Agile is a modern approach to business intelligence, it requires a new way of thinking and working within the current company culture. Agile can make company members feel nervous and threatened, but by involving the user during the course of each iteration you’re more likely to achieve business intelligence success.

Agile Method

The Facts

The meaning of Agile associated with business intelligence is taken from the agile manifesto. In 2001 a group of software developers came together to re-examine the approach and they came up with four core values:

  • Individuals and interactions over process and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

They recognise that “while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

As stated in our blog Why Waterfall isn’t right for your Project 39% of Agile business intelligence projects were successful compared to only 11% of waterfall projects, making agile 4 times more likely to yield successful BI projects

User Adoption

Agile adoption is typically met with a strong resistance to change within an organisation, employees cling to old rules and routines out of habit, others feel their job security is at risk and the results are a complete rejection of change. Almost always agile methodology is viewed upon as a direct risk to money and power making agile adoption problems cultural and organisational. In order to minimise or prevent these problems a company is required to change their environment to allow open communication and emphasis on user engagement

What makes Agile successful?

The lifecycle and success of an Agile BI project is determined by these 10 factors:

  1. Active user involvement is imperative
  2. The team must be empowered to make decisions
  3. Requirements evolve but the timescale is fixed
  4. Capture requirements at a high level; lightweight and visual
  5. Develop small, incremental releases and iterate
  6. Focus on frequent delivery of products
  7. Complete each feature before moving on the next
  8. Apply the 80/20 rule
  9. Testing is integrated throughout the project lifecycle – test early and often
  10. Collaborative and cooperative approach between all stakeholders is essential


The transition to Agile is difficult, but with strong leadership and user engagement it can alleviate some of the fear that accompanies major change and remove potential errors. Any business intelligence project can succeed in Agile however, what dictates if it takes off or stalls out are the organisational and cultural constraints of the company.

October 8, 2015