How To Bring Agile Practices To Your Data Projects - Episode 336

Summary

Agile methodologies have been adopted by a majority of teams for building software applications. Applying those same practices to data can prove challenging due to the number of systems that need to be included to implement a complete feature. In this episode Shane Gibson shares practical advice and insights from his years of experience as a consultant and engineer working in data about how to adopt agile principles in your data work so that you can move faster and provide more value to the business, while building systems that are maintainable and adaptable.

Prefect LogoPrefect is the modern Dataflow Automation platform for the modern data stack, empowering data practitioners to build, run and monitor robust pipelines at scale. Guided by the principle that the orchestrator shouldn’t get in your way, Prefect is the only tool of its kind to offer the flexibility to write code as workflows. Prefect specializes in glueing together the disparate pieces of a pipeline, and integrating with modern distributed compute libraries to bring power where you need it, when you need it.
Trusted by thousands of organizations and supported by over 20,000 community members, Prefect powers over 100MM business critical tasks a month. For more information on Prefect, visit dataengineeringpodcast.com/prefect.


Are you sick of repetitive, time-consuming ELT work? Step off the hamster wheel and opt for an automated data pipeline like Hevo.

Hevo is a reliable and intuitive data pipeline platform that enables near real-time data movement from 150+ disparate sources to the destination of your choice. Hevo lets you set up pipelines in minutes, and its fault-tolerant architecture ensures no fire-fighting on your end. The pipelines are purpose-built to be ‘set and forget,’ ensuring zero coding or maintenance to keep data flowing 24×7. All it takes is 3 steps for your pipeline to be up and running. Moreover, transparent pricing and 24×7 live tech support ensure 24×7 peace of mind for you.

Don’t waste another minute on unreliable data pipelines or painstaking manual maintenance. Sprint your way towards near real-time data integration with a pipeline that is easy to set up and even easier to control. Head over to dataengineeringpodcast.com/hevodata and sign up for a free 14-day trial that also comes with 24×7 support.


Your data platform needs to be scalable, fault tolerant, and performant, which means that you need the same from your cloud provider. Linode has been powering production systems for over 17 years, and now they’ve launched a fully managed Kubernetes platform. With the combined power of the Kubernetes engine for flexible and scalable deployments, and features like dedicated CPU instances, GPU instances, and object storage you’ve got everything you need to build a bulletproof data pipeline. If you go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/linode today you’ll even get a $100 credit to use on building your own cluster, or object storage, or reliable backups, or… And while you’re there don’t forget to thank them for being a long-time supporter of the Data Engineering Podcast!


Atlan LogoHave you ever woken up to a crisis because a number on a dashboard is broken and no one knows why? Or sent out frustrating slack messages trying to find the right data set? Or tried to understand what a column name means?

Our friends at Atlan started out as a data team themselves and faced all this collaboration chaos themselves, and started building Atlan as an internal tool for themselves. Atlan is a collaborative workspace for data-driven teams, like Github for engineering or Figma for design teams. By acting as a virtual hub for data assets ranging from tables and dashboards to SQL snippets & code, Atlan enables teams to create a single source of truth for all their data assets, and collaborate across the modern data stack through deep integrations with tools like Snowflake, Slack, Looker and more.

Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/atlan and sign up for a free trial. If you’re a data engineering podcast listener, you get credits worth $3000 on an annual subscription.


