Posts on Stakeholder Analysis

Focus on Value: 4 Factors Every Team Should Consider

1Most of our clients share the same goal: deliver value. Yet often we find that these same clients cannot define what value looks like for their companies, or determine how to use value to inform project decisions.

We’ve identified 4 key factors to help your team bring value into focus:

  • Involve the Right People
  • Define Value Transparently
  • Look Toward the Short Term
  • Have the Vision to Change

Involve the Right People

Defining a product’s desired result, before building it, is fundamental to that product’s success. To do this successfully, you need to identify all of the key stakeholders from the customer, business, and technology realms. These stakeholders need to work together, as collaborating product partners, to envision the product, define goals, and specify measurable objectives, thereby creating a high-level view of the desired product outcomes. Having these key markers will ensure that the team is always building the most valuable thing.

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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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Cure Your Agile Planning and Analysis Blues: The Top 9 Pain Points

frazzledproductchampionIf you’re on a team that’s transitioning to lean/agile, have you experienced troubling truths, baffling barriers, and veritable vexations around planning and analysis? We work with many lean/agile teams, and we’ve noted certain recurring planning and analysis pain points.

Mary Gorman and I shared our top observations in a recent webinar. Our hostess, Maureen McVey, IIBA’s Head of Learning and Development, prompted us to begin by sharing why we wrote the book Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis and then explaining the essential practices you can learn by reading the book.

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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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Agile Product Partners: Friends or Frenemies?

It continues to baffle me.

Clients share their struggles managing three, four, or five different product owners (or, as we refer to them, product champions). Delivery teams end up abandoning deployable software right before the end of an iteration or release.

Why?

It’s because the product champions can’t agree among themselves, or with the delivery team, on what to ship. As a result, the team members spend too much time in ineffective meetings and not enough time building high-quality software that delivers value.

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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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This Week’s Business Analysis and Requirements Workshop: 2 Days of Learning in Las Vegas

I was recently interviewed by SearchSoftwareQuality editor Yvette Francino about this week’s Business Analysis and Requirements Workshop at the Better Conference/Development Conference this week in Las Vegas, Nevada (6-7 June, 2011).

Yvette asked me to explain the logistics, if we would be emulating gathering requirements for a particular project and if the workshop be relevant regardless of domain area. Here are my answers: As conference chair,

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