Anil Saini

Anil Saini

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A Tableau Dashboard Lifecycle

Posted by Anil Saini on Oct 19, 2018 11:24:00 AM

A dashboard is a vital tool to understand the business performance of an organization. From a single interface, decision makers have access to key performance indicators (KPIs) of their business. The successful implementation of a dashboard is complex and requires a step-by-step process — a methodology that considers all aspects of the project lifecycle.

A basic dashboard development process would cover the following aspects:

 

Stage 1:- Functional Knowledge

Functional knowledge is where it all begins. In this stage, the business analyst (BA) works closely with business stakeholders to understand the current functionality and terminology of the business. This helps is chalking out what exactly the dashboard should be able to deliver.

 

Stage 2:- Requirement Analysis

Once we understand the functionality of the business, it’s time for requirement analysis. At this stage, the BA and architects analyze and pin down certain specifics before proceeding to develop a Tableau dashboard:

  • Dashboard requirement
  • How data flows in the existing system, and the environment where data is situated
  • Layout and blueprint/mock-ups of dashboards
  • The scope of the dashboard
  • Value added to the business
  • Required tools for development/testing etc and their cost

Also, this is the phase where the development team should ask themselves a mandatory question, “Is our team capable of fulfilling these requirements?”

 

Stage 3:- Plan

The planning phase revolves around creating a roadmap for end-to-end development and delivery. First, the project team members must be identified and their roles clearly defined. In this phase, the project manager and team lead are involved in determining the:

  • Timeline and number of resource needed and their roles (BA, developers, QA)
  • Allocation of work and leave plan(buffer resources)
  • Dependencies and challenges
  • Methodologies to follow: Agile, Scrum, Waterfall etc and divide them accordingly

 

Stage 4:- Technical Specs

In this phase, we must understand the technical requirements of the project which includes Tableau desktop/Tableau server on which the dashboards need to be developed, data source setup and flow of data from transactional DB to reporting DB, testing tool etc.

Once these have been decided, the BA and technical architect need to understand the

  • data mapping - from the mockup dashboard to the tables and fields present in the database
  • the relationship between different tables in case of relational databases(RDBMS)

 

The last step here is to document these specs and get them verified by the client or the technical team.

In short, this phase includes:

  • All the technical details
  • Joins, relations, and SQL
  • Credentials to access the database, reporting server credentials to publish them
  • KPIs  to be measured and business logic

 

Stage 5:- Development

With all the information and understanding in place, dashboard development starts with:

  • SQL developer to generate the query
  • BI developer to design and develop the reports/dashboards
  • front-end developer to embed them in web-portal

This phase involves,

  • Connecting databases and building dimension models
  • Development of sheets & dashboards
  • Publishing them to server
  • Look and feel and appropriate filters on reports/dashboards etc.
  • Configure scheduling, refresh, and security
  • If required, customization like embedding in web-portal, passing filters from the web page, UI developer to develop web page where dashboard needs to be embedded.
  • Unit testing

 

Stage 6:- QA and Testing

Once developed, it’s time for the QA to check:

  • UI and functionality testing as per mock-up
  • Data validation and SQL testing
  • Testing schedules, jobs, and security testing
  • Testing of customization applied
  • Performance testing:- Report opening time, with/without the webpage

 

Stage 7:- UAT

(User Acceptance Testing) UAT is a crucial part of any BI project. It is the first time when business and IT together see the results of the project. This is where any necessary changes can be made to ensure that the final product is actually valuable for the end users.

This phase majorly includes data validation and functionality testing by the business user.

 

Stage 8:- Production & Support

Once the dashboard has been built and tested by the user, it is deployed into production. Security requirements must be implemented in the production environment. Integration within a corporate network environment must be completed, including considerations for portal frameworks etc. And after the product goes live and gains actual user traffic, monitoring, support, and maintenance must be provided.

So that’s how we approach building Tableau dashboards at Srijan, and we’ve followed the process successfully for several of our clients. You can also explore some of our experiments with various dashboard usecases.

Thanks for reading this, I hope you will find this helpful.

Love to hear your feedback and queries if any.

This post was originally published on Zyifers.

Topics: Data Engineering & Analytics, Architecture

Anil Saini earns the title of Data Monarch in the Tableau community

Posted by Anil Saini on May 22, 2018 12:20:00 PM

“The best way to learn is to learn from people, and the best place to learn is to learn from, the community.” – Anil Kumar Saini

The Tableau Community is a large,  flourishing community and has over 1,50,000 passionate users.  It is a platform where you can find solutions to your problems and share your ideas with other community members. It helps you meet a lot of like-minded people and connect with online as well as local user groups. You can also browse through the most active threads in the forum and also be a voice to a future Tableau product.

When I joined Srijan in 2017, I was fortunate to get started on Cassandra. It was a challenge for me to connect Tableau with Cassandra. But the support from the community helped me in getting all my issues resolved. The help and support that I received, intrigued me to explore more about the Tableau community and I began participating in resolving other people’s problems. Working in the community helped me learn and grow. Within a few months, I was able to use my learnings to implement different business ideas and get the best out of this product.

Being an active member, I started connecting with other active users on Tableau. Whenever I had a query, the community would help me by providing detailed explanations. On the other hand, I would eagerly solve problems for the community. I had two simple strategies:
To seek help from the community if I was not able to solve my issues on my own, and
To utilize my free time by providing help to others in the community
Unknowingly, these strategies proved to be a boon for me and helped me grow both mentally and technically. It helped me contribute a lot to the community.

And to my great surprise, on May 10, 2018, I earned the highest reputation as a Data Monarch and jumped to the 18th position in the Tableau Community Leaderboard- Rolling 12 months. I had also secured an overall 77th rank amongst 1,50,000 Tableau community users due to my active involvement in the community!

The title of the fastest Data Monarch has earned me the recognition that makes me feel that I have succeeded in becoming an integral part of this community. 

Srijan Anil Saini Tableau Data Monarch

Topics: Community

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