Best practices for managing complex DBT projects

When you hear someone mention a DBT (Database Technology) project, they’re most likely referring to the process of designing, developing, and maintaining a database.

The actual organization or sector, whilst adding unique needs and requirements, doesn’t actually change too much how the project should be run, as they almost always all involve an enormous amount of data that will require integrating with other systems.

That’s one thing that never changes!

Due to the complexity of DBT projects, it’s important to have a solid understanding of best practices for managing them, which is what we’ll be talking about today.

One of the main common complexities when running a DBT project is the need to handle multiple stakeholders.

Stakeholders could come from anywhere but will most typically be from internal departments such as IT, finance, and ops, as well as external partners like vendors and customers.

Coordinating the needs and requirements of all stakeholders can be a significant challenge, especially when there’s conflicting demands (which happens a lot more than you’d think).

Another issue often encountered when running DBT projects is the need to integrate data from multiple sources. This can include data from CRM’s, ERP, and SCM systems, as well as data from external sources such as public data sets.

The integration of data from multiple sources can be time-consuming and, if not careful, also introduces data quality and security issues.

All the above are closely related and need to be addressed in parallel.

The stakeholder management and data integration are two key areas that need to be handled with care and attention to detail. A good understanding of the organization and its data needs is crucial to successfully manage these complexities.

Identifying potential project complexities

Identifying potential complexities has to be the first step in managing a multi-faceted DBT project.

By identifying potential issues early, your technical staff can take proactive measures to mitigate them, massively increasing the chances of project success.

One common technique for identifying project complexities is process mapping.

Process mapping

It involves creating a visual representation of the project’s processes and then identifying potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies.

Process mapping can help your dev teams understand the flow of data and identify areas where integration with other systems will be required.

It also helps identify areas that are prone to errors, delays, or other issues that can impact the project’s success.

Another technique that’s really useful for identifying project complexities is something called stakeholder analysis.

Stakeholder analysis

It involves defining all the stakeholders involved in a project, their roles, responsibilities and most importantly, their level of influence.

By understanding the needs and expectations of each stakeholder, it becomes much easier to anticipate and address potential conflicts or issues. It can also help to identify potential roadblocks to project success and as well as develop the strategies to mitigate them.

Both of these techniques are vital in understanding a project’s complexities.

Process mapping can provide the holistic view of the project’s workflow, identifying potential issues that need to be addressed whilst stakeholder analysis helps to define the needs of different stakeholders and anticipate issues related to them.

Both techniques should be used in parallel, as they complement each other, providing a full 360 degree understanding.

Planning and organizing

Effective planning and organization is the next step that’s essential in managing DBT projects.

By creating a detailed project plan, establishing clear roles and responsibilities, and implementing a project management system, you can ensure it stays on track and that resources are always (or almost always) used efficiently.

The first step in achieving that is in creating a detailed project plan.

It should include a clear project timeline, a list of deliverables and milestones, and a description of the resources that will likely be required.

It should also include contingencies for potential issues that may arise during the project, such as delays or budget overruns.

Whilst we’ve discussed identifying roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, it’s also important at this stage to take a much more proactive stance, actually establishing and defining them as well.

It’ll likely involve identifying team members who’ll be working on the project and then scoping out their specific tasks and duties.

It’s also important to establish clear lines of communication and decision-making processes, to ensure that everyone is aware of what they should be doing or reporting to so they can work effectively as a team.

Implementing a project management system is possibly the most crucial for DBT projects.

As you likely know, there are several project management methodologies available, such as Agile, Waterfall, and Scrum.

Each methodology has its own advantages and disadvantages and should be chosen based on the specific requirements of the project. The project management system should include tools for monitoring progress, tracking tasks, and managing resources.

Managing data

Managing and integrating data from multiple sources is a critical aspect of DBT projects and the bit that everyone here at DoubleCloud gets most passionate about (for obvious reasons).

Without the right architecture and processes in place, data integration can be time-consuming and can also introduce data quality and security issues.

That’s why it’s so important to have a solid understanding of best practices for managing data within DBT projects.

One strategy for managing data in a DBT project is data warehousing.

That involves creating a central repository for storing and managing data from multiple sources.

A data warehouse also helps to ensure data consistency and integrity, as well as improve data access and performance.

It also allows for the integration of data from multiple sources and the ability to conduct data analysis and reporting.

If it’s a route you’re considering then we’d love to have a chat with you about our managed services, to make the entire thing cheaper, easier and more efficient for you.

Alongside a decent warehouse, data governance has to play a huge role.

Data governance involves establishing policies, procedures, and standards for managing all the data throughout its lifecycle.

It’s there to help ensure data quality and security, as well as compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. It also enables the ability to track and manage data lineage and metadata.

Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluating the progress and performance of DBT projects is the essential step that needs to run alongside all the others.

Only by implementing techniques for monitoring progress and identifying potential issues is it possible to ensure that the project stays on track and that resources are all used to their best effect.

A great way to do this is through the use of dashboards.

Dashboards can provide a visual representation of key project metrics, such as progress towards milestones, budget and resource utilization and other performance indicators. They can be used to quickly identify potential issues, such as delays or budget overruns in time for corrective action to be taken.

On top of dashboards, it’s important to be able to define the metrics you’ll be accounting for.

Metrics are quantitative measures of project performance, such as cost per unit, return on investment, and customer satisfaction. They can be used to evaluate project performance as well as identify areas for improvement, track progress, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions.

We’ve found that best practice for evaluating project performance and identifying areas for improvement always include conducting post-project reviews and implementing continuous improvement processes.

Post-project reviews involve conducting an analysis of the project’s performance and identifying areas for improvement, whilst continuous improvement processes involve making ongoing adjustments to the project based on feedback and performance data.

Managing a multi-faceted DBT project can be challenging, no one’s trying to deny it but by understanding and implementing best practices for identifying and overcoming predictable complexities; through thorough planning and organizing and effective management of your data using up to date monitoring and evaluating processes, you can massively increase the chances of project success.

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