Look at Your Project Management before You Build Your BI Tool
When talking about data, it’s easy to forget that time is money. An often-overlooked question that then goes unanswered is: How can I get my team to move more efficiently on a business intelligence project? When assessing new project management tools, this task is often shifting from the responsibility of the IT team and into the hands of those who will actually use it. It’s only natural that the business users are the ones who are then able to report on and operationalize the data. Here are some tops considerations to make when evaluating business intelligence tools and putting systems into place.
Ease of entry
It’s one thing to know where your data is sitting, but it’s another thing to know how to bring in the data. The technical steps needed to access the data from the warehouse might not always be cut and dry, but you also shouldn’t need a technical background to access it. Before signing a contract for a project management system, be sure to ask what the technical steps are to get data from the warehouse into the tool, what people need to be involved, and what data points need to be accessed to ensure this isn’t the reason a project is delayed or postponed.
Even though a system is new to the company, that doesn’t mean newer employees should be put in charge. In fact, it’s the senior management that should be involved in the project management decisions to play to the company and its employees’ strengths. When people are designated responsible for data, the business users should know the processes inside and out in order to eliminate duplication of effort. With the right decision makers and tools in place for a big project, a team of technical experts knows where the data is at all times and is able to report on it at any given time without the worry of having to hire new positions to fill in the gaps.
Communication is key
As with any new project, it’s not only important to have a strong project management team in place, but also to schedule regular discussions and open chats about the process as a whole. Members of the team put in place to be keepers of the data should know all of the steps rather than one person owning the process, and each step of the process should be documented while also being easy enough to be duplicated by different skill sets. Consider Smartsheet or Microsoft Projects to help keep the team organized.
Before you go out and get the tools, you need to take a look at your overall workflow in terms of who is using the tools and what your overall project management style is. Does your team utilize an agile workflow in which everyone is very hands-on throughout the entire process to develop deliverables based on feedback and fixes? Or does the workflow trickle down from one person and task to the next in a waterfall approach? Are you employing a combination of the two strategies but want to work toward a more efficient and accurate agile approach? Have you considered a scrum approach of doing twice the work in half the time? There’s a program and a system for that.