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How the Business Analyst supports and encourages collaboration on agile projects

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1 Author(s)
Donna D. Gregorio ; Information Systems, Infrastructure, & Services - Systems Engineering, The MITRE Corporation, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730

Agile teams need the Business Analyst (BA) to clearly define and communicate the detailed user stories to ensure a successful product. MITRE's Corporate IT Systems Engineering department supports software development activities which recently adopted an agile methodology. Unlike the detailed requirements documentation of more traditional, waterfall-based projects, we have found the streamlined “user stories” inadequate for developers or testers. Our BA experiences with eliciting user story details and maintaining the backlog for sprint planning are a critical component to agile development. BA activities include grooming the backlog, documenting user stories with detailed contracts, and performing user story verification through testing. This paper will review the techniques we have used during agile projects to manage the sprint cycle, including templates for user story management. Capturing artifacts from other agile projects and documenting recommended agile process guidelines can help projects be successful through reuse and collaboration. Many agile projects generate artifacts that are lost or are created for the benefit of only their project and discarded when through. Agile encourages lean documentation in order to maximize agility. We established a repository using an internal website where we documented corporte IT processes and share agile templates and samples. This repository includes samples of sprint schedules, backlog lists, burn-down charts, retrospective items, and user stories. The corporate IT process recommends agile but also includes traditional waterfall guidance and correlates the two different approaches. All projects, whether they are agile or otherwise, need similar deliverables, including project schedules and project plans. In correlating agile considerations to a waterfall approach, we hope to ease the transition to agile. The process guidance and repository site promotes collaboration, reuse, and review among agile pro- ects within the organization.

Published in:

Systems Conference (SysCon), 2012 IEEE International

Date of Conference:

19-22 March 2012