Agile Methods

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Agile software developers, just like traditional software developers, perform analysis activities. Unlike traditional developers, agilists approach analysis in a highly collaborative manner and do so on a just-in-time (JIT) basis. Analysis is so important to us we do it every single day. In this article, I discuss: What is analysis? Ret...
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Have you noticed the examples of requirements elicitation on my blog? In one case, I had a bit of a contest, using a game to elicit information. You can see this technique by looking in the category Online Game on the blog. Then I had a survey to elicit information. You can see that survey by looking in the category Survey on the blog. Today I am going to use the information from the survey to show you another technique you might use when developing requirements. That technique is writing Personas (or Personae for you Latin fans).

You write a Persona when you want to understand your customers better. This Persona is a story you will tell about a typical (but not real) customer. The Persona is a composite story about your typical customers, made very lifelike.

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I have been very fortunate to see a lot of this history first hand. I have observed changes not just in terms of systems and computers, but also how the trade press has evolved and the profession in general. It has been an interesting ride.

Throughout all of this, there have been some very intelligent people who have impacted the industry, there have also been quite a few charlatans, but there has only been a handful of true geniuses, one of which was Robert W. Beamer who passed away just a couple of years ago. Bob was the father of ASCII code, without which we wouldn't have the computers of today, the Internet, the billions of dollars owned by Bill Gates, or this document.

I always find it amusing when I tell a young person in this industry that I worked with punch cards and plastic templates years ago. Its kind of the same dumbfounded look I get from my kids when I tell them we used to watch black and white television with three channels, no remote control, and station signoffs at midnight. It has been my observation that our younger workers do not have a sense of history; this is particularly apparent in the systems world. If they do not have an appreciation of whence we came, I doubt they will have an appreciation of where we should be going. Consequently, I have assembled the following chronology of events in the hopes this will provide some insight as to how the systems industry has evolved to its current state.

I'm sure I could turn this into a lengthy dissertation but, instead, I will try to be brief and to the point. Further, the following will have little concern for academic developments but rather how systems have been implemented in practice in the corporate world.

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The main benefit of today’s Agile development methodologies such as Scrum or XP is the promise of delivering more in a shorter period of time and the value derived from having the flexibility to adjust your course mid-way through a development effort. But does this type of approach allow for requirements management? Is RM necessary given the shorte...
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Agile analysis is being spoken of more and more frequently in the world of business analysts. This form of analysis is becoming more and more popular as the next generation of business owners comes into play. It is a more hands on approach to the business analysis. There is more communication. Face to face discussions occur more frequently. E-mails and faxes are becoming few and far between. So what is agile analysis?

Author: Tony de Bree

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Agile Modeling (AM) defines a collection of core and supplementary principles that when applied on a software development project set the stage for a collection of modeling practices. Some of the principles have been adopted from eXtreme Programming (XP) and are well documented in Extreme Programming Explained, which in turn adopted them from commo...
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One of the unfortunate aspects of industry-level paradigm shifts, such as what we're seeing with the move to agile software development, is that the followers of the incumbent paradigm often get to set the tone of the conversation. A perfect example of this is that traditionalists will often claim that agile approaches are riskier than traditional ...
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Extreme programming (XP) introduced the practice of expressing requirements in the form of user stories, short descriptions of functionality–told from the perspective of a user–that are valuable to either a user of the software or the customer of the software. The following are typical user stories for a job posting and search site: ...
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We know that we must involve all the stakeholders if we want to discover a project’s requirements. But we need some guidelines on how to involve the right people and, given how busy everyone is, how to minimize the time and maximize the result. In this article, requirements expert Ellen Gottesdiener (www.ebgconsulting.com) shares her consider...
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A fundamental reality of application development is that the user interface is the system to the users. What users want is for developers to build applications that meet their needs and that are easy to use. Too many developers think that they are artistic geniuses – they do not bother to follow user interface design standards or invest the e...
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Just how important is it to fully develop your project’s requirements? After all, nailing down your requirements usually takes only 8% to 15% of your overall project effort. Truth be told, it’s not really something you’ll want to spend your resources and energy on—unless, that is, you care at all about the quality of your pr...
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In the last few years, the agile software development movement has created a paradigm shift in how we work to understand system requirements. Agile teams shape software systems using a collaborative process, with executable software at its heart and documents marginalised to a peripheral role. This creates a fundamental shift away from tools for ma...
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A few years ago I took a photograph an old wooden tombstone. The tombstone read, “Walter Crumbly, Hanged by Mistake – Sorry Walter.” It seems like the software industry wants to collectively hang the waterfall software development method and structured methods. In the not too distant future the software development industry will wake up and realize...
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