Tableau Project Planning

This content is part of Tableau Blueprint—a maturity framework allowing you to zoom in and improve how your organization uses data to drive impact. To begin your journey, take our assessment(Link opens in a new window).

Using the Tableau Blueprint Planner, you defined your organization’s vision for analytics, identified executive sponsors and project team members, documented the current state of your enterprise architecture, and assessed the usage of data and analytics among each business team.

This is an important step because it provides you with a better understanding of your organization’s requirements so that you can plan for the broad use of data and support the growth of analytics. Next, the project team will begin to synthesize the information and document the findings of the discovery process.

Planning Areas

The following questions and summary points for each area of the Tableau Blueprint Planner are listed below:

  • What is your vision, and what are your strategic initiatives, business goals, and challenges? (Analytics Strategy tab) Your vision for modern analytics and the broad use of data should be aspirational and actionable, as well as aligned with your organization's goals. Your strategic initiatives and business goals will provide direction for creating KPIs and metrics to track your progress toward desired outcomes. By linking these initiatives to data and analytics, you can use them to motivate your people as a driver of change.

    The initiatives will likely showcase executive interest areas and specific content they will use to make business decisions. With executive-level content, your sponsors will be able to exemplify and model data-driven behaviors. Some examples of strategic initiatives might include: improving customer experience, increasing brand awareness, or reducing technical debt with systems modernization. There is data behind each of these examples that can be measured and tracked as progress toward your goal.

    By identifying the challenges or obstacles early, you will be more prepared to mitigate those risks to achieving success. Many risks can be offset by a planned and systematic approach to the rollout.

  • Who are the executive sponsors and project team members? (Roles and Responsibilities tab) The number of people involved in the project is not as important as having someone with the domain knowledge to perform the corresponding role when it is needed. It is important to note that the larger the organization, the more likely it will be to involve more people because of the more specialized roles they contain—make sure you have the right people involved to move the initiative forward.

    Executive sponsors should be visible and vocal advocates of the platform. They will work with the project team to consider not only how to scale the technology, but also to ensure adequate support, training, and structure to effectively navigate change management and overcome the roadblocks to becoming a data-driven organization.

    The cross-functional project team includes IT/BI Professionals, Tableau Server and/or Site Administrators, and selected Content Authors and Data Stewards from different departments. Set a weekly meeting interval during the initial deployment, and consider moving to bi-weekly or monthly once an operational cadence is achieved. Progress should be reported regularly to the executive sponsors, as well as issues that need to be escalated and resolved by the decision-makers.

    If you don’t have executive sponsorship yet, then you should focus your efforts on the Data and Analytics Survey and Use Cases and Data Sources tab to identify high impact use cases that prove the value of becoming more data-driven.

  • How will Tableau be integrated with your existing technology investments? (Enterprise Architecture Survey tabs) This work will be executed in the Agility workstream. Understanding how all these things interoperate is key for installation, configuration, and ongoing operations of Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud.

    IT should document the current state enterprise architecture and revisit it periodically as the technology stack changes. Because Tableau is integrated with your platforms, network, databases, and applications, it is important to identify all the integration points.

    In addition to systems-level integration points, you should begin packaging and testing the client software, Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder, for self-service and/or silent installation. If mobile is also in scope, the Tableau Mobile app should be published and tested using the enterprise MDM solution. Also consider who might install other applications, such as tabcmd, the Content Migration Tool, or Tableau Bridge for Tableau Cloud.

  • How is data selected and managed, distributed and consumed, and secured? (Data and Analytics Survey tab) By surveying each participating business team, the Tableau project team will understand how data is used today, the kind of content that will be most impactful, and how much assistance may be needed. For the current state, consider every source of data—from CSV files, reports distributed via email, and local database files, to the enterprise data warehouse, cloud applications, and external sources.

    When distributing the Data and Analytics Survey, check with the stakeholder to see if they feel comfortable answering it on their own or if they would like someone from the project team to interview them. If you have five business teams in scope for your initial deployment, then you should have five total Data and Analytics Surveys to document the information for each team. Once the information is collected from each team, you will find it useful to summarize it and share back with the business team for review.

    This survey should be repeated as part of the onboarding process for adding new teams. It also provides a valuable way to connect with teams and better understand how they intend to use Tableau to make data-driven business decisions.

  • What use cases are most impactful? (Use Cases and Data Sources tab) When prioritizing the sources of data to publish and certify on Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud, begin with low complexity and high impact data to demonstrate quick wins. Impact can usually be measured by audience size or executive interest.

    Publish and certify data sources, and create workbooks to answer relevant business questions. Commit to at least one certified data source and one dashboard per team so that they will have content available once they are onboarded.

    As new data sources are identified, they can be added over time. Beyond the initial use cases, this provides a repeatable process to add new data sources as the deployment progresses.

