During the course of a data warehousing or business intelligence (BI) project, there will be at least one point during the project where expectations are not in line with the design, approach or solution. All project managers have encountered this misalignment of expectations. Seasoned and effective project managers know that it is imperative to address and manage expectation so that the solution being developed achieves the desired outcome. Failed projects are typically the result of mismanagement of expectations whereby the solution that was developed did not meet the expectations of the user community.

Several years ago, we saw such a failure take place. At a prospective client an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was being implemented to replace their legacy systems. In order to facilitate information from the ERP system, they wanted to implement a BI application to enable users to easily access the data so that they could develop their own queries and reports. Their process of identifying and selecting an external professional services firm was long and drawn out. By the time they had developed their short list of firms, two months had passed. This directly impacted the BI project time line.

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