Agile Business Intelligence Architecture

I used to regularly write a blog over at based on my experiences with a number of topics at Microsoft. Since moving to BNP Paribas I haven’t had much to say publically beyond posting a few photos and I’d like to change that.

Over the past couple of years I’ve been practising agile business intelligence in my role as a solution architect. My team work on user stories from a prioritised backlog in two week iterations, practise test driven development, continuous integration and are beginning to look at acceptance test driven development.

Even with all these techniques it is still very difficult to be truly agile with business intelligence solutions –interrelated requirements, complex database schemas, poor agile tool support and the skill set of most business intelligence developers are all forces trying to turn your project back towards the waterfall dark side.

All the time there is an ever louder call from the business for instant answers to their business questions.

So I’ve begun  to wonder, how agile can you get? Can you create traditional and modern business intelligence solutions using the same agile processes that normal software teams use? Can solution architecture be lean and risk driven?

I’m influenced by quite a varied set of development jobs – broadcast and media at Sony, telecoms and call centres at Exony, all sorts at Microsoft and now banking. I’ve learned that clean code, good domain modelling and testing is the only way to be successful.

Obviously I can’t talk about my day job as I’m bound by employee confidentiality but I do want  to try out some ideas in a public arena where I can get feedback. I’m going to make up a set of requirements for a completely different industry to banking – healthcare; which I’ll setup in a future article.

So comments always welcome as are suggestions for future posts and I look forward to publishing some useful content.

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