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VSarkiss (704)

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I haven't really taken the time to set this up, but you can look at my home node [] on Perl Monks.

Journal of VSarkiss (704)

Thursday September 12, 2002
09:57 AM

Designing in a vacuum

[ #7695 ]

Yesterday my client, a major metropolitan newspaper, told me they'd like to get an overall architecture designed for the ETL piece of the data warehouse I'm working on. (ETL stands for Extract, Transform, Load: it's how you get data into a warehouse.) So I wrote up a very general diagram and algorithm, and pointed out I really couldn't go any further: They've told me hardly anything about the source systems, and I've never worked in the newspaper business before. But I was told I need to finish up the document.

Well, now I'm writing up all possible ways of loading data. It's general enough to be a "HOWTO of data warehousing". Maybe I'll contact O'Reilly later to see if I can turn it into a book....

A hint for all the managers: you can't design something without knowing what it's supposed to do. It's usually called "requirements".

Clients, gotta love 'em.

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  • I was in a roughly similar situation once where I was tasked with creating a program to summarize data in a system and dump the output for another process to grab, but I knew nothing about the systems involved. In this case, my ignorance paid off. I went to my boss and asked him what I should do. He had me make appointments with everyone involved and find out what their systems did, how they did them, what data formats they used, et cetera.

    It was a long process, but eventually I wound up with a specs d

    • Having worked with some of the big 5 4 3 consulting firms, I suspect that their unwillingness to appear ignorant by asking basic questions is a factor in some of the huge cost overruns that we've seen reported.

      Humility pays off.