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Agile Analytics: A Value-Driven Approach to Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing (Agile Software Development Series) [Paperback]

by Ken W. Collier
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 6, 2011 032150481X 978-0321504814 1

Using Agile methods, you can bring far greater innovation, value, and quality to any data warehousing (DW), business intelligence (BI), or analytics project. However, conventional Agile methods must be carefully adapted to address the unique characteristics of DW/BI projects. In Agile Analytics, Agile pioneer Ken Collier shows how to do just that.


Collier introduces platform-agnostic Agile solutions for integrating infrastructures consisting of diverse operational, legacy, and specialty systems that mix commercial and custom code. Using working examples, he shows how to manage analytics development teams with widely diverse skill sets and how to support enormous and fast-growing data volumes. Collier’s techniques offer optimal value whether your projects involve “back-end” data management, “front-end” business analysis, or both.

  • Part I focuses on Agile project management techniques and delivery team coordination, introducing core practices that shape the way your Agile DW/BI project community can collaborate toward success
  • Part II presents technical methods for enabling continuous delivery of business value at production-quality levels, including evolving superior designs; test-driven DW development; version control; and project automation

Collier brings together proven solutions you can apply right now—whether you’re an IT decision-maker, data warehouse professional, database administrator, business intelligence specialist, or database developer. With his help, you can mitigate project risk, improve business alignment, achieve better results—and have fun along the way.

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Agile Analytics: A Value-Driven Approach to Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing (Agile Software Development Series) + Agile Data Warehouse Design: Collaborative Dimensional Modeling, from Whiteboard to Star Schema + Star Schema The Complete Reference
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Editorial Reviews


“This book does a great job of explaining why and how you would implement Agile Analytics in the real world. Ken has many lessons learned from actually implementing and refining this approach. Business Intelligence is definitely an area that can benefit from this type of discipline.”

—Dale Zinkgraf, Sr. Business Intelligence Architect


“One remarkable aspect of Agile Analytics is the breadth of coverage—from product and backlog management to Agile project management techniques, from self-organizing teams to evolutionary design practices, from automated testing to build management and continuous integration. Even if you are not on an analytics project, Ken’s treatment of this broad range of topics related to products with a substantial data-oriented flavor will be useful for and beyond the analytics community.”

—Jim Highsmith, Executive Consultant, ThoughtWorks, Inc., and author of Agile Project Management


“Agile methods have transformed software development, and now it’s time to transform the analytics space. Agile Analytics provides the knowledge needed to make the transformation to Agile methods in delivering your next analytics projects.”

—Pramod Sadalage, coauthor of Refactoring Databases: Evolutionary Database Design


“This book captures the fundamental strategies for successful business intelligence/analytics projects for the coming decade. Ken Collier has raised the bar for analytics practitioners—are you up to the challenge?”

—Scott Ambler, Chief Methodologist for Agile and Lean, IBM Rational Founder, Agile Data Method


“A sweeping presentation of the fundamentals that will empower teams to deliver high-quality, high-value, working business intelligence systems far more quickly and cost effectively than traditional software development methods.”

—Ralph Hughes, author of Agile Data Warehousing

About the Author

Ken Collier has worked with Agile methods since 2003, and pioneered the integration of Agile methods with data warehousing, business intelligence, and analytics to create the Agile Analytics style. He continues to refine these ideas as technical lead and project manager on several Agile DW/BI project teams. Collier frequently trains DW/BI teams in Agile Analytics, and has been a keynote speaker on the subject at HEDW (Higher Education Data Warehouse) 2011 and multiple TDWI (The Data Warehousing Institute) World Conferences. He is founder and president of KWC Technologies, Inc., and a senior consultant in the Cutter Consortium’s Agile Development and Business Intelligence practice areas.

Product Details

  • Series: Agile Software Development Series
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (August 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 032150481X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321504814
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Agile Development meets Data Warehouse November 11, 2011
The Data Warehousing development arena lags behind the application development area as far as adopting project management and development techniques. Some of the common excuses to not even look at Agile adoption include: Data Warehousing is fundamentally different than application development; The first thing to get abandoned with Agile is data integrity and documentation; Agile is just an excuse to scrap architecture and planning; Agile is just another word for developer laziness. Those are just some of the excuses that I have used recently. I have seen too many 'Agile' projects that have been abandoned after twenty or more three-week iterations when the final mess that was produced was unusable and a maintenance nightmare.

