Agile Methods

Mar 06, 2022
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Agile project management describes an iterative approach that targets project management in a given setup. Usually, Agile project management focuses on subdividing large projects into smaller and more manageable tasks. These tasks are completed in some sort of short iterations that cover the entire project life cycle. 

If your team takes advantage of agile methodology, it will have higher chances of finishing the work faster, optimizing the workflow, and adapting to ever-changing project requirements. 

Agile project management enables your team to re-evaluate every single task it is undertaking. The Agile project management also lets the team members adjust in increments to keep up with the shifting customer landscape.

Feb 06, 2022
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One of the most empowering aspects of the agile mindset is that fact that agile teams are generally self-organized verses the traditional command and control protocols of traditional project management. While there are several benefits to self-organizing teams, it can lead to failure if the team misses some key planning aspects during team formation. Agile chartering is key to executing successful agile initiatives. In general, agile charters consist of the project charter and a team charter. The project charter defines the project vision and objectives, while the team charter establishes how the team will work together and how they can incorporate agile values as the team collaborates. A team charter is especially critical when organizations are new to the process of incorporating agile frameworks into the organization as it will facilitate knowledge transfer and identify key learning opportunities. With that said, here are some key reasons agile teams need team charters.

Dec 12, 2021
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In my experience while working for different companies, I have seen that some organisations are learning to be agile while some pretend to be agile and others are not agile at all. While we are not here to talk about the last category (assuming they have a very good reason for not wanting to go agile), I would like to put down some challenges for organisations who are on their journey to becoming agile and for those who think they are agile but are possibly not. In this article, I am going to talk about my understanding of the plausible reasons why some organisations struggle to make it.

Nov 28, 2021
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Is there something called as Agile BA or DevOps BA? Or is there a dedicated role such as ‘BA in DevOps’? How are Agile and DevOps related? How does BA role change or goes through metamorphosis, when it comes to DevOps?

One day, I got a corporate training enquiry and that is when I heard the term ‘Agile BA’ for the first time. At that time, I had already worked on Agile projects yet nobody had referred to my role particularly as Agile BA. A thought came to my mind, what if there was a job post saying “looking for a ‘Waterfall BA’?” I even heard once: “With DevOps there is hardly any role a need for BA or PM”.

Oct 10, 2021
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One of the biggest challenges now facing business analysts is this: how do we successfully engage with stakeholders, elicit requirements, and have productive workshops and meetings, without actually meeting in person? The tried-and-tested methods of getting together in a collaborative space, using sticky notes and whiteboards, and bribing attendees with baked goods, are no longer quite so straightforward in a world where some or all of the stakeholders are on the far end of an internet connection.

There are several factors to consider when moving out of the purely physical realm as a business analyst.

May 30, 2021
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How do we know when a user story is “done“? Can we say that the user story is done when it is coded and all acceptance tests for it are passed? Business representatives may say yes, but they do not know all the peculiarities of software development. So, such criteria as quality are not fully visible to them.

Or let’s have a look at another situation: a new feature that changed the business process was developed and tested according to the best software practices, but users struggle to use this feature because they are not sure about the changes this feature brings. Maybe a proper user manual or user training is needed in this case?

In this article, a simple, but very powerful technique which is called Definition of Done (DoD) is explained.

May 03, 2021
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My experience taught me that the Scrum process framework is not the complete story. Scrum does not identify roles for the business analyst, system architect, tester, UI designer or deployment engineers. Instead, the work normally performed by these roles is performed by the development team or the product owner. It is possible that the Scrum development team includes people with all of these skills, but the problem is that all the development team work is performed within a sprint cycle. The only activity that Scrum identifies outside a sprint cycle is maintenance of a product backlog (and even then it is not documented as an activity in the Scrum framework).

Apr 25, 2021
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Ever wondered how to write foolproof acceptance criteria? Or even wondered what a business analyst can do to ensure that requirements are testable? Acceptance criteria define the minimum requirements the solution must meet. A business analyst plays a key role in defining the tests around it. The acceptance tests can be at various levels of requirements detail. Starting from high-level requirements to detailed requirements. Let’s take a look at common challenges involved in this part of the world, along with a few ideas to overcome those.

Mar 21, 2021
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A business event is something that happens, and when it happens it causes a pre-planned response by the business, or as we shall call it here, “the work”. One category of business events are the things that happen inside an adjacent system. The work is made aware that the business event has happened because each happening produces a flow of data to the work. A business event is a significant happening – it is not just a mouse click. It is often a request for a service that your business provides, and the outcome is the provision of the service or product.

Mar 14, 2021
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Writing functional specifications as a business analyst (BA) in an agile ecosystem is a challenge of a different kind. You no longer have the luxury of time (unlike bigger waterfall projects). You no longer can be sure with a specification version as the final document (because of the iterative philosophy). You are not sure how comprehensive the functional specification should be (Agile manifesto: working software over comprehensive documentation).

Nov 29, 2020
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I could not help but observe in awe the agility of this monstrous wing. My mind could not stop analyzing how an airplanes uses the agility of its wings to control the pressure of the air that flows through them and manipulates the latter to enable it to navigate its journey into the skies.  The aeroplane does not change the physical or scientific formation of the air, but it changes its wings to adapt to this natural phenomenon. How intriguing. Adaption. Agility. 

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Good news is that the adoption of an agile approach is increasing with more and more projects being successful. As a business analyst / project management professional, it is important to understand how success is measured for Agile projects? What are the key performance indicators and metrics?

In this article, I am going to list down the top metrics for measuring the success of Agile projects/approaches.

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An agile organization is characterized by having a comprehensive portfolio of optimized business process and business capability maps grouped by their role in value creation for the customers and support of the business strategy.  These maps are linked to all the other disciplines such as finance, governance, resource management, talent management, and customer experience.   Thus, Corporate IP can be securely delivered to the point of need. 

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As much as we like to think we are now in a dynamic and agile world, most delivery initiatives are still some shades of agile and all shades of waterfall. These initiatives could have adopted an agile outlook and naming convention, but the businesses they support are often still predominantly waterfall – going from one clearly defined task to another until realizing value. Think for example, order to cash, just in time logistics etc.

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The transition from Waterfall to Agile is never easy – especially for a business analyst who must go through this journey. This document has come about because of this challenge and as an attempt to present a practical guide of how to effectively transition over as a business analyst, and where are these worlds connected. I do not believe that all that we learned as business analyst in the waterfall era are completely useless. What has changed in the Agile world is how we think about analysis, how we present the requirements to our business and our development and testing teams. It is by no means a comprehensive and one size fits all document. But it does provide a start and a guide for those who sometimes cannot make the connection.

Using one fictitious  ‘User Story’ in the Agile section of this document, I provide concrete examples of how and when to present just enough information, while giving your audience sufficient understanding of what they need to bring the requirements to life.

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