Margy Ross and Bob Becker wrote the following articles and Kimball Design Tips. Additional Design Tips written by our Kimball Group colleagues are available on the Kimball Group website; the complete library of Kimball Group articles and Design Tips is available in the latest Kimball Group Reader, Second Edition – Remastered Collection (Kimball/Ross, Wiley 2016).

Consistent data is the Holy Grail for most data warehouse initiatives, and data stewards are the crusaders who fearlessly strive toward that goal. An active data stewardship program identifies, defines and protects data across the organization. Stewardship ensures the initial effort to populate the data warehouse is done correctly, while significantly reducing the amount of […]

Your ETL system may need to process late arriving dimension data for a variety of reasons. This design tip discusses the scenario where the entire dimension row routinely arrives late, perhaps well after impacted fact rows have been loaded. For example, a new employee may be eligible for healthcare insurance coverage beginning with their first day on the […]

An overarching false statement about dimensional models is that they’re only appropriate for summarized information. Some people maintain that data marts with dimensional models are intended for managerial, strategic analysis and therefore should be populated with summarized data, not operational details. We strongly disagree! Dimensional models should be populated with the most detailed, atomic data captured by the source […]

With the current industry buzz focused on master data management (MDM), it’s time to revisit one of the most critical elements of the Kimball method. Back in 1999, Ralph Kimball wrote an Intelligent Enterprise column entitled The Matrix. The 1999 movie of the same name spawned two sequels, but we haven’t devoted a column to […]

I’ve fielded several questions recently regarding agile development methodologies. People seem to want a quick binary response: do we support and approve of agile methods or not? Unfortunately, our reaction is not so clearly black-and-while. One thing for certain is that the agile approach has enthusiastic supporters. Tackling the topic via a Design Tip might be akin to […]

In Design Tip # 69, Identifying Business Processes, Margy discussed the importance of recognizing your organization’s business processes and provided guidelines to spot them. We dive into more details here. Focusing on business processes is absolutely critical to successfully implement a DW/BI solution using the Kimball Method. Business processes are the fundamental building block of a dimensional data warehouse. […]

Readers who follow the Kimball approach can often recite the 4 key decisions when designing a dimensional model: identify the business process, grain, dimensions and facts. While this sounds straightforward, teams often stumble on the first step. They struggle to articulate the business process as it’s a term that seems to take on different meaning depending on the […]

Alan Alda is still widely known as “Hawkeye” Pierce from the hit television series “M*A*S*H” but he’s also the long-time host of the PBS series “Scientific American Frontiers,” in which he interviews research scientists. Discussing his 11-year hosting stint on National Public Radio recently, Alda described his approach for eliciting information from brilliant scientists. His […]

Many data warehouse teams lean heavily toward the doing side. They leap into implementation activities without spending enough time and energy to develop their data models, identify thorough business rules, or plan their data staging processes. As a result, they charge full speed ahead and end up re-working their processes, delivering bad or incomplete data, and generally causing themselves […]

How do you deal with changing dimensions? Hybrid approaches fill gaps left by the three fundamental techniques. Unlike most OLTP systems, a major objective of a data warehouse is to track history. So, accounting for change is one of the analyst’s most important responsibilities. A sales force region reassignment is a good example of a […]