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Murphy's BI Laws

Written By: Jorge Garcia
Published On: August 24 2009

It's always good to remember that science and technology follow general laws, and that those laws are inviolable. This is especially true when it comes to Murphy’s Law: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."

In order to achieve success in a BI deployment project, you’ll have to consider a very important subset of Murphy’s Laws in order to avoid failures and delays.

I hope this tongue-in-cheek set of laws will help you reach your goals in the challenging field of implementing business intelligence (BI) and business performance solutions (BPM) systems.

1. If anything can go wrong on a BI deployment, it will. Or it will be all IT’s fault.

2. Any BI solution, when deployed, is obsolete.
Corollary 1: There will always be a better BI solution for you to deploy.
Corollary 2: There will always be a new version of your BI solution, available right in the middle of your implementation.

3. The probability of failure of an automatic distributed report rises in direct proportion to the hierarchical position of the executive who needs it.

4. Major bugs in a BI deployment will not be detected by the BI test team. They will only be discovered at the point when critical organizational decisions need to be made.

5. Any major bug that exists on an enterprise dashboard application will only be detected on “go live” day.
Corollary 1. All dashboards will have at least one major bug.
Corollary 2. Major BI bugs will only be detected by an end user.
Corolary 3. The severity of a BI system bug rises in direct proportion to the hierarchical position of the executive who detects it.
Corolary 4. A major failure in a BI system will never appear until after it has passed the final test.

6. The probability of a major bug related to operating system (OS) compatibility approaches 100 percent when you install your BI application on that OS.

7. No matter how many resources you have assigned to a BI deployment, there will never be enough.

8. The probability of delay in BI system deployment rises in direct proportion to the number of individuals assigned to deployment.
Corollary 1. The delay in a BI project rises in direct proportion to the number of individuals assigned to it.

9. If there is an opportunity for users to fail to document a business rule, they will.

10. The main subject matter expert assigned to a BI deployment is the one who does not have time for it.

11. The probability that a BI team member will resign during a major BI implementation rises in direct  proportion to that team member’s implementation expertise.

Of course, these are only a few of the major laws that apply. Please feel free to collaborate and complete our set of laws!

I welcome your thoughts—leave a comment below, and I’ll respond as soon as I can.
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