As we begin our dialogue on business and IT agility, I've always found it best to first set the proper context. In my article, "A Business Context for Agile BI," my goal was to set the table for the macro view of Agile BI. The next context that's important to understand is the foundation of agile methods. While there are many flavors of agile, most of what I will be writing about is based on the Scrum method. Having said that, I had a choice to make - should I first attempt to explain Agile/Scrum or should I assume that you are already familiar with it? Hmm, what to do? What I've decided is take the middle ground and point you to several great references in order for you learn more about the foundational concepts. This way, credit is given where due and I can turn my attention to the nuances of the methodology and its application to BI/DW delivery. In other words, you now have a homework assignment.
Without a doubt, the authors of the Agile Manifesto and the Scrum Alliance get credit for bringing us agile methods and principles in the first place. Read the Agile Manifesto's 12 Principles of Agile Software as the starting point. After that, take a tour of the Scrum Alliance web site as it's chock full of great information about Agile/Scrum and includes lots of great articles and where to go for training and how to become a Certified Scrum Master. As you read through the information on these sites, keep in mind that they were developed specifically for software development projects.
Next, turn your attention to Ralph Hughes' book, Agile Data Warehousing to get a primer on Agile/Scrum and XP as it pertains to building data warehouses. Hint: If you want to get the crib notes version of Agile/Scrum, read chapter 2. From there, you can learn more about foundation concepts such as user stories, story points, burn down charts and other key components of Agile/Scrum.
Lastly, I'd encourage you to read Larissa Moss and Shaku Atre's book, Business Intelligence Roadmap. In particular, Chapter 0, Guide to Development Steps, provides a great overview of the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC) in the context of BI/DW projects. Why is this important to understand? Because Agile/Scrum does not displace the entire SDLC, it augments and enhances parts of it.
After doing your homework assignment you should have a better understanding of the basics of Agile/Scrum and the BI/DW SDLC. So what makes the contents of this channel different? In a nutshell, the contents of this channel will morph the foundational concepts into a practitioner's view of the world, at times adopting the principles outright, and at other times, challenging them at their core.
As I'm planning writing several articles that explain Agile/Scrum within the broader SDLC (as defined by Moss and Atre) as well as methods for properly estimating projects beginning at Step 1 (Justification) and segueing those estimates into sprint cycles, I hope you'll take the time to get acquainted with the basics. In doing so, we can start our journey on 'The Path to Agility.'
Posted September 17, 2010 8:55 AM
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