One of the things I noticed in myself and others is how quickly we rush to solutions. In a business intelligence project, rather than finding out the business questions the client has, we rush to designing reports. In the process we narrow our solution much to quickly. If we explored more fully the questions the client might have the solution might be able to answer many more questions than the initial report we design which will then reflect how we structure the underlying data.
I think one of the difficulties is thinking in a multi-dimensional world. The exercise of thinking of information organized by multi-dimensions is difficult for people to visualize. However a report format is relatively easy to visualize.
However the report is not the only problem. Most of us in the IT business are great problem solvers and love to solve problems. Unfortunately we sometimes are already designing a solution before we really understand the business requirement. In addition the client thinks of his issue in terms of what kind of report or spreadsheet I need. Unfortunately a report or spread sheet in two dimensional.
I think before we rush to designing reports, we should work on a logical data model which deals with the multidimensional nature of the business problem and questions. We can consider how these things fit together. The next step would then would be to think about how to answer the business questions.
How many of us have rush to report layouts or demo reports before we understand the business problem? I think we are so attracted by the lure of the technology we sometimes end up in the wrong place. However using agile methods can really help us avoid getting stuck on the initial solution.
I do not think there is any simple solution to the lure of rushing to solution. The main idea of this blog is to make us all more aware of the temptation to rush to solution. Let us all resolve to understand the business questions more fully and help our clients think about questions and not reports.