“Arrr!” There be a treasure. Finding the x in data warehouse projects.
Updated: Aug 10
Any high seas expedition starts by finding the right crew members to ensure success. These individuals possess a specific set of skills that will add value to the journey and ensure that the crew is prepared for any challenge, even the fearsome Kraken. This is true for data warehouse projects as well. To ensure the success of a data warehouse project, you need a diverse set of skills and experience to address the different aspects of the data warehouse project.
This article will look at what is needed to put together the perfect crew to navigate a data warehouse project and be ready for the beasts beneath the deep.
From the fearful Blackbeard to the cunning Henry Morgan, successful pirate captains had a wide range of skills that helped them rise to the top. The pirate captain is strategic and able to navigate the treacherous seas accurately in support of his crew. They were able to manage the crew, motivate and inspire. Data warehouse projects also require a capable captain to lead the team to success.
The project manager is responsible for ensuring that the project succeeds and meets its end goals. He is the individual with the x on his back. This isn’t necessarily a role of telling individuals what to do or where to be but rather being enablers of success. They are on top of the project scope, the requirements, and the objectives and must manage it to the project schedule.
The pirate captain is not alone in assuring that the expedition runs smoothly. By his side, he has his trusted quartermaster responsible for the crew’s well-being and ensures that the crew's duties go uninterrupted. If the captain is away or unavailable, they represent and report back.
In any agile project, you want to ensure that your team can do their work without unnecessary distractions. The scrum master is responsible for ensuring that each sprint runs correctly and that the team working on the project is not disturbed by unnecessary tasks. They work closely with the project manager to manage the risk and challenges that could arise throughout the project's duration.
No crew is complete without the trusty navigator. With his trusty charts, the navigator understands the route and what is required to navigate it. They would quickly inform the pirate captain if they were off course or a requirement for a successful expedition was not met. Like the navigator, the business intelligence business analyst is a crucial member of any data warehouse project and sometimes a role that many data warehouse projects overlook.
With any successful data warehouse development and implementation, it all starts with business analysis and discovery. A clear understanding of the problem, the requirements, and the deliverables are required to deliver the project and meet the organization’s expectations. The Business Intelligence Business Analyst is responsible for helping businesses leverage data, identify opportunities for improvement, spot trends, recognize potential issues, gather requirements, identify processes, and offer solutions.
The boatswain on a pirate ship supervised all the tasks requiring seamanship and was responsible for the ship’s stores and ensuring the ship’s rigging, sails, and anchors were in good working condition. Data warehouse architects create blueprints or technical specifications documents for the data management systems based on the requirements document produced by the Business Intelligence Business Analyst.
They are responsible for taking all the requirements that have been collected and then design the data warehouse solution considering the technologies available, the conditions, the skills, and the experience of the team. The data warehouse architect’s strength lies in his ability to develop the vision of the warehouse’s physical view and understand the end goal.
Coopers in the pirate crew were responsible for assembling barrels which was an essential skill because, at the time, these were the only large containers available and were used for keeping dry stores, wet stores, water, rum, and gunpowder in. They had to ensure that each barrel was fit for its purpose. In the same way, the modeler is responsible for ensuring that the correct data is fitted in the right process. The modeler is responsible for building the models and then validating them by mapping data from the operational models to the model of the warehouse. The data modeler designs, implements, and documents the data architecture and data modeling solutions, including relational, dimensional, and NoSQL databases.
Then we get to the rest of the crew. The gunners, the carpenters, the cooks, and other seamen all fulfilling a role in the pirate crew. All these crew members are required to ensure the success of the expedition and the mission at hand. These crew members are no less critical to the ship, but they are the more apparent members that the captain would recruit compared to the other roles, which are sometimes overlooked.
These roles could be compared to the data warehouse developers that are responsible for building the data warehouse. The data warehouse developers are responsible for developing the various functional components of the data warehouse applications, including extract programs on the source systems, ETL applications, data cleansing functions, system management functions including load automation, data acquisition functions, and the build of the various tables, configurations, and other systems that are required for a data warehouse to function correctly.
Putting a crew together of capable pirates is never an easy task. It would help if you had the right people in the right roles. Selecting less than qualified individuals could stall a successful expedition, resulting in a mutiny and even leading to the demise of the whole crew. Successful data warehouse projects can only come from a cohesive team that is motivated and have a clear objective in its sight.
Malcolm de Bruyn
Project Lead – Business Analysis: Data Analytics