I believe that data professionals must start adopting evolutionary (iterative and incremental) techniques, and better yet agile techniques, if they are to remain relevant within the modern IT environment. It�s easy to say that data professionals need to work in an evolutionary manner, but they also need techniques which allow them to do so. Luckily many techniques do exist, if data professionals choose to adopt them. And it is a choice, data professionals do not need to limit themselves to near-serial development techniques, they could in fact become effective members of modern development teams. Data professionals can easily take an evolutionary, if not agile approach to modeling; they can refactor database schemas to improve the design; and the can take a test-driven development (TDD) approach to database development to ensure quality.
These techniques are overviewed in my article entitled Evolutionary Database Development published in the July 2005 issue of The Data Administration Newsletter (TDAN).