BONUS: Incremental Delivery in Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Warehouse projects with Raphael Branger

Raphael has been a guest on our regular show, and in those episodes, we approached the topic of Agile applied to Business Intelligence projects. In this episode, we dive deeper into the concepts and ideas that Raphael mentioned earlier, and we learn how Business Intelligence projects can be delivered incrementally, and in an agile manner. 

Slicing User Stories to enable incremental delivery

We start this episode with a practice that is critical for Agile teams: how to slice User Stories to enable the delivery of incremental value to customers. We discuss several strategies that Raphael uses to be able to deliver valuable functionality even in the first week of a project. 

Taking into account that usually, BI projects are executed by larger, and more traditional firms, his approach brings clarity and ensures that the team and the customer are able to evaluate the product from the first week. This practice is critical in collecting feedback from customers early on and avoiding producing products (dashboards, in this case) that no one will use. 

In this segment, we refer to a blog post by Raphael where he describes his User Story slicing approach in more detail.

#NoEstimates in BI projects

One of the inspirations for Raphael’s work on slicing User Stories was the #NoEstimates book and a few conversations that he and Vasco Duarte had in the early stages of Agile adoption at IT-LOGIX, Raphael’s company.

In Raphael’s perspective, the focus should shift from “sizing” stories to understanding what might be a good experience for the customer: customer delight; and then validating those assumptions directly with customers by delivering possible solutions very early on. 

As a way to apply #NoEstimates, Raphael started to apply the concept of “timebox” (limited time) to each of the User Stories being developed. His own rule is that a User Story should be developed within 1 or 2 days at the most, which pushes the teams to focus on what is critical to provide value to the customer. 

Timeboxing User Stories to validate assumptions

In this episode, we also explore how Raphael came to the realization that User Stories need to be timeboxed, rather than estimated. He shares a story of a project where the team produced a dashboard that did not get used by the customer (they had metrics). That was a transformative point in Raphael’s approach, leading him to focus on early and often delivery. Which led to the #NoEstimates heuristic that a User Story should be given a timebox. 

In this segment, we refer to the episode about a team that Runtastic that is using #NoEstimates, and how that has helped the team focus, and provide value faster. 

About Raphael Branger

Raphael Branger is a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner and a pioneer in adapting agile methods in the context of data and analytics projects. He works as a Principal Consultant Data & Analytics at IT-Logix in Switzerland with more than seventeen years of experience in business intelligence and data warehousing.

You can link with Raphael Branger on LinkedIn and connect with Raphael Branger on Twitter

 

Raphael Branger: The Product Owner that “spoke” SQL, a success story 

From a Product Owner who spoke the same language as the team to the Product Owner that was absent, in this episode, we explore two patterns and the techniques Raphael used to help the team benefit from the Product Owner’s and stakeholder’s feedback.

The Great Product Owner: The Product Owner who spoke technical language

In this segment, we talk about a manager that wanted to be involved, wanted to know what the team was working on, and was even able to “speak” SQL with the team. This is an example of how management can bring value to the team by providing insight and quick decisions.

The Bad Product Owner: Working around the absent Product Owner

Sometimes, we are given the task to work with a Product Owner that is absent. In this segment, we talk about how Raphael was able to work around that problem and involve the right person to have feedback and quick decisions for the team. A great story of how Scrum Masters can work with what is available, instead of complaining about what is not.

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

 

About Raphael Branger

Raphael Branger is a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner and a pioneer in adapting agile methods in the context of data and analytics projects. He works as a Principal Consultant Data & Analytics at IT-Logix in Switzerland with more than seventeen years of experience in business intelligence and data warehousing.

You can link with Raphael Branger on LinkedIn and connect with Raphael Branger on Twitter.

Raphael Branger: Creating small stories as a way to help Scrum teams succeed

When we talk about success, we must also talk about what makes teams fail. In this episode, we talk about a common, yet often unresolved anti-pattern: producing software on time, but failing to provide business value for users and stakeholders. 

