Posts on Elicitation

“Do The Right Thing” – PMI® Requirements Management Webinar Recap

ebgembedLast month I presented a webinar to the PMI® (Project Management Institute) Requirements Management Community of Practice: “Do the Right Thing: Adapting Requirements Practices for Agile and Traditional Projects.”

The Requirements Management CoP has grown exponentially and will continue to do so, especially since the PMI recently announced the new Professional in Business Analysis certification (PMI-PBA). This growth was reflected in the full webinar room during the live event. During the webinar, I shared requirements discovery and delivery principles and practices along a gradient from traditional to agile.

As you review the deck, there are some key points to know:

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Context Counts: Adapt Your Requirements Practices to Fit

ShuHaRi Whether you are agile or more traditional, your challenge is the same: In order to remain relevant in today’s market, you have to discover and deliver the right thing at the right time. To do this successfully, you need to elicit customer needs and quickly choose from among many competing voices and options to determine what is truly essential and what can wait for a future release. That means selecting the requirements development and management activities that are most effective for your particular situation–whether those practices are in your current toolbox or not.

To understand this mindset shift, it might help to think of requirements activities in terms of the ShuHaRi progression, with a learning stage (shu), a breaking away stage (ha), and a transcendent stage (ri). 

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Rope Your Scope: Reining in Scope Creep (Part II)

Slide1Last time, I told the story of a team that experienced a breakthrough after clarifying the scope of a stalled project. Noting that scope creep—the unrestrained expansion of requirements as the project proceeds—is cited as one of the top project risks, I promised to describe some of the good practices that help product partners manage product scope in a disciplined way. With clients, I always stress the importance of developing a product vision, identifying goals and objectives for the product, and clarifying the product partners’ value considerations very early in the project before development proceeds. Let’s look at ways to do that.

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Rope Your Scope: Reining in Scope Creep (Part I)

scope creep image 2- contextRecently I worked with a project team developing a software product under grant from four entities, with a government agency as their ultimate customer. They called me in because, three months into a four-month project, they were desperately behind. Why? They’d been spinning in circles, trying to satisfy diverse stakeholders who had overlapping as well as conflicting requirements. The funding was split among several competitors, each with its own competencies, and there was a sense that the government agency was playing favorites based on its own preferences in the domain.

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Using “Given-When-Then” to Discover and Validate Requirements

By Mary Gorman and Ellen Gottesdiener

In our book Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis we discuss the usefulness of the “Given-When-Then” technique to explore (discover) and confirm (validate) product options. Here we summarize the technique*, brainchild of Dan North.

What it Is 

Given-When-Then (GWT) is a structured format for expressing scenarios with example data, including pre- and post-conditions.

Usefulness

GWT helps project stakeholders (business, customer and technology partners) communicate using business domain language. You can use GWT to explore product options and confirm selected options and confirm selected options, in a concrete, tangible way. Often called “specification by example,” GWT provides living documentation for your delivered product. It simultaneously specifies requirements while identifying acceptance tests, thereby streamlining discovery and delivery.

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Essential Agile Business Analysis

For years and years we’ve coached and trained teams how to elicit, analyze, and manage requirements for software development projects. We also work on projects—so our coaching and training is based on real project work. We’ve just written a book on agile product planning and analysis. Now that so many organizations adopting Agile as the method of choice, what about requirements? Is there a need for analyzing requirements in Agile?

That was the theme of our June Webinar titled (spoiler alert!) “Business Analysis Is Essential to Agile Success” (use training@ebgconsulting.com to login). For our blog eNewsletter readers, here’s the nugget: requirements drive agile teams!

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Tips on Software Security Requirements

Security requirements are a difficult quality attribute to elicit and specify. (Quality attributes are one the three types of nonfunctional requirements—along with interfaces, and design & implementation constraints*). Distinguishing can help. So too, it helps to

Sue Burk distinguishes between security requirements and security controls, shares four categories of security requirements, provides suggestions for eliciting security requirements, and explains why making them testable is important in her expert response.

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Power Up Your Agile Planning & Analysis

I’m pleased to share my podcast with Jochen (Joe) Krebs*, Founder of Agile NYC. The podcast was recorded on October 11, 2011, just before my presentation to the Agile NYC group.

The presentation, entitled, Power Up Your Agile Planning and Analysis:

Deliver Value via Structured Conversations describes how product stakeholders partner to develop a shared understanding of the product needs. I discuss how the partners gain a focused yet holistic understanding of the highest-value requirements and plan the project so that the delivery team builds the right product, at the right time.

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