Data Warehousing Project - Requirement Gathering

Data Warehousing > Data Warehouse Design > Requirement Gathering

Task Description

The first thing that the project team should engage in is gathering requirements from end users. Because end users are typically not familiar with the data warehousing process or concept, the help of the business sponsor is essential. Requirement gathering can happen as one-to-one meetings or as Joint Application Development (JAD) sessions, where multiple people are talking about the project scope in the same meeting.

The primary goal of this phase is to identify what constitutes as a success for this particular phase of the data warehouse project. In particular, end user reporting / analysis requirements are identified, and the project team will spend the remaining period of time trying to satisfy these requirements.

Associated with the identification of user requirements is a more concrete definition of other details such as hardware sizing information, training requirements, data source identification, and most importantly, a concrete project plan indicating the finishing date of the data warehousing project.

Based on the information gathered above, a disaster recovery plan needs to be developed so that the data warehousing system can recover from accidents that disable the system. Without an effective backup and restore strategy, the system will only last until the first major disaster, and, as many data warehousing DBA's will attest, this can happen very quickly after the project goes live.

Time Requirement

2 - 8 weeks.


  • A list of reports / cubes to be delivered to the end users by the end of this current phase.
  • An updated project plan that clearly identifies resource loads and milestone delivery dates.

Possible Pitfalls

This phase often turns out to be the trickiest phase of the data warehousing implementation. The reason is that because data warehousing by definition includes data from multiple sources spanning many different departments within the enterprise, there are often political battles that center on the willingness of information sharing. Even though a successful data warehouse benefits the enterprise, there are occasions where departments may not feel the same way. As a result of unwillingness of certain groups to release data or to participate in the data warehousing requirement definition, the data warehouse effort either never gets off the ground, or could not start in the direction originally defined.

When this happens, it would be ideal to have a strong business sponsor. If the sponsor is at the CXO level, she can often exert enough influence to make sure everyone cooperates.

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