Workflow with Stakeholders - Do you sell metabase as an end user tool?


I am confused how people are using Metabase in production, nearly every “question” that a stakeholder asks we need to go the underlying data source (bigquery in our case) and pull out calculations into views or handle joins there, we have 63 questions now and only 8 have been setup by stakeholders themselves - they are not experts but each time they push metabase to a limitation or more frequently an error (i.e. “ah yeah, you’re right there fred, it cant be done without developer time”.

Just yesterday:

Table stock_live:
SKU (product id)
Qty in Local Warehouse (a number)
Qty in Distributor (a number)

Table sales_order_item:
SKU (produt_id)
Order Id
Created At (timestamp)
Qty Ordered (number)

We wanted to make a report that advises our early morning warehouse staff what products need to bought over from the distrubitor based on having a stock level at local warehouse less than what we expect to sell each day (based on 30 day order data).

So we create a question that groups sales_order_item by sku and aggregate sum(qty) and filter created by 30 days, and a metabase calculated field called of sum(qty)/30 called “per day” so we now have data set that tells us how much a sku sold in last 30 days and how much we can expect to sell per day on average (based on a 30 day month). This works.

We then link this against stock_live on stock_live.sku = sales_order_item.sku and I now want to filter on qty_in_local_warehouse < “per day” and sort by (sum(qty_ordered)/30) - qty_in_local_warehouse … to give a report of what needs to be move across by priority.

And bang, error, can’t do say “per day” isn’t in the field source, so off we go to bigquery and just add fields to the stock_live view.

No different to last months problems:

Are people actually letting stakeholders ask questions or is it a given that a developer has to get their hands dirty and metabase is just a UX aid to moves things along?

I think I oversold metabase, but I need to walk it back and maybe create a workflow for stakeholders to propose questions and a developer builds (knowing the limitations), this isn’t a rant (I hope) but interested in how others are using it

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I think the vast majority of BI tools have the same limitation. They’re sold with the notion of ‘end user query’, but soon become a central store of trusted information created by more skilled designers.
Where end users do create there own stuff, there’s a huge amount of duplicated effort as people in similar roles are asking the same question.
Much better to use centrally designed stuff that’s interrogated using some method of parameter/filter drilldown.
That’s not a criticism of Metabase, but of all products.