Agile Academy Meetup: A Business Value Focused Model for Story Identification

MeetupAgile AcademyShane Hastie presented at the September 2010 Agile Academy Meetup in Brisbane on the topic of user stories. Here are my notes:

Agile Academy Meetup Shane Hastie

  • use models to break complex problems down to manageable chunks
  • Standish Group – number of canceled projects has increased with agile and number of wasted money projects have decreased – trend seems to be that agile is driving the cancellation of bad projects
  • business value is not delivered until it is in production and being used by the users
  • nobody ever does a business realisation review – 9 months after the project ask did we deliver what we said we would deliver
  • turn the story card around to emphasise value – so that… I want…
  • users is a bad term – implies they are addicted to something – they are customers of our service, victims of our software
  • think about who is your customer, what are their real needs – pin a picture up of them up on the wall to remind you to ask what they would think
  • events happen – business events (random but we need to be able to respond them when they arise), temporal events (happen due to the passage of time such as end of month, annual backup, daily backup, quarterly review) and conditional events (happen because something else happened)
  • suggest adding when to epics to track events as a… when… I want… when… so that
  • elementary business process – done by one person (or small team) in one place at one time – this is the level we should usually look for our epics
  • look for CRUD – a business process that is supposed to happen
  • latch onto nouns in customer conversations – a trigger that something is done
  • look at the management levels – we are good at the immediate needs of the workforce, but what about the needs of supervisory management, middle management and top management
  • think about the impact of data from external sources – what if the GST percentage changed tomorrow (it is in New Zealand!)
  • the model for epics – As a.. When… I Want… Using… So That
  • add the CRUD to the using statements to confirm the process
  • next level down look into Jeff Patton’s story mapping process
  • the smell of stories – PERFUM (Performance, Efficiency, Functionality, Usability, Maintainability) – in some cases if you don’t look after these, a refactor will mean rewrite the system
  • value is in the delivery of a complete epic
  • epic model helps you figure out how big the project is without going to a low level of detail
  • epic model is based on early work by Ed Yourdon and works on any project, including waterfall
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