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Skunk Works Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2011 9:37 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Skunk Works






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Post #1049787
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 3:20 AM
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Hmmm... I spent ages building a prototype and just got depressed. My MD looked at me and said "why would we want that". Without his buy in I couldn't get the resources committed to cleaning up the data input areas necessary to ensure the whole project worked.

3 years on and lo and behold, suddenly the business has caught up with me, which was nice in a way, because I had a load of stuff ready to go and scored dozens of wins by recycling old work.

Now I have to weed through reams of code I've forgotten I wrote to try and tie everything together (again), and every minute I spend doing it is accompanied with the thought "I TOLD you we needed this 3 years ago, why couldn't you bloody implement it then". This is quite irritating.

Take home: If your MD is getting the results they think they need from a bunch of people hacking spreadsheets then you're going to get very depressed. That doesn't mean you're wrong.
Post #1049881
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 3:38 AM


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Thanks for the reference to the article Steve.
As a BI developer, I find it a very interesting read, but damn, it is quite a long article

But I've always found that the BI tools from SQL Server are user-friendly and dynamic enough to quickly build prototypes or small scale projects.




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Post #1049891
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 6:32 AM
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If the BI project is not being driven top down your engaging in nothing more than mental masturbation.

Doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, because as noted above, the experience might come in useful in the future. It's also a good way to stay busy if you hit a slow period.

Just don't expect anyone at the top to have read the same trade journals or online articles you have...

Post #1049999
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 7:08 AM
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We call those 'underground projects' here. Everybody from top to bottom in the company knows that they happen. As long as our regular work is getting done, management turns a blind eye to them and certain people and groups are actively encouraged to start them up. I suppose that means they're no longer 'underground', but there is no official support or allocation of resources until something demonstrates clear value. Sometimes I think that we get more real innovation out of these things than the formal R&D projects.
Post #1050034
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 7:56 AM
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If the BI project is not being driven top down your engaging in nothing more than mental masturbation.


If you wait for your MD to have the same insights you've already got then you're not giving the company good service, indeed you might as well spend your time involved in literal masturbation.

MDs are stupid, from the point of view of what IT does, it's very hard to get them to see your point of view until their priorities are the same as yours. I say until, because I don't think anything I've done has been out of step with the needs of the business (aside from the Brian Blessed sat nav, but we don't talk about that).
Post #1050078
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 8:27 AM


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Even if you build what you believe to be the perfect BI application that presents every posible key preformance indicator, you can't actually expose it to end users without upper mangement's approval. That would be kind of like a medical lab technician building a vaccine for cancer in his basement without anyone's approval or oversight; how would he validate the end result and what would he do with it once it's "done"?

I think that every database developer or data analyst has this library of canned SQL scripts that we've used in the past to run ad-hoc reports against production for management. We know they work, because we've supplied the result to management in the past with positive feedback. If you want to get your feet wet with the new BI gadgets in SQL Server, you can intall Analysis Services or SSRS on your local workstation and build an OLAP cube or report off of this.

Just remember the topic from yesterday, it's not a good idea to be copying data from the production database into other external data stores without prior approval. We hear stories all the time about developers or contractors who lose their laptop, and then the bombshell drops that it contained a dump of sensitive client or customer data. Also a "skunkworks" database server probably won't have the same security controls in place as the production server, because you're doing it behind the back of those people who need to know. If there were a security breach, there is no doubt who's head would get axed.
Post #1050097
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2011 4:59 PM


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Getting approval from management for a little R&D is a good idea. Once they then get exposed to a successful project from your R&D, the buy in for further development using the tools is much easier.



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