Data Warehousing and Reporting Using Agile Methods

DATA WAREHOUSING AND REPORTING USING AGILE METHODS

"This was a tough challenge, with really tight deadlines, and the team came through it with amazing results. "
- Federal Client
"This was a tough challenge, with really tight deadlines, and the team came through it with amazing results. "
- Federal Client

CHALLENGE

While the support team was sized for a typical delivery year, the rapid onset of the covid-19 pandemic presented the unique challenge of supporting standard operations in addition to new, high-priority requirements, all at the current staffing levels.

SOLUTION

Our team shifted from their previous waterfall project management approach to agile delivery to achieve the increased efficiency and flexibility they needed. Practices adopted included:

  • Kanban

    The project team explored the viability of different agile methodologies, including scrum, extreme programming (xp), and kanban. The team ultimately selected kanban, as it would best allow us to clearly visualize the teams work-in-progress in a single place, identify and rapidly resolve any blockers and bottlenecks that arose, and enable us to effectively measure and improve upon lead times. Plus, kanban would require less training than other methodologies, and was already supported by the clients existing tools. We were able to quickly shift to kanban and see tangible benefits in a matter of weeks.

  • Agile Ceremonies

    Daily standups, lasting 10 minutes or less, to discuss current kanban activities, review new high-priority items on the to do list, and resolve obstacles, or blockers, to finishing tasks. Reviewing the kanban board daily ensures that priority tasks and blockers are addressed quickly and efficiently.

    Monthly backlog grooming sessions with clients and team to achieve prioritization and approval for ranked work items. Each workstream has a consistent flow of work items to improve team efficiency and ensure seamless delivery to the client. Moreover, as covid-19 reporting requirements were defined, backlog lists were updated to prioritize the highest priority items for delivery to the client.

    Bi-monthly retrospectives provide a forum for team members to discuss what's working, what's not working, and areas for improvement. Our team immediately implemented any feedback to enhance team processes and add value to client priorities.

  • Integrated Agile Toolchain

    The team adopted an integrated suite of agile tools, including jira, zephyr, and gitlab to manage and prioritize work, streamline testing and reporting activities, and ensure transparency to client stakeholders for our teams efforts.

IMPACT

  • Expanded Analytics and Reporting Capabilities

    Adopting agile methods improved our flexibility and increased our throughput, enabling us to better assist our client in addressing rapidly evolving priorities. As a result, we delivered a number of new analytics and reporting solutions in the form of power bi dashboards to improve data quality and support data-driven decision-making for senior staff throughout the agency.

  • Increased Efficiency and Throughput

    Due to increased efficiency and throughput, the team was able to deliver greater business value to our client and accomplish more work with the same team size; this was marked by a 41% increase in jira tickets completed per month in the first year, and a 26% increase in the second year.