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Successful BI project – Step 2 – Requirements

2011/09/28

The second post in the series about successful BI projects is the most important. The gathered requirements are the foundation of the whole BI solution. If your gathering and analysis of the requirements is poorly executed the overall project will suffer from this leading to unpleased end-users and bigger cost due to necessary changes in the system.

There are many ways to gather requirements and I’m not saying that one is better than the other but the one I’m using, and have been using for a while, works and also involves the business in the process. The method I use consists of at least two workshops. The reason that there should be at least two is that there will always be unanswered questions at the end of the first session and the time between the first and the second workshops gives the participants some time for reflection and contemplation.

To make the most out of the workshops there has to be a couple of business roles present at the workshops: end-user, governance, business analyst and someone responsible for the source systems.

The output from the sessions should be a thorough requirements specification signed and approved by all parties including:

· Business area owner

· Measures

· Dimensions and their hierarchies

· Grade of detail regarding time

· User roles and how they will use data

· Non functional requirements (load frequency, availability, security etc)

· Presentation/end-user tools

One part of the deliverables is the information matrix below. The matrix maps dimensions against measures for specific questions/requirements (Q1) the business asks for.

   

Measures

   

Dimension

Grain

Measure 1

Measure 2

Measure 3

Dimension 1

Level 1

Q1

Q1

Q1

 

Level 2

Q1

Q1

Q1

Dimension 2

Level 1

Q1

Q1

Q1

Dimension 3

Level 1

Q1

Q1

Q1

 

Level 2

Q1

Q1

Q1

 

Level 3

Q1

Q1

Q1

This requirements specification doesn’t include technical implementation requirements or data specific demands. These requirements should be gathered in a so called source system analysis but this is another story and isn’t included in this post.

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