Often the conceptual formulation of a business intelligence project is very simple. "Wouldn't it be great if we could track out net return by product or customer?" As the project develops the definitions and business rules often get mired down in complexity. The business sponsor is really needs to drive the project rather than allow it to expand into a complex formulation which is accurate to the penny.
This simple formulation can lead to a very complex project unless the vision of what is needed is driven by a business sponsor, in partnership with IT. I believe the complexity arises in bridging the communications gap between the business and IT.
I recall a project many years ago that the VP Sales wanted to track the "Net-Net" of every deal the salesmen proposed. The idea was to compare the proposal with the current price of the commodity on the London Metals Exchange. This calculation was very complex because of different currencies and many locations around the world. The key to success of the project was the VP drove the project and eliminated the complexity devised by the lower level people who wanted it accurate to three decimal points. He knew it would be an estimate but would be a powerful decision making tool. The project was saved from drowning in complexity by a determined sponsor.
I think a sponsor who can hold onto the original vision and creating momentum. The sponsor needs support from key project members who share the vision. I think often the problem is that the concept is new to the organization and people resist the change. One way of resisting the change is to add complexity.
I recall I wanted to add a second bathroom at my cottage. I really wanted just a toilet and a sink. My simple vision quickly got expanded into adding a whole new wing to the cottage. I failed to hold on to my vision and the project became huge and stalled. On reflection, I allowed my vision got overwhelmed by complexity. If I had stuck to my vision, I might already have a second bathroom at my cottage. You may say that was a scope issue but it sure felt like the project was becoming more complex.
How many projects have we been involved in that got driven into complexity and the original vision was lost in the details?