SDLC, Process, and Methodologies

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Many words have been written about the process of business analysis and how it can be performed on different types of projects. There are a multitude of tools and techniques which can be used plus methodologies and frameworks to suit a wide variety of circumstances. This makes it all too easy to get absorbed in the day-to-day detail and forget about the real purpose of business analysis – to fix a problem or provide the organisation with a new capability.

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The purpose of this article is to provide project managers and business analysts an example of choosing a hybrid solution development life cycle (i.e., combination of agile and waterfall). Much discussion has transpired on the virtues of agile and waterfall approaches.  

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I’ve written in the past about why hybrid approaches that incorporate traditional and agile methods of software development are been applied by organizations seeking to improve the results of their software projects. Here I’ll describe the 3 types of hybrid projects I have identified while working with different organizations in consulting assignments, and what impact each type has in the work of a business analyst.

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Ron Ross and Gladys Lam have written an important book for the business analyst community. It aims to get business analysts out of the technology ghetto that many of us get stuck in. Regardless of the type of analyst you are, I think it would be worth your time to get your hands on and read this book. I’ll explain why below.

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The Agile Extension to the BABOK® describes “business analysis areas of knowledge, their associated activities and tasks, and the skills necessary to be effective in their execution within the framework of agile software development”.  Below are 3 misconceptions that, in my opinion, the current draft of the Agile Extension is helping perpetuate.
 

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In a nutshell, a methodology represents a series of steps in a project specifying Who is to perform What, When, Where, Why, and How (aka, "5W+H"), from start to finish. Perhaps the best way to think of a methodology is as a roadmap or an assembly line where a product is developed over a series of work stations.

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Lean techniques use a process-oriented approach. In non-industrial organizations however, the process is invisible. In order to apply Lean techniques successfully in this environment, the visibility of processes has to be significantly increased. Employees have to learn to look at their organization from a process viewpoint. Furthermore, it is important that the method is applied to all layers of the organization.

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Instead of taking for granted that either you find a flavor of agile that will fit the needs of your organization, or you must completely dismiss the use of agile methods, a much more valuable approach is to determine, for each individual project, which agile concepts should be embraced or not.

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Many IT managers have chosen to execute long-term projects in an iterative approach rather than a single linear fashion. This approach is not necessarily agile as the methodology is still “waterfall”-based but rather a series of waterfall executions (or terraced). This approach introduces new challenges for business analysts.

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By taking a closer look at how your company is developing software, and what is working for projects with different profiles, it’s possible to leverage winning strategies and hybrid approaches to make your software initiatives equally or more successful in the future.

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Software development process is undergoing seismic shift from traditional waterfall software methodologies towards agile methodologies. Agile software development methodologies deliver high quality software products in rapid iterations with high flexibility and adaptability to changing conditions. This article discusses the dynamics of agile projects by comparing it with the SDLC project framework to help the IT leaders and organizations plan effectively for transitioning to Agile software development methodologies.

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In I.T., are we really spending too much time on "maintenance"?  Within any systems development organization, there are but three types of work effort: new systems development, maintenance, and modification/improvements. A mature development organization will spend approximately 5% of its time on new development, 10% on maintenance, and 85% of its time on modification/improvements.

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I'm hearing the word "value" a lot lately. This is partly because the economic downturn has us looking to get the most for our money. But that's not all. More and more managers, business analysts, programmers and testers are talking to me about value. They are concerned that their products provide value for their end users. Many of them express a kind of process or tool fatigue. They are tired of being told that using a particular process or toolset is the key to their success. To them, value is a more important concept.

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Systems work is not as hard as you might think. However, we have a tendency in this business to complicate things by changing the vocabulary of systems work and introducing convoluted concepts and techniques, all of which makes it difficult to produce systems in a consistent manner. Consequently, there is a tendency to reinvent the wheel with each systems development project. I believe I owe it to my predecessors and the industry overall to describe basic systems theory, so that people can find the common ground needed to communicate and work. Fortunately, there are only four easy, yet important, concepts to grasp which I will try to define as succinctly as possible.

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As an agile analyst, you know how easy it is to get lost in a blizzard of project details. The way to keep focused is to remind yourself of the chief reason for using agile processes: to deliver business value for your organization. With that in mind, we’ll look at specific ways you can combine two approaches: agile and lean.

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