Project Management

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Every software team talks about project scope and team members often complain about unending scope creep. Unfortunately, the software industry lacks uniform definitions of these terms, and the requirements literature is short on clear guidance regarding how to even represent scope. I confront scope head-on in this series of three articles...
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It is common for projects to be initiated based on blueprints. However, a blueprint is just a guide to the future state. Its intended purpose is to guide the subsequent analysis and design activities. It does not answer all the questions. The details of what, how, and why are left to requirements analysis.
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Being required to produce documents that create massive information bloat and don’t add value is frustrating as it slow projects down and creates additional project cost that isn’t needed. It’s a headache for Project Manager, Business Analyst and everyone on the team. What we need is the smallest set of information that can be verified and validated quickly that directly ensures the highest quality outcome of the project. 

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If you are a Scrum Master of an agile team, your prime purpose is to help the software development team remove obstacles that are impeding progress. The best practice approach in succeeding at this is to assume the role of a neutral facilitator. That is, the Scrum Master guides the team through a process for solving situations themselves rather than the Scrum Master proposing a solution. This article provides two workshop scenario exercises (an internal team conflict and a team conflict with the product owner) that help the Scrum Master practice the neutral facilitator role.
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...why blame the success or failure of the project primarily on requirements? If the business analyst is not in charge of the monitoring and controlling of the project, why pass the blame on. If a decision to apply one form of methodology over the other does not rest with the BA, is it not valid to review the stewardship and question the effectiveness of the stewardship?
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The 3 Amigos (sometimes referred to as a “Specification Workshop”) is a meeting where the Business Analyst presents requirements and test scenarios (collectively called a “feature”) for review by a member of the development team and a member of the quality assurance team.
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One of my favorite tools in business analysis is the premortem. Instead of waiting until the end of a project to find out what went wrong, and learn for the future, we can use this technique to go on an “imaginary time travel” to avert real failures.
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As a business analyst (BA), what would you say during the initial conversation with your project manager (PM)? First, do not assume that the PM knows what to expect from a BA. In fact, this is your opportunity to set expectations and explain your value added to the project.

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Tracking project status means comparing where you really are at a particular time against the expectation of what “complete” means for this development cycle.  Monitor the status of just those functional requirements that were committed for the current release, because that’s the set that’s supposed to be 100 percent done before you declare success and ship the release.

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The lines between business analysts’ and project managers’ responsibilities seem to be becoming increasingly blurred, particularly in these tight economic times where candidates are sometimes expected to fulfill both roles. But it is crucial that companies understand the difference between these roles if they want their projects to be executed in the most efficient manner.

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Before an organization releases a new piece of software or web feature to all of its customers or the general public, it will generally offer a limited audience a chance to test drive the feature and offer their feedback. This is generally known as a Beta launch...

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Business value is a new indicator for project success. Huh? You may be wondering what ever happened to the good ole scope, schedule, and budget. They are still there and measured, but what the 2012 trends have been pointing to is that a project completed within scope, schedule, and budget and not be successful.

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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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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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My understanding is that, in practice, successful agilists tend to bring together a number of activities, tasks, and deliverables that are from beyond the boundaries of what may be called “pure agile.” This mixing and matching of software process elements from agile and non-agile (more formal) approaches is a much more practical way of using these methods.

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