Communication using only words – whether verbal or written – leaves much to the imagination. Which is part of the appeal when it comes to reading for pleasure. Think of a book you’ve read and enjoyed which was later interpreted as […]
Ryland Leyton recently released his book, The Agile Business Analyst: Moving from Waterfall to Agile. Over the years, Ryland has provided training and mentoring for events and individual members of the Greater Atlanta Chapter of IIBA, so I was thrilled to see him take pen to paper and share his insights through a medium with broader reach. Ryland agreed to provide some additional information and background on the thought process behind the book for Practical Analyst readers.
“A problem well stated is a problem half solved.” – John Dewey
One of the more valuable lessons I’ve learned is that good solutions begin with a clear understanding of the problem to be solved. By starting with the problem, following up with objectives that articulate the definition of success, and then ensuring that requirements and subsequent solution artifacts and trace cleanly to, and support the original problem, we can avoid the confusion and wasted resources associated with deviating from or adding scope to the solution’s original problem and intent.
Let’s face it, lots of software projects continue to fail every year, even after so many advancements in the theory and practice of software development and business analysis. After working on countless complex software projects that delivered great business value, here’s what I learned about the reasons for a project to succeed.
While debates rage as to the effectiveness of meetings in general, and books have been written on meeting organization and management, I’ve found that often meetings go wrong before they even begin because the invitation is missing (or vague in) four critical components, without which the likelihood of full participation and effectiveness is diminished.
“Without requirements, there is no way to validate a program design; that is, no way to logically connect the program to the customer’s desires.”
— Benjamin L. Kovitz
If human communication and human memory were perfect, we may not need deliberation and documentation of requirements. Alas, neither is close to true. It is the iterative exercise of modeling requirements, and then documenting them that enables shared understanding to be affirmed, and then shared with those who use requirements to guide design, construction and quality assurance. Requirements are the link between concept and product, and an important standard for measuring solution success.
Poor grammar and spelling that cause a requirements model to be inaccurate, or difficult to understand and use, are serious because they negatively affect the documentation’s ability to serve its purpose. An otherwise solid, easy to understand document with some errors in grammar and spelling, is not as serious. In either case, poor grammar and spelling should be included in the offending analyst’s professional development plan, and improvement should be encouraged and expected.