User stories and effective Business Intelligence deployment

14. 11. 17 John Chapman

What are user stories?

A user story is a tool used … to capture a description of a software feature from an end-user perspective. The user story describes the type of user, what they want and why. A user story helps to create a simplified description of a requirement.

Why user stories?

In Business Intelligence implementations there are a multitude of options for the preparation of reports. The BIRST software solution, for example, provides six ways for delivery of this information.

Yet where to start? If this is a new implementation of a BI reporting solution, the user is unaware of the options available. Asking a question such as ‘What do you want to see’ they are likely to answer ‘Well what can it do?’ which will result in a circular discussion.

Instead by following the user story option, the individual says what their need is. As the specialist provider of Business Intelligence we interpret this and build an appropriate solution for walk through.

An example

The Services Director at Touchstone says

I want to …..

see the services revenue forecast and margin forecast by month for the coming six months with a drill down by business unit. The information content including cost centre, employee name, client name, expected revenue, expected margin, month and year of booking. The report to work like a pivot table in MS Excel where I can move the data around to give a multi-dimensional analysis

So that

I can see if we are going to meet our revenue targets and margin targets or whether sales effort is needed.

What this means?

A list of user stories is prepared. These are prioritised and a budget allocated against each report. One by one the reports are developed, presented to the user for feedback and then refined. Upfront we agree a fixed number of reviews and a time-line for the overall development. At the end of each of the reviews, the report is handed over to use in a live environment. In this way the elapsed delivery time is reduced. We do not wait until all the reports are written. You get the business value quickly.

So consider for yourselves, what are the critical reports you need now? Write down a user story for each starting with

I want to …

So that …

TouchstoneBI will interpret this into how best to deliver the information to you.

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John Chapman

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John Chapman