About markus

Consultant at Zühlke in Switzerland. HCI, Requirements, Agile and other software engineering, user centred innovation.

grok – negotiate – build up

In our current project, a software for managing sports events, user stories play an important role when it comes to development. Interestingly the focus of the requirements conversation changed completely from one level of maturity to the next. And there is a pattern behind it, as it seems. It leads to user story mapping.

StoryMapping_Leadin
Continue reading

What is a requirement? A probably agile answer

Requirements focus on value. Delivering value at least is a category in this Blog. But what are requirements anyway? If you know the answer, fine. But for all those that are as confused as I am, this article gives the ultimate answer, or hopefully one as helpful as 42 was for Loonquawl and Phouchg.

GlassLaw_Leadin
Continue reading

A case for features – a sports event management system

Currently, I’m involved in a project to develop an event management system for large sports events. The goal is to replace a few existing systems with one integrated system that is able to cater for the coming needs. End of elaboration is closing in and we’re planning for the incremental delivery to follow during construction. Budgeting, estimation and release planning all turn around features (Part 2).

Continue reading

User centred business analysis – a sports event management system

Currently, I’m involved in a project to develop an event management system for large sports events. The goal is to replace a few existing systems with one integrated system that is able to cater for the coming needs. The project will last for about five years. The project team will grow to approximately 20 persons. We apply an agile unified process.  

SportsEvent_ProcessMap_Leadin

Part 1: Understanding business is a success factor. We use methods from user centred design rather than from business modeling.

Continue reading

I’ve to look where there is light

In Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, there lived the popular character known as Dällebach Kari (died 1931). Even so his time is almost 80 years past, he is still remembered for many things, one of which was his pointed humor. Here is one anectode in the category practical philosophy:

One night two cops came across Dällebach Kari searching for something in the light of a street lamp. “Hey, Kari, what are you searching for”, they inquired. “I lost my chewing gum over there”, Dällebach Kari replied pointing towards a dark corner on the other side of a bridge. The two policemen were a bit lost and scratching their heads they wondered, “well, why are you searching here, then?”. “Because, obviously, I have to search where there is light”, was the reply.

So: can you spot the relevance to software projects?

Why Joey taped a picture of a cake to his wall

If you ever tried to propose an idea to somebody, you have certainly experienced a few personalities, like Joey has in this story. And after having met them Joey, for example, felt the urge to pin a picture of a cake in a sunset to his cubicle walls. For others, this is not sufficient and they have to create a lengthy comic strip. 

Continue reading

Know how to shape the future

In order to create great products, know how is needed. Agile gurus talk about the cross-functional team. Have a look at this image search for cross-functional teams to see what it means. 

Clearly, it’s not quite agreed what cross-functional teams are. But it actually doesn’t matter. Much more important than having a definition of a cross-functional team is having an organization where the experts are actually working together in a productive way. Here’s a puzzle piece to achieve this: generic areas of expertise needed in a innovation project.

Continue reading

Maturity tools for product owners

Pin the maturity cards on the wall. Ask how well do we foresee the change we’re going to inflict with the planned features. “Customers will love it”, the engineer proclaims putting a few features on tree level. The sales rep sourly adds: “If they’ll ever grasp it”, moving them up into the clouds.

Continue reading

Increase productivity with a Speed Creation session

In large and distributed companies the knowledge is spread. Experts come from different locations and subsidiaries. These experts often work in several projects simultaneously. This leads to an efficiency loss and long product development cycles. What if there is a way to get rid of dozens bilateral and specialized division workshops and preparation meetings? The approach is called approach “Speed Creation”.

by Sven Krause  Continue reading

Agile innovation from stars to road

Taking ideas from the stars as innovation onto the road can feel like being stomped by a herd of elephants. It’s people and trade-offs. Well, even while we’re quite a reasonable lot most of the day, we still do a few quite stupid things. Especially if interests, values, and opinions clash. Here’s an agile way to innovate.

Continue reading

Collaboration – Buy or Lease?

Installment sales are great. Instead of spending the whole amount of money up-front – and save for it – you simply pay your monthly deposit. Still, someone will have to pay the interest and cover the risk involved, i.e. you, the buyer. Thus you trade the profit of having something right now with the higher costs. Did you realize, that this is an analogy to how we collaborate?

Continue reading

How mature are your ideas?

Ask this question in a workshop to a round of engineers and product managers. After a few blank stares you will start hearing comments like “we’re ready to build it”, or “they’re pretty sound”, and “well, we actually have no idea what this is all about”. Quite often we hear completely different opinions about the same item. Try it yourself, it works. Stunning, isn’t it?

It is of course a matter of perspective. Everybody evaluates an idea from their personal point of view. Which is ok, as long as they understand the other’s viewpoint – usually that is too much trouble, so there is conflict.

Continue reading