After reading Agile Analytics, however, I am beginning to understand what the author means by the difference between 'doing Agile' and 'being Agile'. Agile techniques, on their own, are not a replacement for Data Warehousing methodology, but rather a complement. On the other side of the Agile fence, I have been involved in several large projects utilizing the waterfall project management strategy that suffered from inevitable scope creep; missed deadlines; missed requirements; building throw-away products that will never provide value just to meet an arbitrary deadline.

The first section of Agile Analytics is geared more to a generalized audience in that it introduces the reader to the broad spectrum of Agile literature and how it applies to Data Warehousing. The second section is geared more to the Agile team members in that it provides them with the tools and frameworks for adjusting on a daily basis to the dynamism and challenges associated with Agile techniques.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn how to "be agile", not just "do agile" January 19, 2012
If your business intelligence team has discussed "going agile", this book can give you practical information to help you get there. It's refreshing to see that business intelligence and analytics professionals can adopt practices typically associated with Java, Ruby, and Objective-C developers.

The book is organized into two sections, management methods and technical methods. Most of the technical methods focus on data modeling and data integration (often referred to as Extract, Transform, and Load, or ETL). While these areas are critical to a successful business intelligence system, my role is most often focused on the presentation layer or BI toolset (such as SAP BusinessObjects). So I personally gravitated toward the first half of the book, management methods.

Ken says more than once that the whole point of agile is to "be agile", not just to "do agile". Unfortunately, "agile" can be overused as the latest management buzzword to dress up "hacking" or "unrealistic deadlines". I was actually surprised to read that agile may not improve delivery times. In the short term, delivery times may increase. But the payoff for agility is projects that more quickly respond to changing requirements and users that receive smaller functional deliveries instead of the "big bang" of the waterfall project death march.

While the book is a well-written and easy to read, I found it necessary to read slowly, chapter by chapter, and reflect on what I had read. The book would easily lend itself to a weekly BI book club, where technicians, users, and management meet weekly to discuss the book one chapter at a time. Recommended reading.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A big disappointment December 12, 2012
By Areader
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very excited when I first came across this book but very disappointed when I read it - to discover that there is no how-to or practical info in the book that a BI project team could apply on their project.

A lot of all the right words and Agile buzz but almost everything is conceptual.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am very pleased to submit this review. I could just say the author delivers.
Good coverage of agile topics and practices including user stories, team work, project automation and how to introduce agility to BI projects.
Even if you think you are constrained by COTS BI/DWH applications, there are great and practical pieces of advice to improve the way agile software configuration management and agile release management work.
No consulting clutter, no obscure concepts. Clear and simple. I clearly identified some of the scenarios mentioned in this book from my experience in business intelligence projects.
BTW, I don't buy Agile 100%... but I do believe agility is needed in our projects and the approach described in this book works for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for DW/BI Professionals February 26, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent reference for anyone trying to improve their DWBI practice and their ability to deliver business value early & often. Very helpful use of examples and references to other Agile texts & authors. Distills several key agile techniques and practices from App Dev and applies them in a DWBI setting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Agile book March 16, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My manager read this book and recommended it to our data engineering team as a reference before we started using Agile for an Analytics project. I haven't completed the book but appreciate how the author discusses the challenges of software development then compares and contrasts that with database projects which have tended to be late adopters of Agile.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy understandable introduction into agile approach to Data...
The book provides quick syntethic walkthrough about current apprach to agility of Data Warehousing delivery. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ludek B.Jankovsky
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction and detail on agile analytics
Agile Analytics is a good book, especially for someone new to agile BI development. I recommend this book to anyone looking for ways to bridge the gap between agile development and... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Samuel Denson
4.0 out of 5 stars Agile Practices for All Data-Centered System Development
This book aims to provide an adaptation of the Agile development approach to the specific characteristics of Datawarehouse (DW) and Business Intelligence (BI) systems development. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Methods & Tools Software Development Magazine
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many buzzwords
I had this book for a Data Warehousing class. The book is full of buzzwords. If you are buzzword person, you might like the language style. Read more
Published on February 24, 2012 by B. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Agile comes to Data Warehousing/BI
Kens' book of applying Agile concepts and methods to Data warehousing and Business Intelligence is a "must have" for anyones technical library. Read more
Published on October 14, 2011 by James Slebodnick
5.0 out of 5 stars Agile comes to BI & Data Warehousing
I've worked with Ken for nearly a decade and he really understands Agile delivery in general and Agile Analytics in particular. Read more
Published on August 17, 2011 by Jim Highsmith
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