I was chatting with a fellow dev recently.
He said for him the most important first step (in design/development rather then analysis) was to get the data right.
I started off disagreeing and suggesting the most important first step was proving the concept will even work. But then in our discussion and thinking about it after I decided that I agree with him. To an extent anyway.
My new most important first step is to be clear how you will be able to check the data is correct. Because it may work in concept, but if you can’t prove your data is correct your system cannot be proven correct, and therefore not a right lot of use. I use prove and correct here in the traditional business consulting sense rather than legal. (correct = near enough to blame the old system, prove = no one will find out before you are out of there, invoice paid.) ;-)
We were talking about a standard, load data to sever db-run some queries-extract to Excel reports, kind of a system.
What would your most important first step be? (assuming you have some idea on what the users want/need of course)