  • How will you ensure trust and confidence in data with responsible usage? (Data and Content Governance tab) From the sources of data discovered in the Data and Analytics Survey and the initial content identified in the Use Cases and Data Sources tab, classify different kinds of data by sensitivity and audience, then define centralized, delegated, and self-governing governance models for each area of data and content governance.

    Because governance is a shared responsibility, the models should be defined by the cross-functional project team, as you seek to strike the balance between flexibility and control. Publish your organization's governance models on the enablement intranet for all users to reference. By clearly communicating governance policies, you will reinforce the idea that governance enables, rather than restricts, access to data and build trust in the process.

    An iterative approach is needed to adapt to the evolving requirements as user adoption and engagement increase. These conversations should occur early and often.

  • What is a job function’s relationship with data? (Education Role Mapping tab) The project team should use personas that are based on each title’s role in the workflow to classify different types of users. We’ve provided Education Roles that match our training portfolio to serve as a starting point. You can use these roles as-is or customize them to fit your specific requirements by adding ancillary skills needed for specific job functions. For example, anyone with "analyst" in their job title might map to the Analyst education role, and titles of director and above may map to the Executive Sponsor education role. Once mapped, the corresponding learning paths should be completed by individuals.

    For existing employees, coordinate their Tableau onboarding and education with the availability of certified data sources and dashboards. Begin with the content authors and data stewards so they have the initial skillset to begin creating content for others. Publish your training schedules, and record short, introductory, on-demand videos using a team's own data to put analytics in a context they more readily understand.

    The earlier you integrate data into your hiring and employee onboarding, the less work you need to do to determine how a particular individual will use data. This is a key step not to be underestimated for building analytics proficiency across the organization, as well as developing and retaining existing talent.

  • Who will be using Tableau, and what licenses are required? (Tableau Users tab) With the audience size estimated in the Use Cases and Data Sources tab, you will drill-down one more level to list users. The Users tab is where you take an inventory of all users by identifying the department, license level, site role, corresponding education role, and onboarding date.

    This work will be executed in the Proficiency workstream with Education, Measurement of User Engagement, and Analytics Best Practices. This step quantifies the number of users by department, team, and education role for training purposes. For Tableau Server, the number of users inventoried will be a significant part of sizing your environment and scheduling user onboarding by planning for future growth.

  • How will you promote sharing and collaboration? (Community tab) The Community Planning tab outlines the recommended resources and activities for creating a network of users who are excited about data. Focus on the communication plan, the enablement intranet’s self-help resources, and the support escalation path for go-live. Plan for your first internal user group meeting and schedule it to occur on a regular interval.

    This work will be executed in the Community workstream. It’s ok to start out small—both in content and attendance. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see high turnout as you’re just getting started.

  • How will you stay current on new features and functionality? (Upgrade Planning and Upgrade Process Checklist tabs) You might be thinking that it's too early to consider how upgrades will be handled, but a proactive approach to how and when upgrades occur will ensure positive outcomes for everyone. The Upgrade Planning and Upgrade Checklist tabs help you establish the guiding principles and supporting software upgrade, communications, education, and support plans to drive successful outcomes as you move to new versions of Tableau Server and client software or client software connecting to Tableau Cloud. This work is executed across the Agility, Proficiency, and Community workstreams.

Project Metrics

"Analytics on your analytics" isn't just a Tableau Conference break-out session title. By analyzing the progress of your deployment, the project team will understand the needs of the organization, from what's working to what's not. It will help you to identify achievements and opportunities for improvement. The following tables provide metrics that will be beneficial to track throughout your deployment:

Executive KPIs

  • Percentage of leadership engagement with Tableau content, such as content linked to strategic initiatives;

  • Using analytics to run meetings; and measures of department/team performance;

  • Expected impact and ROI: increased revenue, reduced costs, and improved business and customer outcomes.


  • Percentage of content authored by business users vs. IT;

  • Percentage of data being available vs. analyzed;

  • Licenses owned vs. assigned;

  • TCO: acquisition, implementation, support, and training costs.

Analytics KPIs:

  • Percentage of users onboarded;

  • User engagement (organization-level): user login frequency, days since last login, and users who logged in once and didn’t return;

  • Content created and published (organization-level);

  • Content utilization (organization-level);

  • Percentage of certified published data sources;

  • Ratio of certified project workbooks to ad-hoc project workbooks;

  • Percentage of all users trained, such as analytics skill level, role badge, and product certification;

  • Percentage of users who increased analytical skills by progressing up education role levels.

Line-of-Business KPIs

  • Percentage of users within a team trained;

  • Amount of content created and published;

  • User behaviors (department- or team-level): user login frequency, days since last login, and users who logged in once and didn’t return;

  • Worker productivity: increase analyst productivity and knowledge worker efficiency.

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