities, you will deliver a substandard data warehouse.

Clay Rehm's Answer: Definitely! There are many agile development methodologies and since each BI project can be different, you have your choice of methodologies to choose from such as:

  • Extreme Programming
  • Feature Driven Development (FDD)
  • Extreme Project Management (XPM)
  • Agile Modeling
  • The Adaptive Software Process
  • The Agile Data Model
  • The Crystal Series
  • Win-Win Spiral
  • Dynamic Systems Development Method

I would like to think I have been using agile methods for as long as I have been developing BI solutions. That is why I enjoy working on BI solutions - there are so many different ways to accomplish the goal and many times BI projects don't have the same requirements that operational systems do. Additionally, you can use more than one agile method on your project.
The risks and pitfalls that you may encounter is that you most likely will be paving new ground in your organization. In this case, select methods that have less of an impact on your project until you are more comfortable using them.

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