Every BI specialist knows their way around Project Management, KPIs and Data Quality. But who can immediately start working in Agile with the SCRUM methodology? This is familiar territory for software developers, but we also increasingly see this skill on the list of requirements for BI projects. That’s reason enough for a BI specialist to delve into the various methodologies.
Waterfall is an old and familiar methodology in which the project manager chooses to completely outline the project before it begins. Once the ‘spec’ has been documented, the project is divided into sub-projects and the developers get to work. Waterfall works in a linear fashion. Teams work on parts of the total and are required to follow the specification. Once something is delivered, you never go back to it. The client only sees the final result when the entire project has been completed (preferably, in full accordance with the spec).
Agile is the counterpoint to Waterfall: it makes collaboration more important than documentation. Instead of a fixed end product, sub-areas are defined. The end user and their problems play the leading role in this process. Teams change composition and focus on the sub-areas (user stories), the priority of which shift during development. The client sees partial demos during the development process, and these components can be further refined based on their feedback. Through continual refinement (iteration), Agile delivers solutions that are closer to the client’s wishes.
Agile is a framework that has various interpretations: SCRUM, eXtreme Programming and Kanban are well-known variants. Agile methodologies are characterised by the use of a whiteboard to keep track of tasks. Nowadays, teams often replace the whiteboard with an app (or use an app and whiteboard together). Why would you only work offline when you can also keep track of the data online? It’s very handy to be able to see what members of the team have contributed, what they are working on, and what they still have to deliver.
It’s only natural that an organisation would prefer to hire specialists who know their chosen methodology. Why explain that during the daily SCRUM stand-up each team member tells you what is planned for the day, when you can hire someone who already knows that? If you’re unfamiliar with a methodology, you could try to solve that with creative Google use. Unfortunately, this does not always work; teams are increasingly looking for certified developers.
Master a development methodology
BI specialists would be wise to become proficient in at least one development methodology. SCRUM is the most commonly chosen method for Agile development projects. This method also regularly appears on the list of requirements for BI. It does no harm to read up on the subject in advance. If you have the chance, certification is recommended. You can only obtain a formal SCRUM certification by taking a course taught by a certified SCRUM Trainer; keep that in mind when you are looking for training courses.