I'm working in a telephone company that is only three-years-old and still in a growing phase. In this rapidly changing environment I think it's better not to use the classical waterfall approach for our data warehouse project. Therefore I'm considering a RAD-approach (like DSDM). What is the best approach in your opinion?


J.D. Welch's Answer: Without a doubt, RAD is the approach best suited for implementing a data warehouse. Keep in mind that you want to start with small, achievable objectives and deliver them rapidly during a period of about four months. The first time through the RAD cycle, or "iteration," will take more time, about six months or more, due to set up and initial analysis and other one-time activities. I could go into more detail here, but I think the best advice I can give is to send you to my Web site at www.datawing.com, where you will find free presentations on data warehousing methodology.

Once at the Web site, select the "DataWing Bookstore" from the main menu on the left side of the screen. Once there, click on the "Browse These Presentations" buttons, and you will be given a selection of parts of a two-day methodology class; or, you can select to download the whole course material as one selection.

Remember, small, achievable objectives and make sure your management and the users' management know that they're getting an application built iteratively in small chunks over 18 to 24 months, and what they get in the first iteration is only a small piece of what they will get in 18 to 24 months!

Douglas Hackney's Answer: Waterfall approaches are 100 percent fatal in data warehousing projects. You must use a spiral methodology to succeed.

Sid Adelman's Answer: The classical waterfall does not work well for data warehouse. The danger of RAD is that you won't take the time to properly architect the data warehouse and to carry out the tasks, (e.g. good logical model, meta data creation) that will give you a good data warehouse.

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