Project Management

Winners and Users

Too often teams enter business intelligence projects focusing on the technology that is needed to deliver BI. Because the focus is on technology, they promise the users the world and believe that technology alone will be able to satisfy all user needs. This, my friends, is the beginning of a BI project nightmare. You can throw all the technology, money and resources at a BI project, but without a well-defined project scope and without managing user expectations, you are guaranteed failure.

The way to start a BI project is to get the user "wish-lists" out of the way. Set up facilitated sessions with the end-user community and individual interviews with executives so that they can "blue sky" and communicate their needs. You're not making any commitments to them, but simply involving them in the process by asking them what they want. Once their needs are realized, it is extremely crucial to organize the end-user needs. In other words, you need to force the end users to prioritize what is most important to them.

Once this prioritization has been made, the project team should work with the data source owners to determine the costs of acquiring the data necessary to meet needs on the ranked prioritization. This way the project team can scope out the project and present the users with a menu of costs to perform each of the requested end-user needs. The end users can …


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