Project management, keep it plain and simple

That project management plays a very useful role in IT related projects is nothing new. But what about project management in a more Business Intelligence driven context? In the coming article I would like to convince you that project management can be something very simple and the only thing you’ll need is a healthy point of view.

Now a days you’ll hear a lot of these buzzwords in the hallways of the big companies: Kanban boards, Sprints, Agile, Stand-up meetings, Scrum masters and so on. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, at first this topic can be very overwhelming and something scary to get started with. But if you look at the core principles of project management, it’s nothing more than having an organized methodology to keep track of your work and having someone who oversees the assignments of the tasks/follow-ups.

If you follow all the project management guidelines, you’ll be able to manage the most complex and enormous projects. Whilst most of these guidelines will be most likely overkill for a BI related project. This doesn’t mean that project management methodologies are completely obsolete for BI, in the contrary. You’ll just need to have a healthy look at which items could be useful for your projects. For instance: Weekly sprints with a daily follow-up call for a small size BI team. Is most likely to be overkill. This would create more oversight than it will add value to the team. But on the other hand, a Kanban board for the BI team could be very useful to keep track on the pending tasks and to keep a backlog.

Depending on your choice of which PM building blocks to use, you perhaps also want to use some tools to facilitate the follow-up. This might push you in the direction of “Azure Dev-Ops”, “Trello”, “Jira”, …. Or even just follow-up in a excel sheet or a OneNote page. The one thing to keep in mind is that these tools should help you to do your tasks faster and easier.

Some of these tools have the most fancy and extensive features, which you most likely won’t even use. So be careful when it comes to project management tools. Depending on what you want to achieve and what the approach of your team/organization will be, try to use a tool that adds value and doesn’t create more work.

This reminds me of a quote which my mentor had framed up in his office at the time when I was still in high school doing my internship. The quote said, “A fool with a tool, is still a fool”. Which at the time I didn’t really understand? But today the meaning has become clearer. The tool is not the almighty solution, it’s your methodology and your organization which is facilitated by a tool that creates a success story.

If there is one thing I could pass along as a piece of advice in regards of project management “Keep it plain and simple” and your team will thank you afterwards.  

Mickaël Vangramberen

SAP BI-consultant