At the completion of each phase of a Business Intelligence initiative, you should spend time to reflect on what you accomplished during the course of the initiative. This is a valuable opportunity to identify what you did well, what you would not do again, and what you can improve.
That dialog should be an open and honest communication between all participants. Negative opinions should be stated but don’t let them take over the whole meeting. Allow everyone to state their unbiased opinion, address it, and move on. There are five main questions you want to ask when closing out a project:
- What questions am I able to answer that I could not before? This will help you determine the value of your project. Were you able to provide value to your end users? If not, take heart and use this as a lesson moving forward to spend more time determining what questions you are answering during each Business Intelligence milestone.
- Knowing what I know now, is there anything I would do differently? Each new milestone for a Business Intelligence initiative should provide staff the opportunity to grow and improve. Document these improvements and evaluate each subsequent milestone with focus on a few small improvements. Determine the effectiveness of these changes.
- Is there any process that you felt provided no value? Everyone's time is valuable. If there are any parts of the project that were not a good use of time, scrap them. Spend time on things that will provide value. Remember the Pareto Principle - 20% of the activities provide 80% of the value. Focus on that 20%.
- Does everyone understand how to use the solution? There is no greater frustration than spending hours of your time creating something that no one uses. Spend time discussing staff adoption. If it is low, make sure to dedicate time in upcoming milestones to train and market the solution internally to your staff.
- What went well? It is important to celebrate the team's accomplishments and to assess how you did on each phase. This will allow you grow as an organization and be more successful moving forward.
Each phase of a BI initiative has unique challenges but also helps to lay the foundation for the next phase. Taking time to harness and share what was learned is the hallmark of continuous improvement and top performing organizations. DSK's 5 step process for business intelligence encourages a simple yet effective system to execute BI milestones and help Associations Use Data to Increase Revenue as detailed in a previous blog post.