Documenting a BI Project: a Necessary and Important Step

Documenting a BI Project: a Necessary and Important Step

Whether it’s to give your memory a helping hand or to facilitate knowledge sharing between colleagues, documentation helps to simplify the management of your BI projects. Admittedly, it can sometimes seem laborious and arduous, but it’s an essential part of ensuring the long-term success of your BI projects. Documentation should be seen as an integral part of the project lifecycle, particularly in business intelligence, where complexity is often part of the project itself!

What does it mean to document a BI project?

Documenting a BI project means systematically recording all the stages of a project: the decisions made and the reasons for them, the data sources, the analysis models created, the results obtained… In other words, it means creating a written record, which can include visuals, that covers the entire project from conception to deployment.

Why document a BI project?

At every stage of a project, documentation saves time by preserving and sharing the knowledge acquired throughout the project, thus facilitating team collaboration (especially when several departments are involved). It promotes transparency, organization and accountability to the customer. It can also be used for:

  • Audit and compliance
  • Training and integration of new resources
  • As a tool for continuous process improvement

How do you document a BI project?

There are many ways to document a project, and which one(s) you use depends on a number of factors, including your needs (such as the size of your company or team, collaboration requirements, integration with other tools you already use, or the scope of the project) and your preferences.

There are solutions made specifically for this need, such as Confluence and Jira, but tools like OneNote or Excel can do the job just fine for starters. Once you are more used to documenting your projects, you will be able to assess whether you need a tool with more advanced features.

What needs to be documented in a BI project:

  • In a few lines, the project overview, context and objective;
  • Data sources, modeling and overall architecture;
  • Tools used at each stage;
  • Desired metrics, analysis methods;
  • Reports and dashboards, mock-ups for design choices;
  • Minutes of follow-up meetings with a list of action items identified;
  • Un résumé des conclusions tirées tout au long du projet :  
    • Challenges (constraints and decisions)
    • Successes
    • Possible improvements

If the BI project evolves over time, it’s important to ensure that the documentation also evolves in parallel. Remember, BI project documentation is an integral part of the project!

In conclusion

Documentation remains a fundamental part of the smooth running and success of your BI projects. It is important to take the time to create and update it as the project progresses. This will enable you to collect and preserve the knowledge acquired throughout the project, while facilitating team collaboration and ensuring the durability of the solutions implemented. Whatever the method or tools used, it is possible to start small and keep in mind that this is a constantly evolving process.

Do you have any questions about your business intelligence project? Don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts for support.

Documenting a BI Project: a Necessary and Important Step