June 20, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
Whether you're agile, waterfall, or somewhere in between, your team members should be able to answer the six questions Kent poses in his column this week. Don't leave the analysis to business analysts. If you do, you're missing voices and viewpoints that are important to your project's success.
Analysis in Agile: It's About Asking the Right Questions
The agile movement has matured quite a bit in the past 12 years. The immediate outcome of the Agile Manifesto was that people adopted approaches that helped them build software right -- the focus was on how to build the software. While not all teams have managed to master the "how" portion of software development, many teams are placing a bigger focus on building the right thing (the what), and perhaps most importantly -- whether it's right to build anything at all (the why). At the same time, some in the business analysis community have realized that there's much more to analysis than documenting requirements. They now understand that it's about knowing which questions to ask, actually asking them, and not being satisfied with weak answers. Here are some of those questions.
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By Kent McDonald
Software Requirements Capture and Management - Free for Premium Subscribers
Identify what your project needs to create, and why! This bundle of 16 practical guidelines and checklists helps you assess customer needs, project-level requirements and specifications for different project elements. Using these tools, your team can thoroughly consider and communicate what they need to do, who cares about it, and how they're going to keep it all under control. Multi-user licenses available for PMOs.
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Premium How-To Course
Kicking Off a Virtual Project, Part 2
Presented by Cinda Voegtli
This mini-course with ProjectConnections founder Cinda Voegtli discusses how you can get scattered team members to agree on the best way to plan and manage the project, communicate, produce documentation ... whatever the project requires. Even better, she explains how you can get buy in from team members that the adjustments and compromises as truly good ideas. Second in a two-part series Ðsee Part 1 here. 1 PDU
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What Is The Need
Project Definition - Vision Document – GUEST
Establishing a project vision with your team doesn't have to be difficult. Sometimes, simple vision statements are the most powerful. This high-level purpose and scope statement can help ensure you really understand why you need what you need.
Powerful Project Visions for Developing Projects in Half the Time – MEMBER
Using real project examples, this paper discusses how to arrive at a QRPD vision, what it must contain to deliver a super-urgent project on time, and how to combat the number one reason for project slippage: changing product definitions that force teams to deal with a moving target.
Business Requirements Document – PREMIUM
In a slightly more formal way, this detailed, annotated outline provides a solid foundation for expressing the true requirements of the project -- as well as the business case and context -- so the development team knows what to go code before they start.
Is It Worth It?
Opportunity Screening Worksheet – PREMIUM
Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This is an Opportunity Screening worksheet used to help determine if an idea is worth enough to the company to commission a product development project. The worksheet is written for analyzing a specific product idea, but with some deletion of items and minor modifications, the worksheet can be used for a benefits analysis for projects other than product development projects.
Project Business Case – PREMIUM
Documenting a business case gives your sponsor information required to understand risks and get funding approval, and can give your team a barometer for success throughout the project.
Project Alternatives Tradeoff Table – PREMIUM
The table gives your team a concise way to document (and communicate!) the alternatives you are considering for scope and features, and the impact of various combinations on the project's cost, schedule, resources, and risk. Remember, doing nothing is always an alternative.
What Should/Shouldn't We Build?
Agile Technique Brief: Requirements Cards – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until July 3, 2013
Agile methodologies like Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP) often build on "user stories" as a way of capturing and tracking feature requirements. This brief explains how to use the technique -- referred to here as requirements cards in order to widen the horizon to customers and stakeholders.
Project Definition - Deliverables – PREMIUM
An "is/is not" worksheet for defining the major deliverables that the project is chartered to deliver. Sometimes an informal documentation like this is all you need.
Product Requirements Specification – PREMIUM
An annotated outline for a Product Requirements Specification. Such a document is created early in a project to define what a product will be designed to do, in response to requests from customers and Marketing.
When Should We Build It?
Agile Technique Brief: Agile Planning – PREMIUM
Confused by the concept of plan-as-you-go projects? This guideline explains what planning looks like on an Agile project, as well as what kind of projects are most likely to benefit from it, and how to organize successful planning for your agile project at the release, iteration, and day-to-day level.
Spiral/Iterative Project Phase Approach – PREMIUM
Agility doesn't have to mean Agile. This guideline uses an example from an actual project to explain how to use an iterative, or spiral, development model along with time-boxing, to plan and execute a project.
Can You Give Me An Example?
Customer Acceptance Checklist – PREMIUM
Customers can use this checklist format while walking through a review and test of a pre-release system, for example before going through with a purchase. Allows customer to record issues, indicate which must be resolved before acceptance, and ultimately sign off on accepting the new feature or system.
User Acceptance Test Plan (IT) – PREMIUM
Another take on acceptance criteria is this annotated outline for testing to be executed by users of a system or application prior to the production-level build and deployment.
Use Case Specification – PREMIUM
This document outline illustrates how to write a complete use case specification in order to capture the specific details of a use case (beyond just the models and diagrams you may have drafted), in order to capture the functional requirements of a system. Comprehensive use case specifications can help drive decisions about system architecture, user interface, manuals and tests, and more.
Brian Irwin has a time management challenge for you this week: Stop wasting time trying to manage time. Try managing your tasks instead.
Carl Pritchard is planning this year's Seminars at Sea cruise in August, which will cover the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition and ISO 21500. Get more information at Carl's website.
Morley Selver is running his 3-day "Fundamentals of Project Management" workshop this fall in the following locations: Calgary AB August 27-29; Denver CO September 25-27; Houston TX October 23-25; Calgary AB November 20-22. For information & enrollment please visit www.peice.com
Kent McDonald is chairing the Agile 2013 conference this year in Nashville, August 5-9. Of special interest to ProjectConnections readers is the Project, Program, and Portfolio Management track, which includes 24 sessions. Find out more about the conference and session schedule here.
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