After the business signs the solution proposal, the next step is to create a project plan that covers as many project details as possible. This plan should clearly document all expectations from all the stakeholders, so the business customer knows what to expect from you and what you need from them. It is a good idea to involve your business and IT stakeholders in developing the project plan as much as you can, because the plan is not really a plan without your stakeholder understanding and support. The project plan should contain the elements described below.
A data warehouse project plan is not a typical IT project plan (refer Data Warehouse house is unique). Therefore, a data warehouse project has several unique characteristics:
- Data warehouse objectives are typically defined in general statements. It is important that the requirements for data warehouse development not be too specific. If they are too specific, they may influence the way the data warehouse is designed, to the point of excluding factors that seem irrelevant but may be key to the analysis being conducted.
- One of the main reasons for defining the scope of a project is to prevent constant change throughout the lifecycle as new requirements arise. In data warehousing, defining the scope requires special care. It is still true that you want to prevent your target from constantly changing as new requirements arise. However, two keys to a valuable data warehouse are its flexibility and its ability to handle queries that are unknown at design time. Therefore, when you define the scope, it is essential to recognize that the delivered data warehouse will likely be somewhat broader than indicated by the initial requirements. (refer Dimensional Model can be extensible and flexible and Data Warehouse can provide universal applications)
- Because of the iterative nature of a data warehouse project, the project scope may only cover the most important or urgent subject areas. However, keep in mind that high-level data warehouse design should include all business subject areas.
- The primary purpose of a data warehouse is for data analysis -- not to mix operational objectives with the data warehouse’s informational objectives.
The data warehouse infrastructure plan describes the software, hardware, data network, and other elements that will support the data warehouse. The infrastructure plan is based on the results of the gap analysis and on the project budget.
As soon as the customer approves the project proposal, assemble the entire project team that has been selected for the solution. The skills and personnel plan should include the following details:
- A staffing plan that describes the required skills, detailed responsibilities, and schedules for each team member. There should always be a backup for the key team member.
- An official definition of exceptions, such as changes in project scope or in the project team members.
A data warehouse team should typically include:
- A project manager, who is responsible for managing and coordinating the solution engagement between you and the customer.
- Domain experts, who provide business domain knowledge for the data warehouse design.
- End users, who are responsible for testing and verifying the warehouse design and implementations.
- A data warehouse architect, who is the key person in data discovery and data warehouse design. It is important to have at least one experienced data warehouse architect involved in a successful data warehouse project. This person usually comes from the warehouse solution provider side.
- A data modeler, who is responsible for both logical and physical warehouse data modeling.
- An ETL developer, who is responsible for ETL design and development.
This is a list of roles; one person can have multiple roles in a data warehouse project. For example, the data warehouse architect and data modeler can be the same person, and the domain experts and end users can be the same group of people. You can also refer Business Intelligence organization for some more details.
Design, development Plan
Develop a comprehensive plan for the Data Warehouse design and development, plan of the warehouse solution, according to available skills and experience. All the technical members should be involved in creating this part of the project plan, because only they know what it will take to complete the project. The plan should include:
- A comprehensive list of required hardware, software, and documents
- A detailed list of deliverables the customer will provide (such as organization charts, data, formats, and so on) at different stages or timeframes of the project
- A comprehensive schedule for project design, development, and testing activities
- A detailed list of deliverables you will provide (including documentation, training material, and the solution itself) at different stages or timeframes of the project
- A comprehensive list of project dependencies, assumptions, and risks, with backup plans.
Testing and Implementation plan
The testing and implementation plan will be including
- The final deliverables of the project and their deployment schedules.
- Plans for educating end users about the solution.
- A Testing schedule. (refer Data Warehouse testing is different)
User Training Plan
User education is part of every stage of the data warehouse project. Involving your end users in the solution development process is important, because your customer may correct mistakes at an earlier stage, and the customer also learns a great deal about how to use the solution. The user training plan should include:
- A list of end users assigned to the project and their project schedules.
- A list of major checkpoint project deliverables (including user documents) and schedules.
- A schedule of formal user education presentations.
Financial and technical risk assessment
A data warehousing project is a high-risk business if there are not enough experienced and skilled persons involved. Have experienced colleagues in your own organization review the data warehouse project plan to make sure:
- The project technical risks are reasonably low.
- The project schedule is practical.
- The project will be profitable.