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Nine Signs of a Successful Data Warehousing Project

Just because everyone gathers in the company cafeteria for cake and plasters the walls with congratulatory banners doesn’t mean that your data warehousing project was a success. This chapter gives you some ways to tell that you were really successful.

The executive sponsor says, “This thing works — it really works!”

Suppose that a senior executive at your company makes it a point to find you so that he or she can tell you that you did a great job and that you’re a nice person and that the data warehouse you built and delivered really works — and everyone is using it. The executive even points out that the warehouse is delivering information that is being factored into boardroom-level decisions.

You receive a flood of suggested enhancements and additional capabilities

Sometimes, after the celebratory party in the cafeteria, a data warehouse slowly fades away like an old soldier. (Quiz: Who used a similar phrase, to what audience, and in what year?)

Users and their managers might bang on your office door (or, more likely, invade your cubicle) to show you memo pads that contain sketches of additional reports and queries that they want, asking questions such as, “How hard would it be to add this feature?”

User group meetings are almost full

Your company should always organize a data warehouse user group in which you can discuss and handle issues such as training, enhancement requests, and tips and tricks for how to use query tools in a coordinated manner.

User group meetings that often get canceled because no one has issues to discuss gives you a good indication that few people are using the data warehouse. In contrast, regular user group meetings that are packed give you a strong indication that . . . you succeeded!

The user base keeps growing and growing and growing

You start off with an initial user community of 50 business-area analysts. Two months later, you add another 50. During the next six months, an additional 150 users, including several in executive management, join the “family.”

The executive sponsor cheerfully volunteers your company as a reference site

Your executive sponsor is so enamored with the data warehouse that management wants your company to serve as a reference for product vendors and for the outside consulting company that worked with you to build it.

The company CEO asks, “How can I get one of those things?”

The big cheese wants his or her own executive dashboard system (and all his or her direct reports) to have access and monitor it daily. To that end, you are summoned to the CEO’s office for a weekly hour-long private session to answer specific questions on further uses for data warehousing within the company.

The response to your next funding request is, “Whatever you need — it’s yours.”

Corporations are notorious for this type of funding policy: “Don’t tell us what you did yesterday. Tell us what you’ll do tomorrow if we deem you worthy to send funding your way, and don’t you dare fail to deliver because you and your résumé will be on the street faster than. . . .”

But if your data warehouse is popular and held in high esteem, your organization might give you a blank check for your next project.

You get promoted — and so do some of your team members

Nothing says lovin’ in the corporate world like a promotion. Suppose that the job you did on your data warehouse leads directly to a promotion for you and for other members of your team.

And although it might not feel as good, if your team is suddenly raided and all your direct reports get promotions, you’ve also succeeded!

You achieve celebrity status in the company

Company employees stop you in the hallway or invite you to lunch to ask your opinion about technology, development methods, and all sorts of other subjects. Although you’re not quite at the level of rock star or professional athlete, diners in the cafeteria point toward your table and whisper, “That’s the one!”

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