Skip to content

Software Development Blogs: Programming, Software Testing, Agile Project Management

Methods & Tools

Subscribe to Methods & Tools
if you are not afraid to read more than one page to be a smarter software developer, software tester or project manager!

Requirements

Product Ownership

When a company decides, for whatever reason, that Agile is the right idea for them and they are going to go all out to switch over to Scrum as a methodology, the person they usually look to as taking on the new Product Owner roles (POs) are the existing Product Managers (PdMs). This makes all […]
Categories: Requirements

Software Development Linkopedia August 2014

From the Editor of Methods & Tools - 8 hours 10 min ago
Here is our monthly selection of interesting knowledge material on programming, software testing and project management.  This month you will find some interesting information and opinions about Agile retrospectives, software architecture, software developer psychology, software testing  in Agile teams, quality code and the (funny) history of programming. Web site: Fun Retrospectives Blog: How to make software architecture decisions? Blog: Cognitive Biases in Software Engineering Blog: How the Other Half Works: an Adventure in the Low Status of Software Engineers Blog: Confessions of an ex-developer Article: Tearing Down the Walls – Embedding QA in a TDD/Pairing and ...

More Than 800 Videos on TVAgile.com

From the Editor of Methods & Tools - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 09:33
TVAgile.com has just passed the mark of the 800 resources available with an Oredev conference presentation that discusses how to foment creative collaboration based on the tenets of improv and open spaces. TVAgile.com is a directory of videos, interviews and tutorials focused agile software development approaches and practices: Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Test Driven Development (TDD) , Lean Software Development, Kanban, Behavior Driven Development (BDD), Agile Requirements, Continuous Integration, Pair Programming, Refactoring, … Explore all these resources on http://www.tvagile.com/

Tips for Newbie Business Analysts – Part II

Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 17:00
You have become a model-making machine, an expert in elicitation sessions, and a proficient PowerPointer. You communicate early and often with your project team members, and you’ve read Betsy Stockdale’s blog post on Professionalism 101. It might seem as though you’re ready to take the leap and start owning areas of a project by yourself. […]
Categories: Requirements

The 5 worst mistakes people make with requirements

Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 17:00
By: Ulf Eriksson Working with requirements is a serious responsibility. The people behind them are those that provide the rest of the team with something to develop and something to test. After the initial briefing and discussion about a new project, they effectively kick-start the process that will eventually result in a finished product. In […]
Categories: Requirements

Volunteer Power

Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 17:00
Generally, when someone asks for project involvement or even shows a high amount of interest, I’ll find a way to include that person to the extent possible. It can sometimes make meetings more complicated, especially when you have to provide background information in order to ‘loop in’ the new person, but often a new perspective, […]
Categories: Requirements

Welcome to The Situation Room

Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 17:00
The Seilevel World Headquarters in Austin has workstations scattered throughout about 10 different offices (rooms, not separate locations) and about 7 conference rooms with marker boards, large tables, conference phones, and projectors. We are a consulting firm; so we aren’t all always in our office. Those of us who travel to client sites don’t have […]
Categories: Requirements

What Models Should be Used to Create Requirements in an Agile Project?

Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 17:00
This is a question that came up repeatedly in the classes I have taught these past few months.  My answer is always the same – “any and all models that are needed to define the problem space and derive the requirements.”  The reaction to this is almost always identical – “but I thought we ONLY […]
Categories: Requirements

PMI Professional in Business Analysis

Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com - Tue, 08/05/2014 - 17:00
PMI is offering a new certification, and this one is aimed at business analysts. Called the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA), PMI is recognizing the growth of business analysts in the industry, as well as the role that BAs play. Intrigued, I decided to look more into it, as I’m still a few hours […]
Categories: Requirements

Data Flow Diagram (DFD) Tutorial: Texas Hold ‘Em

Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com - Thu, 07/31/2014 - 17:11
The data flow diagram is a useful, low-level data model that can show how data is transformed and manipulated through processes. This model does NOT show decisions, nor does it show a sequence of processes. This tutorial will take a commonly understood real-world scenario, a round of Texas Hold ‘Em, and provide step-by-step instructions for […]
Categories: Requirements

