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.