Your executives have been discussing different options for helping the company maintain and increase their marketplace competitive advantage. Many of these options are data and information related, and the concept of the data warehouse has been enthusiastically endorsed as one option. Your CIO calls you in and tells you to get right on it. What do you do? As a seasoned systems professional, you know about data warehousing, having read Bill Inmon's groundbreaking definition of it in 1990, and you have followed its evolution to the present day. You are conversant on architectures and tools. You have read about successful implementations and failures. Maybe you even attended some data warehousing conferences. You have a skilled database staff that is anxious to get trained in new tools and begin what they see as a leading-edge and challenging project. But you and your staff, with vast experience in the development and maintenance of operational systems, realize at your first meeting that this project is going to be different. Really different!

To begin with, you and your team must approach end-user requirements gathering radically different than with operational systems. In developing an operational system, you would follow the traditional system development life cycle (SDLC) route with interviews, extensive research, process analysis and other tasks appropriate to structured development. A large percentage of the requirements would be gathered prior to any development and a sign-off with the user would insure a minimum of scope creep. A data warehouse requires a broad-brush requirements gathering effort that is more iterative in nature.

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