2 minute models: A walk through the Feature Tree Model

Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 19:41
Please join me for a quick walk through of our Feature Tree Model. This video only scratches the surface of how valuable this model really is, and how it can be used for a variety of projects. Please feel free to make suggestions and ask questions in the comments section, and I will address them […]
Categories: Requirements

Software Development Conferences Forecast July 2014

From the Editor of Methods & Tools - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 08:39
Here is a list of software development related conferences and events on Agile ( Scrum, Lean, Kanban) software testing and software quality, programming (Java, .NET, JavaScript, Ruby, Python, PHP) and databases (NoSQL, MySQL, etc.) that will take place in the coming weeks and that have media partnerships with the Methods & Tools software development magazine. Agile on the Beach, September 4-5 2014, Falmouth in Cornwall, UK SPTechCon, September 16-19 2014, Boston, USA Future of Web Apps, September 29-October 1 2014, London, UK STARWEST, October 12-17 2014, Anaheim, USA JAX London, October 13-15 2014, ...

Quote of the Month July 2014

From the Editor of Methods & Tools - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 08:22
Research has shown that the presumption of selfishness is true for maybe 30% of most populations; another 50% are reliably unselfish, and the remaining 20% could go either way, depending on the context. If a company presumes that the undecided 20% are selfish, you can bet they will be selfish—it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. But worse, the company will create an environment where the 50% of the people who are unselfish are forced to act selfishly. And losing the energy, commitment, and intelligence of half the workforce is perhaps the biggest ...

The Robotic Jockey

Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:18
In the March 1945 issue of “Radio-Craft”, a bold vision was laid out for the future of horse racing: human jockeys should be replaced by motorized, radio-controlled “Robotic Jockeys”.   Taken from the same article, the author describes how these new jockeys would work: “The “jockey” would consist of a modern radio receiver, with outputs […]
Categories: Requirements

Don’t Begin UAT Until…

Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:20
As projects run long and budgets get tight, the first thing that gets squeezed is testing. Even with the best of intentions, the planning, design, and development phases often go longer than expected. In order to meet that precious target rollout date, testing can get rushed. However, it is really important that testing is done […]
Categories: Requirements

Should the Product Owner test everything?

Good Requirements - Jeffrey Davidson - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 00:24

A scrum master I’ve coached recently sent me this question and I wanted to share my answer. Would you have answered the same way? What did I miss? What do you ask (demand?) from your product owner?

 

Question: Hi, Jeffrey,

Quick question for you: Does Product Owner (PO) approval need to be on a per story basis, per feature basis, or both?

We are facing a situation where some of the system environments were not in place and completed work has remained in Dev until today. We received today that the Test environment is ready. The stage environment is due to be completed at some point in the near future. Meanwhile, our team has modified the team’s “Definition of Done” so that completion criteria are more aligned with our capabilities within the framework of system environments being incomplete. Hence, the above question.

Signed,
The Client

 

Answer: Hello, Client.

First, it makes sense the PO is included in the conversation around “Definition of Done.” I’m not sure based on the question if they are in the loop, or not. I say this because the team is building and meeting expectations for the PO. It’s the polite thing to do to notify them and explain the new definition. In some cases, it may be more appropriate to ask their permission to change rather than simply notify them of the change.

Second, this change makes sense to me; you didn’t have the right environments previously and now you do. It makes sense the definition should change to accompany the environment and how the team is working.

Third, what’s happened to date and how much trust is there between the PO and team? If the PO has already tested all the existing stories, then they may not want to do more than audit the existing stories in the new environment(s). If the PO has trust in the team and testers, they many never do more than audit the stories. If the PO doesn’t have time, they may never get to more than auditing stories. In the end, it’s a great big “it depends” kind of answer.

What do I want from the PO? I want more involvement, as much as I can get. I want the PO to test every story as it’s finished and at least audit functionality and features as they are delivered. I don’t often get it, but it’s my request.

