Different steps in BI projects

June 16, 2014

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A project I just did for the municipality’s Sanitation Department made us rethink the different steps in BI projects in our team.

Up till now, we would first have meetings with the customer and the operational system developer to learn what the client wants and what are the corresponding tables in the system.  We would then sit and write two documents – one for the customer detailing what we’re about to give him, and one for the BI developer detailing which tables should be extracted and how they should be manipulated. The client would have to wait two months (at least) after the document was approved, before he could see any report samples or visuals on his data.


For the sanitation department I did something different as it started out as a POC. The customer sent me and excel file containing all the data he had for a certain year. I imported the file into the database. I then created a simple pivot on the data with slicers and conditional formatting. I went back to the customer with it and he loved it. We defined together a few reports that would be of special interest based on that pivot. Only after he approved the POC I’m looking into receiving the data from the operational system and defining the import and manipulation processes for the tables in the DWH. After the development finishes, I’ll be able to show the customer the full report we defined together.

What we’re trying to do now is to recreate those same phases in other systems in development. We’re first trying to import sample data, show a report in Excel with a pivot on the sample data, and only after the customer approves the demo and defines sample reports we start with development.

As I always love to learn from other people’s experience I would really appreciate it if you could share with me in the comments below what are the different different steps in BI projects in your team (please!!)

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