March 7, 2010

333 rule to keep your BI apps in check

I really loved this post of Boris Evelson on Information Management Blogs, March 3, 2010.

The essence of the 333 rule:
  • Whenever there is a request for a new report that requires new data source or additional data sets from existing sources, first create manual extracts, pull them into text files and create "reports" on top of these extracts
  • If, and only If, after 3 weeks, the new reports are still being actively used, they then point the reports directly to the operational data sources.
  • If, and only If, after 3 months, the reports are still being actively used, they then create new DW tables and populate them with the new data sets.
  • If, and only If, after 3 quarters, the reports are still being actively used, they then completely productionalize  the process with QA, UAT, DR and other production controls, risk management, and operational procedures.
 Although this is a great rule of thumb for assuring that your BI environment doesn't get clogged up with junk, the rule kind of creates a difficulty in budget management. Of course you need to explain your business users that the "cheap" report you created for them initially, based on a simple extract, will need to be "rewritten" 3 times. That is they will have to pay several times over for the exact same functionality. Not impossible, but you'd better take that communication upfront. And you'll have to do some user "education" to explain them the why and how.

Cheers,

J