How to Elaborate Requirements Through Use Cases and User Stories

Use cases and user stories are both excellent techniques for understanding what a user needs from a product. While both have a similar purpose, use cases and user stories are not meant to be used interchangeably. That is why it’s important for a business analyst to understand the difference.

The older of the two techniques is the use case, which captures usage scenarios. In other words, a use case documents how an individual uses a product to accomplish something of value. This technique works well for projects where functional requirements and usage scenarios must be – and can be – specified upfront. However, what if you can’t know the requirements upfront?

In a user story, the user and what they need the product to accomplish is also specified, but in contrast to use cases, at a much higher level.

Recognizing which technique is best suited to your situation is the key.

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Managing Security Requirements in Agile Projects

Addressing security requirements from the early phases of software development is the most cost-effective way of preventing security defects. Most security requirements fall under the scope of Non-Functional Requirements (NFRs).

As many practitioners have discovered, addressing security and other NFRs in agile projects is challenging for two reasons:

  1. Mapping NFRs to feature-driven user stories is not trivial.
  2. Security controls suffer from lack of visibility. Agile processes tend to bias development teams towards building features that visibly enhance the customer’s experience or fix defects.

This article goes into a bit more detail than usual….and could really help you see how you could do this in your projects.

Click here for full InfoQ article.

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WEBINAR – The Lean BA (2/18)

February 18, 2011 (9-10 am PST)

The lean business analysis web seminar starts by explaining the foundations of lean IT before getting into the impacts of how lean IT affects business analysis. The presentation discusses how some existing approaches work well and others present more challenges to lean business analysis and projects.

SPEAKER: ASPE’s intstructor, Jake Calabrese.

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WORKSHOP – Dealing with the TOP 10 Issues During and After an Iteration (12/16)

December 16, 2010 (2-4pm EST)

What do you do when your customer changes a requirement? How do you keep going when a team member is pulled away for a production issue? What happens when you start coding and realize a feature is much bigger than anticipated? You will learn how to deal with these issues and more in this live virtual workshop. We will follow a case study, Acme Media, as they encounter issues and constraints in the middle of an iteration. We will also join them at the end of the iteration and see how they adapt and replan based on acceptance testing, team throughput, technical discoveries, and changes in the business environment. We will also answer common questions about adapting in an Agile environment: 1. Can we adapt at any time during a project? 2. If we adapt all of the time, how do we get any work done? 3. What is the process for adapting at the end of an iteration?

Real World Skills – Learn Today – Apply them Tomorrow !

LEARN HOW TO:

  • Understand the most common issues with software projects.
  • Select from multiple options for dealing with each issue type.
  • Use a tradeoff matrix to drive triage decisions.
  • Demonstrate and drive acceptance testing at the end of an iteration.
  • Replan and prepare for the next iteration.
  • Read more….

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WORKSHOP – Planning, Managing & Tracking Agile Sprints

Real World Skills – Learn Today – Apply them Tomorrow !

What do you do when it’s time to start implementing the features and requirements you have in your backlog?  ProjectTimes.com and BATimes.com are sponsoring a workshop specifically for PMs and BAs that will show you how to do Iteration Planning, Managing, Tracking and get your team setup to succeed using Agile Iterations.   This is a very interactive workshop.   Come ready to learn….

LEARN HOW TO:

  • Envision detailed functionality
  • Identify the specific tasks that the team will complete in the coming 2 to 4 week iteration
  • Take the high-level user stories and break them down into hour-level tasks that you can do in an iteration.
  • Obtain team buy-in for the proposed workload
  • Manage task assignments
  • Increase project status transparency
  • How to use ITERATION ZERO to get your project off to a great start
  • TAKE HOME tools and templates to use for your own projects
  • Read more….

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WEBINAR – Agile Requirements: Not an Oxymoron

Misconceptions abound about how agile projects analyze and develop requirements. In practice, requirements are the basis for planning, developing and delivering agile projects.

Agile requirements are congruent– they combine to form a sound and sensible union that drives successful delivery of business value.

.YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The agile method of developing requirements and how ‘traditional’ requirements practices are adapted on agile projects
  • The value of requirements analysis on agile projects
  • Ways in which requirement form the basis for planning on agile projects
  • How effective agile teams collaborate around requirements

PDU: 1
COST: Free

SPEAKER: Ellen Gottesdiener, Principal Consultant and Founder of EBG Consulting, Inc., helps business and technical teams collaborate to define and deliver products customers value and needs. Ellen is an internationally recognized facilitator, coach, trainer, author, speaker, and expert on requirements development, product chartering, retrospectives, agile requirements, and collaborative workshops.

She is the author of two acclaimed books (Requirements by Collaboration and The Software Requirements Memory Jogger), Ellen speaks at industry conferences; writes articles, blogs, and tweets; and is an IIBA (BABOK®) expert reviewer and contributor to the (in progress) agile-BABOK addendum.


Click here to LISTEN to Webinar Recording

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SUCCESS STORY Audio – Mixing Scrum and Waterfall

Hear about a real world project — Very Large, Complex, Multi-year and Distributed at a market leading financial corporation — where Agile practices were introduced in a very Waterfall traditional environment.

A seasoned PM Consultant, Donnla Nic Gearailt, shares her experience as the Project Manager of a team with responsibilities for the development of NEW software for businesses globally, ranging from tactical bug fixes, to complete system rewrites and re-engineering, to adding new modules to existing systems.

She shares with us in a 30 minute interview:

  • How Waterfall and Scrum fit into her project lifecycle
  • What happened before Scrum Sprints started
  • How Estimating was done with the team and ultimately got management approval
  • What the Team looked like and roles on the team (ie. Project Manager, Product Owner, Stakeholders Business Users, Development, Testing and Release)
  • How her mixed project was integrated with the other waterfall-only projects
  • How dependencies between projects were handled
  • How the Backlog was managed and what was in the backlog
  • What the Scrum Sprints looked like – duration – activities – stand-ups
  • What documentation was used ?
  • How Collaboration was encouraged and achieved with such a distributed team.
  • LOOKING BACK – Donnla also shares what made the project a great success, and key factors any company should consider in mixing Agile & Waterfall when starting to use Agile in their Waterfall world.

SPEAKER: Donnala Nic Gearailt is a Project Management Consultant with CROM Consulting Ltd.  She has been leading and participating in Agile teams for over 4 years and over 8 years in Financial Projects.  She has also played the role of Portfolio Manager, Business Analyst and Developer — and now is the Project Manager of teams.  She has extensive experience in managing projects with many dependencies on other teams and in dealing with the associated issues, such as getting her projects on to the relevant prioritization lists and executed.

Click here to LISTEN to Webinar Recording

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WEBINAR – Agile Analysis in Action: Incorporating Agile in your BA Work (8/25)

Aug 25, 2010 — 9-10am PDT

The Agile Analysis in Action presentation will provide participants with an example of how Agile practices can be incorporated directly into analysis activities! This is in addition to a brief overview of Agile practices and benefits. Marvin will discuss the benefits of being Agile as an Analyst even if your current organization, client, or boss isn’t ready to cut the cord on traditional software development methodologies like Waterfall.

ATTENDEES WILL LEARN:

  • Why Agile works and is such a hot topic today.
  • The common characteristics or flavors of Agile.
  • What is meant by Agile requirements
  • How to respectfully become an Agile infiltrator in a Waterfall world.
  • How to incorporate Agile like practices in your daily analysis routine
  • About a real world experience in Agile Analysis
  • Optional – The IIBA BOK “Agile Analysis extension” teaser

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The Agile Business Analyst

Rapidly changing market conditions are requiring companies to shorten delivery cycles and become more responsive to customer expectations. Agile development methodologies are leading the way, helping software development teams adjust to the new economy. Agile challenges our notion of software engineering best practices, project management methodology and how we lead our teams.

The agile movement impacts every role on a project team differently and creates opportunities to learn new skills and develop new ways of working together.

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WEBINAR – Creating Effect Maps

Gojko Adzic returned to illustrate how to create “Effect Maps” to manage requirements and do better Acceptance Test Planning – he will walk us through a sample problem.
He will also answer some questions we didn’t have time to answer from our webinar from a few weeks ago titled: “Effective Specifications for Agile Projects“.

1. Regulated environments/traceability

How do you sell Agile in an enterprise where audit department wants to have evidence for each change in requirements?
In a regulated industry, how do you do specs when the stories for the release are not defined at the start of the project?
What should system requirements look like when using Agile in an FDA-regulated industry?  When are they “done”?

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