Agile in Business Intelligence? Of Course!

About 3.5 years ago I was introduced to Agile at the Agile 2006 Conference. After that, and implementing it in a software dev environment, I found that it just works. Sprints, Scrums, Stories, Backlog, Velocity, all the pieces fit and work.

Now that I am managing a Business Intelligence group, which when I started wasn’t doing *anything* as far as a method, I had to ask myself if doing Agile would work (I knew it could, but it is different than software dev in many ways, similar in others).

Back in October, my group went Agile. We set up a board, got some index cards, and just started Agile. A big paradigm shift at work for IT, but we needed to do something.

With Business Intelligence, we really don’t have *code* to work on, but more “objects” (Cubes, Dimensions, Reports, etc). As a team we needed to figure out – what is a story? What is a feature/enhancement/task. What is an epic? How are we going to score things, etc.

The first few sprints (2 week sprints – Wednesday’s to Tuesdays) our velocity was lower and/or we just scored things a little weird. But since then we have learned our “zone” of scoring stories and we got into a groove of releasing our BIG cube every 2 weeks, and releasing the smaller changes when completed.

We do the daily *scrum* for 15 minutes, and track burndown on stories, which lets us make some cool burndown charts that we tack up on our board, and we have some other cool bullet charts to track velocity by sprint, to our original, and final goal, and more.

What has Agile brought our group? Confidence, Stability, Ability to Meet Expectations. Agility. Results. and more..

Do we run into issues yet? Of course. Can we adjust and handle them. You bet! Are we continuously learning and changing our process to make it better? Yep. Always room for improvements.

What else does Agile bring us? Visibility to our customers, and to our peers in IT. Eventually the “BI” stuff should just run, over and over, iteratively.

Trek BI Agile Story Board

Agile isn’t a silver bullet though. It isn’t easy. You still need to work to keep things organized and on track. You have to fight that organizational gravity that sucks teams back in and people in as well, and throws that scope creep back onto stories and projects. You also have to fight to get rid of your technical debt, which depending on how long things have been running before you started even thinking about Agile, might take you a while.

This post is more of a high level “Yes We Can” type post about Agile in BI. I haven’t decided yet, but my guess is I might have some more detailed posts on how I like to run an Agile project, and what we are doing as a team to handle situations that come up, and just how we do things.

In the end though, just remember, have fun!


Sr. Technical Business Analyst position at Trek Bicycle Corporation (Waterloo, WI)

We are again looking to fill out our Business Intelligence team at Trek Bicycle Corporation. What I am looking for with this position is someone who is both technical and has the business analyst skills needed to work with end users, gather requirements, etc. You can read more about the position here:

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/company/careers/post/98/sr.+technical+business+analyst

Feel free to email your resume (make sure to say that you found this through my blog!) to my work email steve_novoselac@trekbikes.com

DBA position at Trek Bicycle Corporation (Waterloo, WI)

I usually don’t mix in a ton of work blog posts here, but I will make a few exceptions.

Some of you probably don’t know, but recently I became the Business Intelligence Manager at Trek Bicycle Corporation, and I need to add a person to the team. The position would be working out of the HQ in Waterloo, WI

We are looking for a Database Administrator (DBA) that is focused on the Microsoft Database and BI stack. Someone who has worked with large volumes of data and moving and optimizing large databases, and of course implementing DB best practices (Security, performance, etc). If you would like more info on the requirements, check out the job posting below or you can contact me for more info.

Feel free to email your resume (make sure to say that you found this through my blog!) to my work email steve_novoselac@trekbikes.com

You can also check out the job posting on our website here:

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/company/careers/post/92/database+administrator