Categories: Requirements

How do I split these 40 stories?

Good Requirements - Jeffrey Davidson - Fri, 06/27/2014 - 04:15

A student from last week’s Agile Bootcamp Class taught at Harvard University (yes, that Harvard) asks,

 

Question: I have a project that involves 3 different users who want approximately 25 new fields on an application. Most of these fields are view only with the exception of 4-5 fields which allows input changes. However, user #1 wants to see all 25 fields, user #2 wants to see only 10 of the same fields, and user #3 wants to see 5 of the same fields. How should I approach writing these stories? Would I write a story for each user and each field – which could potentially be 40 stories? Or should I just combine the fields that all 3 users would want to view? For example, one field might be “name”. My user story might say“As a user #1, user #2, user #3, I want to see all names of employees eligible for an annual salary increase so that I can view all eligible employees.”

 

Answer: This sounds like an interesting set-up. My answers, of course, will be a bit general because I don’t know all the specifics. Also, I will make more stories if the developers are unfamiliar with the systems / tables / data, and probably fewer stories if the team knows quite a bit about the different systems. With caveats out of the way, let’s dig in! First, 40 stories? Yuck. Too many. Second, because you have 3 different users, I would start with stories for satisfying all of them (unless there is a reason to focus on just one). My presumption is doing this adds value the quickest, which is my guiding answer for how to break up stories.

  1. As user #3, I want to view < information from 1 field> so I can do my job.
  2. As user #3, I want to see < more information > so I can . . . .
  3. As user #2, I want to view < even more information > so I can . . . .
  4. As user #1, I want to see < all the information > so I can . . . .

The point of #1 is to prove we can display information, while the other stories add more details for the same and additional users. None of these is about editing the data. Depending on what keeps the users and developers happiest, there are a couple of options. I can insert story 1A; Edit the first field. After this I would insert more edit stories, probably grouped like the last 3 stories above, as appropriate. A different approach might be to insert the edit stories after the last story. Again, where is the value?

A couple side notes:
  • It doesn’t make much difference if you use “see” or “view,” the goal is understanding, not the worlds best grammar.
  • I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the value statement in your user story is a bit weak. What is the specific reason to view eligible employees; the actual awarding of salary increases, a validation check, a fascination with other people’s salary, something else entirely?
Categories: Requirements

Software Development Conferences Forecast June 2014

From the Editor of Methods & Tools - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 07:22
Here is a list of software development related conferences and events on Agile ( Scrum, Lean, Kanban) software testing and software quality, programming (Java, .NET, JavaScript, Ruby, Python, PHP) and databases (NoSQL, MySQL, etc.) that will take place in the coming weeks and that have media partnerships with the Methods & Tools software development magazine. AGILE2014, July 28 – August 1, Orlando, USA Agile on the Beach, September 4-5 2014, Falmouth in Cornwall, UK SPTechCon, September 16-19 2014, Boston, USA STARWEST, October 12-17 2014, Anaheim, USA JAX London, October 13-15 2014,London, UK Pacific Northwest ...

Kanban, Developer Career & Mobile UX in Methods & Tools Summer 2014 issue

From the Editor of Methods & Tools - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 14:54
Methods & Tools – the free e-magazine for software developers, testers and project managers – has just published its Summer 2014 issue that discusses objections to Kanban implementation, How to use a model to evaluate and improve mobile user experience, balancing a software development job and a meaningful life, Scrum agile project management tools, JavaScript unit testing and static analysis for BDD. Methods & Tools Summer 2014 contains the following articles: * Kanban for Skeptics * Using a Model To Systematically Evaluate and Improve Mobile User Experience * Developer Careers Considered Harmful * TargetProcess – ...

Quote of the Month June 2014

From the Editor of Methods & Tools - Fri, 06/20/2014 - 06:39
A UX team that deals with only the details of radio buttons and check boxes is committing a disservice to its organization. Today UX groups must deal with strategy. Source: Institutionalization of UX (2nd Edition), Eric Schaffer & Apala Lahiri, Addison-Wesley