Old cars have a magical way of generating smiles. One day, were cruising in my lifelong friend Mark Kuyrkendall's 1966 Lincoln close-coupled convertible sedan. That's a car buff's way of saying it's a four-door Lincoln convertible with rear suicide doors, most prominently burned into our collective consciousness as the car that President Kennedy was riding in on that fateful day in Dallas. I don't suppose we'll ever really know what JFK did to attract those bullets, or who or how many delivered them. All we can do is try to ensure that we don't make any of the moves sure to attract the fire of the potential assassins that surround us in our efforts to bring data mart and data warehouse systems to our clients and organizations. There are, after all, some sure ways to to become the target ­ the bull's-eye.

1. Tell the truth. As any veteran of data warehousing can tell you, there's no better way to discover the full impact of the phrase "shoot the messenger" than to deliver an unpleasant truth to an audience that doesn't profit by the telling. In your efforts to deliver clean, unvarnished information to your enterprise, you will almost inevitably discover that the business has been using inaccurate information for years. Many times individuals, management layers or entire organizations may be compensated based on erroneous information. Woe to the unwary data warehouse team that simply delivers the actual truth to an unprepared organization.

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