What’s your opinion on feeding a data warehouse from a message queue?

There are organizations that have decided that their data warehouse(s) should be fed with data in the same way as their operational systems that are part of their Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) strategy.

Depending on your information needs, this might be a good idea. Especially when you have a (near) realtime data warehouse. Short burst of transactional data can be processed quickly and your data warehouse will be up to date.

But what if your information needs are different? What if you only need a snapshot of the data at the end of the day and just don’t need all changes that happened during the day in your transactional systems?

In a batch oriented data warehouse that only needs data once a day, or maybe only a few times per day but not anywhere close to (near) realtime, is having a message queue that feeds it really the way to go?

In one of my previous projects we had a batch oriented data warehouse that was fed by a message queue. The amount of “data” pushed to it consisted of 75% overhead just because of all the XML tags that were needed. 25% was the data we really needed. In the end, it was decided to make a special XML schema for us with shorter tags to get rid of the overhead.

Secondly, a buffer area needed to be developed with just one service: create a consolidated daily snapshot of all changes received via the message queue. Without going into all the details of the problems we faced, it was a messy solution and just didn’t feel right.

Do you recognize this or have any experience with it? Then please leave your opinion and thoughts in the comment section.

Much appreciated and have a nice day.

The Art Of Delegation

One of the possibilities in the GTD workflow is to delegate an action if there is someone more up to the task than you are, for whatever reason.

However, delegation isn’t always as simple as it looks. Why? I have assembled a few things that I’ve encountered. Please leave your comments if you recognize these or better, if you’ve come across things I haven’t listed. Of course suggestions for improvement are more than welcome as well.

Here is the list of reasons why delegation may be difficult:
– you don’t want to delegate at all, because you can do it better, at least you think you can
– the person you delegate to may think different than you about being the “better” one to handle the action
– the delegated action may not be part of the responsibilities or job description of the person you delegate to
– your “waiting for” list may become very very large and difficult to follow up
– delegating an action to your manager may feel inappropriate
– delegating an action to your peers may feel inappropriate

As you can see, these are just a few of the issues you may encounter when delegating actions. But I’m pretty sure that some of these are recognizable.

A few tips to handle these issues:
– you may be wrong in thinking you are the best to handle it
– keep a clear and current “waiting for” list with all delegated actions
– talk to the persons you delegate to in person of by phone; are they the right ones?
– follow up as much as needed to get your projects going

Any comments or suggestions are much appreciated.

My productivity apps

My_productivity_apps

This is an overview of most applications I am currently using to help me to be productive. It has been created using one of the apps I am using, MindManager. Some are free, some are paid for (most of them).

My top 5:
  1. OmniFocus
  2. MindManager (when @MacBookPro) and iThoughts (when @iPhone)
  3. Read It Later
  4. iCal (when @MacBookPro) and Agenda (when @iPhone)
  5. Evernote

GTD, NLP and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Lately I have been reading (or listening to audio books) about GTD, NLP and the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. GTD is the Getting Things Done methodology (or systematic approach) as promoted by David Allen. The Seven Habits… is written by Stephen R. Covey and NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming.

NLP is promoted by a lot of different people, such as Anthony Robbins, but also Frank Bruining and many more. Now let me be clear. I’m into GTD, have some notions of NLP and am not even half way in reading/listening the Seven Habits. But I am no expert at all in all these different areas.

Different? Really? That is exactly what strikes me at the moment. There are so many similarities, so much overlap between each of these.

So is it just the same with another name? Each with a little twist around it to justify the different name? Or is it just a confirmation that the basics of each of these topics is really the same and that we can’t ignore it? Please let me know your thoughts on this. I don’t have an answer yet and maybe never will, but at least I will continue to read and listen and post more on this in the future.

Stuff in your head

Do you know that feeling that you can’t sleep because of all the stuff
that keeps popping up in your head? It’s happening to me right now.
Most of the time you’re probably thinking of the same thing over and
over again in that case.

So how do you get rid of these thoughts and go back to your well
deserved night’s rest? One solution could be to actually take action
on what you’re thinking about.

But in true GTD (Gettings Things Done) style, just write it down
somewhere as a reminder for later and toss it in your inbox.

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