Announcements

  • Hello and welcome to the Data Engineering Podcast, the show about modern data management
  • When you’re ready to build your next pipeline, or want to test out the projects you hear about on the show, you’ll need somewhere to deploy it, so check out our friends at Linode. With their new managed database service you can launch a production ready MySQL, Postgres, or MongoDB cluster in minutes, with automated backups, 40 Gbps connections from your application hosts, and high throughput SSDs. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/linode today and get a $100 credit to launch a database, create a Kubernetes cluster, or take advantage of all of their other services. And don’t forget to thank them for their continued support of this show!
  • Atlan is the metadata hub for your data ecosystem. Instead of locking your metadata into a new silo, unleash its transformative potential with Atlan’s active metadata capabilities. Push information about data freshness and quality to your business intelligence, automatically scale up and down your warehouse based on usage patterns, and let the bots answer those questions in Slack so that the humans can focus on delivering real value. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/atlan today to learn more about how Atlan’s active metadata platform is helping pioneering data teams like Postman, Plaid, WeWork & Unilever achieve extraordinary things with metadata and escape the chaos.
  • Prefect is the modern Dataflow Automation platform for the modern data stack, empowering data practitioners to build, run and monitor robust pipelines at scale. Guided by the principle that the orchestrator shouldn’t get in your way, Prefect is the only tool of its kind to offer the flexibility to write code as workflows. Prefect specializes in glueing together the disparate pieces of a pipeline, and integrating with modern distributed compute libraries to bring power where you need it, when you need it. Trusted by thousands of organizations and supported by over 20,000 community members, Prefect powers over 100MM business critical tasks a month. For more information on Prefect, visit dataengineeringpodcast.com/prefect.
  • Data engineers don’t enjoy writing, maintaining, and modifying ETL pipelines all day, every day. Especially once they realize 90% of all major data sources like Google Analytics, Salesforce, Adwords, Facebook, Spreadsheets, etc., are already available as plug-and-play connectors with reliable, intuitive SaaS solutions. Hevo Data is a highly reliable and intuitive data pipeline platform used by data engineers from 40+ countries to set up and run low-latency ELT pipelines with zero maintenance. Boasting more than 150 out-of-the-box connectors that can be set up in minutes, Hevo also allows you to monitor and control your pipelines. You get: real-time data flow visibility, fail-safe mechanisms, and alerts if anything breaks; preload transformations and auto-schema mapping precisely control how data lands in your destination; models and workflows to transform data for analytics; and reverse-ETL capability to move the transformed data back to your business software to inspire timely action. All of this, plus its transparent pricing and 24*7 live support, makes it consistently voted by users as the Leader in the Data Pipeline category on review platforms like G2. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/hevodata and sign up for a free 14-day trial that also comes with 24×7 support.
  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Shane Gibson about how to bring Agile practices to your data management workflows

Interview

  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • Can you describe what AgileData is and the story behind it?
  • What are the main industries and/or use cases that you are focused on supporting?
  • The data ecosystem has been trying on different paradigms from software development for some time now (e.g. DataOps, version control, etc.). What are the aspects of Agile that do and don’t map well to data engineering/analysis?
  • One of the perennial challenges of data analysis is how to approach data modeling. How do you balance the need to provide value with the long-term impacts of incomplete or underinformed modeling decisions made in haste at the beginning of a project?
    • How do you design in affordances for refactoring of the data models without breaking downstream assets?
  • Another aspect of implementing data products/platforms is how to manage permissions and governance. What are the incremental ways that those principles can be incorporated early and evolved along with the overall analytical products?
  • What are some of the organizational design strategies that you find most helpful when establishing or training a team who is working on data products?
  • In order to have a useful target to work toward it’s necessary to understand what the data consumers are hoping to achieve. What are some of the challenges of doing requirements gathering for data products? (e.g. not knowing what information is available, consumers not understanding what’s hard vs. easy, etc.)
    • How do you work with the "customers" to help them understand what a reasonable scope is and translate that to the actual project stages for the engineers?
  • What are some of the perennial questions or points of confusion that you have had to address with your clients on how to design and implement analytical assets?
  • What are the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen agile principles used for data?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on AgileData?
  • When is agile the wrong choice for a data project?
  • What do you have planned for the future of AgileData?

Contact Info

Parting Question

  • From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?

Closing Announcements

  • Thank you for listening! Don’t forget to check out our other shows. Podcast.__init__ covers the Python language, its community, and the innovative ways it is being used. The Machine Learning Podcast helps you go from idea to production with machine learning.
  • Visit the site to subscribe to the show, sign up for the mailing list, and read the show notes.
  • If you’ve learned something or tried out a project from the show then tell us about it! Email hosts@dataengineeringpodcast.com) with your story.
  • To help other people find the show please leave a review on Apple Podcasts and tell your friends and co-workers

Links

The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

Liked it? Take a second to support the Data Engineering Podcast on Patreon!