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.  

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

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Yet Another Manifesto…….

What is it with the recent rash of manifesto’s?

Since the signing of the Agile Manifesto a plethora of other Manifesto’s have arrived on the scene. Software Craftmanship, Project Management to name but a few.

They add NO value to development, in fact it seems their sole purpose is so that the signatories can make more money.

To me, this feels like the rash of CMM’s that arrived in the 90’s.  The original CMM was a useful tool for measuring the maturity of an organization. We needed one and only one.  The CMM was diluted by a number of new flavours; for Hardware; for Testing; for Software    resulting in a lack of clarity of objectives & direction.  Finally this was consolidated into CMMI and now it has become about implementing maturity (which even sounds ridiculous).

How long will it be before the various manifestos are consolidated into another chocolate teapot? See http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/about+as+useful+as+a+chocolate+teapot.html

Agility, Common Sense and Agilista Failings

Much of Agile is simply about common sense. Do what is needed when it is needed!

Most of the real value of Agile methods is in how it enables us to knock the rust off old ways of working. The revelation that software development needs “people centric” is, in fact, no revelation at all.

The really big news is that developers need to engage in with the business. Oddly, this is the message that the vast majority of agilista’s fail to deliver to, failing to properly engage the business in the agile development process!

“Planning poker? Not again!”

A few days ago, we had a discussion about Scrum and one person asked the question if it really isn’t possible to run effective estimation meetings with 16! persons involved. If you have an answer ready, wait. Once the problem becomes clearer, the solution is getting more interesting. It may rather be a question of maturity than of team size. 

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An interesting article in CIO magazine:”Why BAs Are So Important for IT and CIOs”

CIO magazines article on the importance of BAs to IT and CIOs is an interesting read. In particular it reinforces the difference between BAs who slavishly “flog the dead template horse” and those who are communicators and analytical thinkers.  Take a look at the article here.  Which type of BA are you (really)?

 

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. 

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Agile IS All About Process

I regularly hear the “Agile is good, process is bad” mantra from various Agile communities. In a recent meeting on development methods one contributor even declared “process doesn’t contribute to the product so we should not put any effort into processes”.

I find this mindset rather entertaining.  It really does not need a genius to realize that the heart of any Agile method IS a rigid process definition. A lean, development  centric process but a process all the same. For example Scrum defines ways of working (backlog, prioritization, even the frequency, duration and form of “stand up” team meetings). Deliverable’s, Roles and Responsibilities are defined too.

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Mobile and Agile: Why can’t they get along?

This morning’s RE12 keynote was excellent. Steve Fickas described his use of a gaming engine and other resources to create a virtual environment for testing / requirement elicitation for mobile devices.

Fickas went on to describe how he interfaced mobile devices under development to the virtual environment and use this for testing in early stage development iterations (it is more controlled / manageable than the real world)

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 the features on tree level. The sales rep sourly adds: “If they’ll ever grasp it”, moving them up into the clouds.

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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”.

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