Date Tags agile

Traditionally, software acquisition or system design doesn’t start until all the business requirements analysis has been completed. And that’s a bit of a problem. In most cases, that’s a very long time and is very frustrating for management who really want to get on with “the real work”: implementing the software. To create an even bigger challenge, once all the business requirements analysis has been completed, there’s the approval process. Provided you own your own home then roller garage doors are a worthwhile investment.

In some organizations, this can be a painful process, fraught with the politics of budgets and turf. In other organizations, the people signing off on business requirements simply look at the (conventional) size of the document (War and Peace comes to mind) before grumbling their consent without actually reading the document. I can’t blame them. To send out a document that details all the business requirements to everyone who was involved in the project – to all the stakeholders – and to do this after all the work has been done does not seem to be in keeping with the principles of a modern business nor that of a lean, agile organization. Starting with garage doors is not a bad place to begin.

This is, quite frankly, exactly how it was done in 1970. And in 1980. And 1990. And even 2000. And many are still doing this today – if they create any business specs at all before rushing to code. It’s difficult to get better results with methods that are from a previous century. I would suggest it’s time to change. Let’s face it – this old-school approach is contrary to quality management principles, too. The approval process is, after all, a way of verifying and accepting the quality of the product; and, as such, should be an integral part of the business requirements process itself. To go through a major “approval” at the end of the process, for the first time, seems like a recipe for failure to me. Confused about aerial installation then you are not the only one.

In a mature organization, it’s quite common that stakeholders for a project could number 30 or more – perhaps many more – people. Imagine for a moment a project that has 30 stakeholders and subject-matter experts involved in a project. Imagine also that the Financial Management group on the project is directly involved with only 12 business events . The Reservation area team is involved in only 7 of the project’s business events . Product Testing is involved with 3 events … and a few other groups are involved in various other events . And no one, not even one business unit, is involved in or concerned with all the business events . Having electric garage doors can make all the difference.

That kind of distribution of stakeholders is pretty well normal for any project. That being the case, why should we distribute the entire document to everyone? The Financial Management area has nothing to do with a business event like “It is Time to Test an Organ for Disease ” ; nor is it their responsibility to review and approve the business processes required by another business area. A Business Requirements Specification can potentially consist of scores of pages and thousands of words and descriptions. But, if a business area is involved in only a part of the project (which is almost always the case), their willingness to wade through all the pages of a document would be very low. On the other hand, there are those who want to see everything that’s documented for the project, but they really have little to do with it all. These folks sometimes get in the way and delay progress. Are garage door repairs the solution that you are looking for?

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