The In this context, the Disciplined Agile Delivery

The application of agile strategies is growing on data warehouse (DW) and business intelligence (BI) projects. However, the greatest challenge of adopting agile strategies in organizations is in regards of culture and people (cultural impedance mismatch). Thirty to forty years ago, both developers and data professionals were basically following the traditional (waterfall) approach to work. Around 1990, this scenario started to change since agile technologies were being adopted by organizations. On the one side, agile technologies took off and were norm in many organizations when it comes to software development. On the other side, the data community was incredulous about agile and decided not to adopt its technologies. The differences between developers’ and data professionals’ way of working (agile vs. traditional) became even bigger with time. Consequently, working together became more difficult. Currently, due to the need of delivering more and faster, the data professionals started to understand and appreciate the agile database strategies. Thus, they have just started to embrace agile strategies for DW/BI and are weak on development skills. In contrast, developers have already embraced evolutionary (now agile and lean) strategies for over two decades and are weak on data skills.The differences between the traditional and agile DW/BI approach are enormous. In the traditional DW/BI approach the heavy modeling is performed early in the lifecycle, the heavy specifications are performed throughout the lifecycle, requirement changes are avoided, solutions are released as a “big bang” and details are captured upfront. Consequently, lots of documentation is generated, making the processes slow, risky and expensive. On the other hand, in the disciplined agile DW/BI approach, the high-level modeling is performed early in the lifecycle, the light weight modeling is performed throughout the lifecycle, comprehensive regression test suites are developed, solutions are developed in vertical slices, requirements changes are welcomed and testing is far more important than in the traditional DW/BI. Considering the differences mentioned above, when applying agile strategies for DW/BI, discipline becomes essential. In this context, the Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) framework appears.The Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) framework in DW/BI is a hybrid, process decision framework. The DAD framework is people and learning oriented, it focuses on continuous improvement, the requirements are explored and the work on the design is done on a just in time basis. When applying DAD in an organization, it is important to understand that every team and every person is unique, meaning that teams will work in different ways. However, it is even more crucial to perceive that there are several teams and what is best for the organization should be considered and done. All in all, data needs to be seen as a corporate asset, DW should be developed in an evolutionary manner (since modern development is evolutionary in nature) and data professionals need to work collaboratively with the whole IT organization.


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