In this episode, we explore Raphael’s approach to designing a way of working that focuses the team on Business Value at all times. 

In this episode, we refer to the #NoEstimates book, as well as Raphael’s approach to defining and breaking down stories so that they fit the #NoEstimates heuristic of “one story, one day”

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Race Car Retrospective

In The Speed Car Retrospective (here’s’ another podcast episode referring to a different way to implement the Speed Car Retrospective), Raphael found a format that helps the team members verbalize what they “felt” during the Sprint, therefore focusing on underlying trends in the team’s performance, rather than only “the facts”. 

About Raphael Branger

Raphael Branger is a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner and a pioneer in adapting agile methods in the context of data and analytics projects. He works as a Principal Consultant Data & Analytics at IT-Logix in Switzerland with more than seventeen years of experience in business intelligence and data warehousing.

You can link with Raphael Branger on LinkedIn and connect with Raphael Branger on Twitter.

Raphael Branger: Adopting Agile in traditional Business Intelligence projects and organizations

Raphael shares with us the largest change initiative he’s ever worked with: adopting Agile at his company, ITLogix, and in projects with his clients. We go through the deliberate steps he took, and how he built a learning organization first, and – using Scrum – helped his organization adopt Agile, and later move all projects to Agile even with clients that did not use Agile internally.

About Raphael Branger

Raphael Branger is a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner and a pioneer in adapting agile methods in the context of data and analytics projects. He works as a Principal Consultant Data & Analytics at IT-Logix in Switzerland with more than seventeen years of experience in business intelligence and data warehousing.

You can link with Raphael Branger on LinkedIn and connect with Raphael Branger on Twitter.

Raphael Branger: Setting up cross-functional Agile teams in Business Intelligence projects

When Raphael got started, many of his teams still had the back-end and front-end separation clearly visible, to the point of them being separate teams. Raphael found that, in Business Intelligence projects, that separation would cause communication gaps, and started investigating how to go about removing that gap. That led him to work in developing the concept of “generalizing specialists” for his organization, and he shares that process with us, with many tips on how to slowly, but deliberately move towards cross-skilled team members, and cross-functional teams.

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Data Warehouse Design, by Lawrence Core

In Agile Data Warehouse Design by Lawrence Core (check the book’s website), Raphael found an idea that helped him “see” how Agile could be adapted to work in Business Intelligence and Data projects. In the process of developing that idea, Raphael also found out how to involve users directly in the data modeling step, therefore benefiting from very early feedback.

In this segment, we also refer to the NoEstimates book by our podcast host Vasco Duarte.

About Raphael Branger

Raphael Branger is a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner and a pioneer in adapting agile methods in the context of data and analytics projects. He works as a Principal Consultant Data & Analytics at IT-Logix in Switzerland with more than seventeen years of experience in business intelligence and data warehousing.

You can link with Raphael Branger on LinkedIn and connect with Raphael Branger on Twitter.

Raphael Branger: Agile for Business Intelligence Projects

Raphael quickly realized that Agile could bring his organization a competitive advantage and help solve the problems he was facing in some of the projects he worked at. As he started to understand what being agile meant, however, he found that his initial focus (on the process) was detracting from his ability to learn quickly. In this episode, we cover Raphaeo’s personal transformation, from process to a completely new approach that has helped him continuously learn and improve the agility of his organization over the years. 

In this segment, we refer to Raphael’s concept of Agile Business Intelligence Building Blocks, which helped him understand how to apply Agile to Business Intelligence projects.

About Raphael Branger

Raphael Branger is a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner and a pioneer in adapting agile methods in the context of data and analytics projects. He works as a Principal Consultant Data & Analytics at IT-Logix in Switzerland with more than seventeen years of experience in business intelligence and data warehousing.

You can link with Raphael Branger on LinkedIn and connect with Raphael Branger on Twitter