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New Post 9/12/2008 8:44 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Amount of Time For As-Is Modeling? 

Questions for all:

Scott Ambler in the comments portion of his informative article on this web site about the role of BA's in an Agile environment says that adequate (just enough in Agile lingo) As-Is (and To-Be) modeling should take only about 4% of total project time (assuming the the organization is relatively functional).  However, my experience has been that, Agile or not, adequate As-Is models, especially for complex projects, are very rare - irregardless of the time allocated to complete them.  And I have worked on projects coast-to-coast.

Is it that, some how, by luck or act of God, I have always worked with basically incompetent people?  Maybe there are some "special" places in the country where all the really competent people gather together to very effectively create software?  Am I missing something?

Thanks,

Tony

 

 

 

 
New Post 9/12/2008 9:24 AM
User is offline Guy Beauchamp
257 posts
www.smart-ba.com
5th Level Poster




Re: Amount of Time For As-Is Modeling? 

Tony,

I agree with you: my understanding of Agile is that it is based on a premise that the analysis of requirements will be inadequate so minimise the resulting damage by doing lots of little iterations so that you can fix the cock-ups of the previous release in the next one.

The real world is often on the side of the Agileists in that the analysis of requirements often is inadequate because all the high-impact-if-you-get-it-wrong analysis is done up front of a project and so is often the second casualty when timescales are tight (the first being testing). The 'strategy' of tight timescales is limit the amount of work in the area where most errors come from (according to Standish group chaos reports) and whose errors cost most to fix. 

Then, when that project (predictably) goes wrong, a case can be made for saying "lets do lots of little projects often - we can cut down on the analysis cos we aren't doing much and we can fix anything wrong in the next release anyway". Its a sort of trial and error...with the relatively high costs of Agile (lots of little changes lose the economies of scale of bigger changes) and change fatigue for users.

Agile has a place but it is not a cure-all - its just the latest in a long long line of approaches that 'fix' all the problems projects face when they don't invest enough in analysis. Here's the thing, whatever the approach or the method, analysis of objectives, requirements, process and data will need to be done (formally or not) and you can either plan to do it in a rigourous manner or just wait for it to pop up as it will when the solution is effectively guessed at by not doing enough analysis of requirements.

An anology: a change is a journey. You can plan out your route first and go straight to your destination or you can guess the direction, travel a short way in that direction, check your compass, adjust your course and zig-zag your way to the destination.

Which is best? Mostly I plan my journeys although sometimes I like to amble along as well in no particular direction when I have nothing better to do!

Guy

 
New Post 9/15/2008 5:47 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Amount of Time For As-Is Modeling? 

Guy:

Thanks for you very informative repsonse.   The way I learned it, and most importantly, experienced it, once a BA has successfully experienced the high sense of acheivement that comes with a successful up-front requirements analysis effort of the essentials (not the tech details), the old way (ambling along - addressing issues as they randomly occur) will never again be satisfactory.

Anyways, it sound like agile spells death to concisous  as-is considerations - that 4% time allocation for modeling is going to be largely taken up by to-be models.  Maybe the career field should be changed from Business Analyst to Project Expiditer?

Tony

 
New Post 9/15/2008 6:04 AM
User is offline Guy Beauchamp
257 posts
www.smart-ba.com
5th Level Poster




Re: Amount of Time For As-Is Modeling? 

Tony,

Project Expiditer? Is this a new job title? Or how about Project Fixer?

The other thing is this: I just checked and "Project Expiditer" gets 1980 google hits! We're too late! Even "Project Fixer" is sloshing around (762 hits). Reminds me of the time I was joking that you could develop a new BA jargon generator: you start by selecting your approach and method (I gave the example Agile Six Sigma and called this new BA system ASS) and then for each of the standard components for analysis (drivers, objectives, requirements, processes, data etc) you could generate new jargon (ASS-drivers, etc) - a powerful quick start-up piece of jargon for ASS was kick-ASS.

Then I googled it and Agile Six Sigma exists!

I'm hoping it gives as-is modeling 8% time allocation being focused on TQM-ing existing processes...

Guy

 
New Post 9/15/2008 6:41 AM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
www.betterprojects.net
4th Level Poster




Re: Amount of Time For As-Is Modeling? 

You  guys are hilarious.

You triggerred a thought with me; Is agile suitable for incremental tqm style improvements as opposed to an analysis up front step change?

Is that the difference in context that makes one model better than the other?

 
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