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Using a BI Tool for Mock-Ups During Requirements

by Mike Box

Jun 22, 2016

The ever-revolving door of business needs vs. technology capabilities is all too familiar for most of us working within information technology. While most projects have dedicated resources such as Business or Systems Analysts to help mediate the cumbersome documentation of high level ideas from stakeholders into focused and detailed requirements for the development team, it is still far too often that final product expectations are skewed and avoidable misconceptions lead to project failure.   Rest assured, there is a simple way that you can set expectations early in the development process by utilizing a modern methodology for effectively describing how an end user would like to see a report or dashboard. This solution involved providing a preview of the BI tool capabilities to the actual stakeholders during the requirements gathering phase of a project by designing a mock-up in the BI tool itself.   While gathering requirements from specific business stakeholders, the need for well-designed and descriptive mock-ups for new or existing reports and dashboards is critical to ensuring the highest probability of project success; again, setting expectations early in the development process. Rather than creating an unrealistic sample view of the report or dashboard in Excel and Visio, the project team can utilize a development environment within the preferred BI tool to mock up a realistic sample. This will allow for a more accurate preview of the report or dashboard as well as provide more information for the development team that will ultimately design the final product.   There are 3 key benefits of using this modern technique for mocking up designs in the business intelligence tool:

  1. Provides CLEAR and TRANSPARENT view to the business of specific technology tool capabilities
  2. Provides the development team with ASSURANCE that they can meet business expectations
  3. Helps to produce more EFFECTIVE REQUIREMENTS due to exposure of technology tool limitations or capabilities

  To see a short demonstration on how to utilize your business intelligence tool in order to provide more effective mock-ups within your requirements gathering activities, see my demonstration on YouTube here. This demonstration uses MicroStrategy to mock up a sample sales dashboard for a retail apparel store in just a few short minutes.

For insight into utilizing more BI tools contact a data and analytics professional at info@ccgbi.com or 813.265.3239.