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June 29, 2009

A Fact Qualifier Matrix Example

Here is an example of using a Fact Qualifier Matrix (FQM) for development of a BI solution that we created for managing and optimizing IT project performance:

An FQM is something that I learned about years ago from Steve Hoberman ( who I felt was THE best I have ever heard at explaining data modeling and concepts regarding building data models for data warehouses. That's my plug for Steve, my way of paying back for the great class and book of his that helped me on many projects.

During that training on building data warehouses, we practiced using FQMs as a way to utilize process-oriented requirements engineering and specifications top-down from the perspective of the business users.

Of course, this is somewhat of a no-brainer in the world of software development. But I loved the way this seemed to work in a lab or classroom setting for a technique to build a data warehouse dimensional model that was clearly meeting a busines need and solving business problems.

Haven't we all come across data warehouse designs and dimensions designed that are undocumented, cannot be traced back to requirements and have you scratching your head wondering where this came from and why on earth has it been architected this way?

Not to say that the fact-qualifier matrix is the cure all.

But take a look at the same screenshots I included above. We asked business users the questions from the Excel tab on the first screenshot. Then we mapped the answers to dimensions on the left and facts on the top to create a matrix that can then be used to create a logical design. The notations on the dimensions were used to signify hierarchies in the dimensions and dimensions that may need special handling based on the complexity of the source data.

Posted by Mark Kromer at June 29, 2009 11:45 PM


Ali - You can find a template of this FQM and more on BI requirements analysis at my site TechProdo here:

Posted by: Mark Kromer at January 6, 2010 9:21 PM

Great BI resource.


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