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Showing posts from October, 2012

Two words for Agile Business Analysts: Pan and Zoom

Do you have trouble wrapping your arms around the question "what do Agile Business Analysts do?"  I figured it out today!  And I will tell you!  And as a special bonus, I figured out what the Waterfall BAs do too--so if you didn't know, and you were worried--and who among us isn't--you can kill both birds with one blog.

Business analysts of every ilk do two things really well:
They look at the big picture end-to-end.  They are able to describe concisely what your project is doing and why.  They are czars and czarinas of the "elevator pitch."  They see it all, and they make sure everyone else on the team sees it too.They look at every detail of your project pixel by pixel.  Who is the person in the room most likely to say: "wow, paragraph 4, sub-element 2 totally contradicts that chart on page 3 in the leftmost column."  The BA, that's who.  They are razor sharp.  They are intolerant of errors.  Any errors.  A BA is probably reading this sayin…

The Agile Lumberjack: Why Batched Requirements Are Not As Sensible As You Think

Let's say you're a Business Analyst, and you're okay.  You've done your job for years.  You are a subject matter expert in your own right, and you get the job done. 

Suddenly, a sparkly-eyed Agile Guru (SEAG) shows up at your workplace and asks you to stop writing a "requirements document" that holistically describes the software your developer friends will be building.  Instead, the SEAG insists that you use a set of index cards to "hint" at what needs to be built, tape the cards to a wall, and plan to focus on the details of each card later, right before the developer starts to build it.  And maybe you won't even write those details down then, either.  You'll take the "hint" from the card, have a "conversation" with the developer, everyone will nod enthusiastically, and off you go to find out more about a different hinty card.

Really, when you put it that way, it sounds totally crazy.

This is why some analys…

5 Reasons to Embrace "Cafeteria Agile"

Agile enthusiasts are quick to make fun of people who pick and choose among various agile concepts, philosophies, techniques, and tools, rather than working hard to be "pure."  We have a word for people who do that:  dilettantes. 

But when we use two words we call them "cafeteria agilists."
If a software development team has a burn-down chart, weekly releases of something to production, and no discussions with the business, ever, we are quick to chorus "THAT's not AGILE!"  If they have a great working relationship with business partners and talk daily, but managers still do estimates of work durations, and assign work to the programmers and testers, we roll our eyes, and we start to abbreviate:  "TNA!"  If a team deviates from any named agile technique, be it Scrum, Extreme Programming, Crystal, or WaterScrumFall, and even if they follow that last one to the letter, "TNA!"  If they use UML these days, or even Use Cases, "TNA!…