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Agile by Design by Rachel Alt-Simmons

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Chapter 11Collecting Knowledge Through Spikes

Quite often, a team might be faced with a new architecture, design, or technology that it must assess or explore before team members can begin to work on their project. Within agile, this exploratory activity is called a spike, although terms such as prototype, proof-of-concept, and experiment are also appropriate. The spike is a small, timeboxed experiment that helps the team better understand what they're working with. In analytic projects, data spikes are useful in providing a high-level assessment of what information is available and the quality of it. As you start your data spike, engage with your business and IT partners early. In Figure 11.1 we can see that data knowledge gathering considerations are complex: In addition to identifying what data sources exist, we need to find the people that understand the quality of the data, and can identify ways to extract it.

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Figure 11.1 Data Knowledge Gathering Considerations

With Data, Well Begun Is Half Done

One of the biggest barriers in analytics—regardless of the analytic maturity in your organization—is the time needed to collect, access, and assess the data. As an example, one analytics group assigned six people to a project to collect and assess the data: It took them six months to conclude that they were missing critical data, which resulted in the team abandoning the project. ...

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