MidReal Story

The Data Strategy: Tableau's Triumph

Scenario: I am creating a strategy for Dell's partner company to gather requirements and validate a product fit for my product which is Tableau.
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I am creating a strategy for Dell's partner company to gather requirements and validate a product fit for my product which is Tableau.
Emily, Alex, and I are at Dell’s partner company to ensure a successful Tableau implementation.
We are discussing how to gather requirements and meet client needs to avoid costly changes post-implementation.
Alex leaned forward in his chair, setting his coffee down on the conference table.
“I understand the importance of requirements, but what if we don’t have time?What if the client is unwilling or unable to provide us with anything?”
he asked, his glasses slipping slightly down his nose.
I could already tell that he was preparing to come at me with logic and data, which were his bread and butter.
I took a deep breath.
“That’s a valid concern, but the bottom line is that the client must be involved in the process,” I replied.
“Otherwise, they’ll have no one but themselves to blame when the project isn’t successful.”
Alex raised an eyebrow.
“So, you’re a fan of being direct?”
“I am, and I think that people appreciate it,” I said, smiling back at him.
“The key is to approach them in a way that’s respectful and engaging.”
Alex opened his mouth to respond, but I raised my hand to silence him.
“We’re all on the same team,” I said.
“We need to collaborate with stakeholders to create a detailed requirements document.”
“But what if they don’t want to do it?”
Alex replied, folding his arms across his chest.
“Then we need to think outside of the box and come up with creative ways to pull information out of them,” I said.
“I’m not above a little bribery if it gets us what we need.”
Emily stifled a laugh as she scribbled notes onto her notebook.
“Let’s not go there,” she said, raising her hand.
I smiled back at her before continuing.
“More importantly, we need to make sure that we gather requirements upfront so that we can avoid costly changes later down the line,” I continued.
“Requirements help us avoid scope creep, which leads to missed deadlines and budget overruns — two things that no one wants.”
“And let me guess, you have a process for requirements gathering?”
Alex asked, a smirk forming on his face.
I nodded without missing a beat.
“First, outline the project objectives.Then, identify all of the stakeholders who are involved in the process.Finally, schedule interviews with them so you can capture their needs and expectations.”
“How will we know what questions to ask?”
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“By doing your homework,” I said as I began to pace around the conference room.
Requirements gathering is all about asking the right questions, but you can’t do that if you’re not familiar with the client’s business and industry.”
Alex nodded, his eyes widening in recognition of the importance of understanding the client’s business model.
“Let me put it this way: If the requirements aren’t gathered correctly, we’re setting ourselves up for disaster,” I said, pausing to look at him directly.
He nodded again, and I could tell that he was starting to understand the gravity of the situation.
“If we don’t know what they want, then how are we supposed to deliver something that meets their expectations?”
I continued, my voice rising slightly as I spoke.
“They won’t be satisfied with the final product, which means that they won’t use it — rendering all of the work we’ve done useless.”
Alex shifted uncomfortably in his seat, and I could tell that he was beginning to see things from my perspective.
“If we don’t know their needs, then we can’t be sure that this is the right solution,” I said, motioning to the Tableau software in front of us.
“And if we don’t understand them, then how can we possibly meet their expectations?”
Alex shook his head, finally understanding the sometimes complex process of gathering requirements for software implementation.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I sat back down at the conference table, knowing that I had gotten through to him.
“I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” I said, smiling back at him.
“Trust me, it will be much easier to implement Tableau if we do it right the first time.”
“So, what do you think?”
I asked, turning to Emily after finishing my explanation of requirements gathering.
She nodded in agreement as she carefully considered my proposal.
“I think it makes complete sense, and I couldn’t agree more,” she replied, a look of determination on her face.
“It’s important to get as much information as possible upfront so that we can deliver a solution that truly meets our clients’ needs,”
Emily said as she turned to face Alex.
“Once we have all of the requirements, we can start building out Tableau.”
“And how do you propose we get them?”
he asked, knowing full well that I had thought about this already.
“We’ll conduct customer interviews where we’ll ask questions about what they want from Tableau,” Emily replied as she began to tick off items on her fingers.
“And what else?”
“We’ll create detailed personas to represent different types of users within the company,” she continued.
“This will help us make sure that Tableau is customized to meet everyone’s needs across departments.”
“And what else?”
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“We’ll develop user stories that outline how the different personas will interact with Tableau and the information they need to get out of it,” Emily explained as she ticked off her final item.
“And what else?”
I asked, knowing that there was one more important piece of the puzzle that we had yet to cover.
Emily paused for a moment to think as she scrunched up her face, trying to remember what it was before her eyes lit up with recognition and she turned back to face us once again.
“We’ll also look at the data that we need to display and how it will be displayed,” she said, pausing for a moment before continuing on and answering the question that she knew I was about to ask next.
“And we need to involve the client in this process,” she said, knowing full well how important it was to get their feedback along the way to make sure that we were delivering the right solution for them and not making any assumptions about their needs.
I couldn’t help but smile as I leaned back in my chair, feeling confident in my team and the plan that we had put together for implementing Tableau with our clients.
“But we need to involve everyone,”
I said as I sat back up and faced Alex once again, looking him directly in the eye as I continued on with my explanation of requirements gathering.
“Keep in mind that your client may not be the only one making the decision about whether or not to purchase Tableau,” I said before taking a quick pause as I let that sink in before continuing on with my explanation of why it was so important to involve all stakeholders in the requirements gathering process when implementing software such as this one.
“There are likely other people who will need to weigh in as well, including decision-makers who can block the purchase or end-users who will actually be using Tableau.”
“Let’s put this in perspective,” I said, knowing that I had to make sure that Alex understood this before moving on to my next point.
“In our last project, the person who we thought would be making the decision about whether or not to purchase Tableau had some concerns about whether or not it could work with their current systems.”
“We were able to overcome that concern by demonstrating how flexible Tableau is and how it can be adjusted to fit their unique environment, but that could have been avoided if we had involved him in our requirements gathering discussions.”
“So, what do you suggest?”
he asked, now starting to understand where I was going with this.
“I suggest that we have an initial meeting with key stakeholders, including decision-makers, end-users, and influencers (those who can sway the decision one way or another), to identify what they are looking for in a data visualization tool,” I said.
“This will help make sure that we get everyone involved in the requirements gathering process and hear what they have to say early on before they start forming any opinions or making any decisions about what it is that they really want.”
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