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Webinar: The BA’s friend or foe? How to fit Requirements Engineering into Agility

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In the world of software development, requirements engineering has been recognized as an important discipline for the past couple of decades. Without proper requirements software development was bound to fail. But is this still true in the current Age of Agility?

Requirements engineering was a natural fit in the waterfall approach. It was an upfront activity in the first phase of the project, the analysis phase. In this stage the overall business requirements were elicited, documented and validated, and served as a contract for the remainder of the project. During functional design these business requirements were supplemented by user requirements and technical design added the system requirements.

Modern software development often follows agile approaches like Scrum and XP. The role of requirements engineering is less obvious in these instances. Given that there are no distinct phases, requirements engineering continues throughout the process and may be part of every iteration. Agile approaches are not very keen on upfront activities (‘Responding to change over Following a plan’) nor documentation (‘Working software over Comprehensive documentation’). As a consequence, developers tend to neglect requirements engineering in agile projects. They seem to believe that requirements engineering is some old-school thing that doesn’t fit into agility. Requirements are deemed to be the exclusive responsibility of the Product Owner which the rest of the team takes for granted. They often find out too late that this is a mistake.

Requirements engineering is an essential part of any development endeavor, irrespective of its methodology. In every approach it should not be confined to an upfront analysis phase, but get attention throughout the lifecycle. In this webinar I will address four common misunderstandings about requirements engineering and agility:

  • Upfront is Evil 
  • User Stories are Enough 
  • Documentation is Waste 
  • Only Working Software Counts 

I also will talk about the points of engagement where professional requirements engineering fits into an agile iteration and about some techniques that can add value there. 

Professional requirements engineering fits perfectly into agile principle #9 ‘Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility’. This is a principle we have learned and practiced for a long time.

 It is not RE or Agile, but RE at Agile!


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