Tableau Driver’s Ed: The Drive Team


Tableau Driver’s Ed: The Drive Team

Tableau Driver's Ed is a blog series in which we explain InterWorks' unique take on Tableau Drive, a new methodology for enabling self-serve BI in the enterprise.

Tableau Driver's Ed: The Drive Team

We’ve covered several aspects in implementing the Tableau Drive methodology into your organization and shepherding in an enterprise-level deployment. It’s now time to outline the necessary roles within the Drive team.

So, what is a Drive team?

A Drive team includes organizational members that are responsible for “driving” Tableau projects from concept to completion. The Tableau Drive methodology believes that small, cross-functional teams are the best suited for agile development. Our consulting experience certainly supports this assertion. The catch with the term “small” is that the work might be done by a few, but the support that frontline users need can be vast. That’s why the Drive team spans different areas of expertise and different levels within the organization.

The Drive Team Roles

Let’s get started on defining each of the Drive team roles and which responsibilities they carry to ensure that the initiative (or group of initiatives) is successful.

The Executive Sponsor

Not surprisingly, any endeavor that requires manpower (and thereby money) needs to have senior leadership’s endorsement. This is the primary role of the executive sponsor. They commission the project and bring in others to fill the remaining Drive team roles. The executive sponsor will work closely with the project manager to ensure the vision of the project is executed considering adequate progress is being achieved. The executive sponsor has the bird’s eye view of the strategic goals of the business and can prioritize which Tableau initiatives have precedence and add genuine value to the business.

Tableau Drive Team: Executive Sponsor

Project Manager (PM) 

The project manager will work with the executive sponsor in defining the specifics of the Tableau project. It is then the project manager’s job to ensure that the project is delivered on time and on budget while satisfying the project’s requirements. The project manager is responsible for making sure that the project has the right resources for success, including personnel, tools and cross-functional cooperation.

Tableau Drive Team: Project Manager

Tableau Champion

The Tableau champion is the the subject matter expert (SME) for Tableau. They can take the goals of the project as defined by the executive sponsor and the project manager and map the best way for those goals to be executed in Tableau with the data available. They are essential in planning stages to ensure that all goals and results are indeed achievable.

Tableau Drive Team: Tableau Champion

Tableau Administrator

The Tableau administrator is in charge of Tableau Server. This includes all of the user accounts, environments and the management of Server itself. That means they take care of upgrades, configuring, monitoring, security and more. When the dashboards are ready, the Tableau administrator ensures that they are properly deployed and that Server has the resources to serve up the visualizations within acceptable performance parameters.

Tableau Drive Team: Tableau Administrator

Tableau Author

The Tableau author is the Desktop report creator. The author or authors are the individuals who are building the visualizations, dashboards and working with the database administrator (see below) to have the underlying data prepared for use in Tableau.

Tableau Drive Team: Tableau Author

Tableau Consumer

When it comes to project team definition, the end user is most often the first to be forgotten. The ultimate success or failure or any project is the feedback and/or adoption of the report consumer. Throughout the life of the project, the Tableau consumer should be questioned often for their feedback during the review phase of the Drive sprint. An active user base during development is the best way to ensure a properly leveraged tool.

Tableau Drive Team: Tableau Consumer

Database Administrator (DBA)

The DBA is an IT professional that is in charge of the technical management and oversight of the data. This includes a whole laundry list of data-specific duties, including installation, configuration, scaling, upgrading, monitoring, maintenance and security. Depending on the project, the DBA may be required to prepare data sources so that the Tableau author can efficiently create dashboards that do not require a lot of Server resources. It’s far more efficient for the database to do as much of the “heavy lifting” as possible before Tableau.

Tableau Drive Team: Database Administrator

Data Steward

This role is responsible for the business side of data administration. What this means is ensuring that all of the different data sources and databases are in compliance with internal standards, regulatory obligations and best practices. The data steward also documents access to data elements and the procedures to access these elements through the DBA.

Tableau Drive Team: Data Steward

Tableau Consultant

This is where InterWorks comes into the team. As a Tableau consultant, our team wears a lot of different hats, including project manager, Tableau administrator, Tableau author and more. Often, we work with the organization’s executive sponsor to act as the entirety of the Drive team to quickly implement Tableau initiatives, dashboards and deployments.

Tableau Drive Team: Tableau Consultant

Next Steps

The Drive team is much more than just the Tableau Desktop Jedi. It is a team formed across the organization and spans different levels, from tactical to strategic. When working in tandem and for a single goal, anything can be accomplished. The lynchpin of it all is the project manager, but every role is essential to success.

InterWorks can be on your Drive team, and we can work in a wide varieties of roles or capacities. If you need assistance with a Tableau project or in launching a Tableau Server deployment, we can definitely help. We’ve worked with the largest companies in the world to achieve their analytic goals with Tableau Software. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

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More About the Author

Robert Curtis

Managing Director, APAC
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