Articles

These are some of the articles that we have written or borrowed (with permission) on requirements and software development topics.

How Will it Work?

by Suzanne Robertson & James Robertson

This article continues the viewpoints series, and looks at the Future-How view. This is the one desaling with the technilogical solution to the business problem. The article discusses how alternative solutiuons are probed and assessed, and one that is the best solution to the real business problem is chosen to be developed.

Business Analysis Viewpoints

by Suzanne Robertson & James Robertson

There are an infinite number of ways of looking at any system. This article examines useful viewpoints that help Business Analysts to understand the real problem and come up with innovative ideas. BusinessAnalysisViewpoints

Innovation Triggers

by James Robertson & Suzanne Robertson

Innovation triggers are devices to help the creativity process. Triggers are guides to the parts of the business processes where you can make your most useful innovations.  

It’s Always the Goddamned Interfaces

by The Atlantic Systems Guild

Today I listened to Adrian Reed’s excellent talk on Systems Thinking at the BA Summit organised by Penny Pullan. Early in the talk Adrian made the point that Systems Thinking is all about interfaces and connections; I was reminded of one of the patterns in our book Adrenaline Junkies & Template Zombies.  Keywords : interfaces. business analysis, integration,…

Business Analysis: Turning Gloop into Concrete

by Suzanne & James Robertson

Business analysis is often seen as a technical skill. But the business analyst has another set of responsibilities — to dig into what the stakeholder’s mind and uncover what is really needed, and not just what they say they want. This requires different skills: knowing what questions to ask, dealing with vagueness, listening and providing feedback, knowing…

User Story Considered Harmful

by James & Suzanne Robertson

The user story has some serious problems when it comes to finding the real requirements for the business. Here the authors discuss why the user story has problems, and look at a better way to write stories.

The Thinking Meeting

by Suzanne Robertson & James Robertson

We use meetings as a way of getting a group of people together to share knowledge, information and ideas and to make decisions. However, meetings are often criticised (especially by participants) as a waste of time and a barrier to getting work done. A thinking

What does “value” mean to the business analyst?

by Suzanne Robertson & James Robertson

The Project Management Institute have recognised the connection between project management and requirements. In May 2014 they published a report “Pulse of the Profession, Requirements Management: A core competency for Project and Program Success”. 

Rationale for Rationale

by Suzanne and James Robertson

The Project Management Institute have recognised the connection between project management and requirements. In May 2014 they published a report “Pulse of the Profession, Requirements Management: A core competency for Project and Program Success”. 

The Requirements Food Chain

by Suzanne and James Robertson

The Project Management Institute have recognised the connection between project management and requirements. In May 2014 they published a report “Pulse of the Profession, Requirements Management: A core competency for Project and Program Success”. 

Crossing the Agile Divide: Scrum or Kanban?

by Johanna Rothman, Scott W. Ambler, Suzanne Robertson, Ron Jeffries, Peter Kaminski, Israel Gat, Hubert Smits, and Hillel Glazer

Suzanne Robertson is one of the Agile Experts who discuss the subject of Scrum versus Kanban. The report is published by the Cutter Consortium and they have kindly made it available to readers of our web site

Bells, Whistles, Power, and the Requirements Process

by Tom DeMarco

“As we add new technological tools to our development process, our work becomes less, not more, technological in its focus.” Read Tom DeMarco’s article pubished in IEEE Software about requirements and the changes happening in our industry.

Conversations with Martians

by James Robertson
Conversations with Martians  Greetings Earthling. Take me to your leader. Not that old cliché again. Do you mean the CEO, the CIO, the CTO, the lead BA, the project manager, the programme manager, the product owner or the technical lead? I was expecting a prime minister or a president. Who are all those people? They...

Reusing Requirements: Taking Advantage of What You Know

by Suzanne Robertson

This article summarises work that was started in the late 1990’s to explore how to make requirements knowledge reusable. Our growing sophistication with the use of data, process and state models means that reuse of analysis artefacts becomes more possible.

Podcast: Interview with Freek Leemhuis and Maarten Metz of Devnology.

by James Robertson

In this podcast James speaks of his experience in the profession of architecture and how it provides inspiration for his work on innovation and creativity. The discussion also covers some requirements techniques and how they can be used in software engineering projects. He also discusses the role of the business analyst in agile teams.  

Admired Characteristics of Business Analysts

by James Archer
Admired Characteristics of Business Analysts A survey by James Archer In October 2012 as part of his research into the role and qualifications of a Business Analyst, James Archer conducted a survey to discover the most admired characteristics of Business Analysts. This is a summary of the survey results. This research has been inspired by...

Requirements in Agile Projects

by Suzanne & James Robertson

An interview of Suzanne and James by Neil Maiden for SE Radio. Please do not listen if you are an Agile “True Believer”, this is for the pragmatic business analyst.  

Ten Tests for Requirements

by Suzanne & James Robertson
Ten Tests for Requirements By Suzanne & James Robertson We all accept that testing the software is a necessary activity when building a system. However, if the software is written to inaccurate requirements, then no matter how skilled the developer is, the software will not do what it is needed to do. Instead of limiting...

Is Agile Shortchanging the Business?

by James & Suzanne Robertson

A new article in Cutter Consortium’s Agile Product & Project Management Advisory Service, by James & Suzanne Robertson. This report courtesy of Cutter Consortium.

Simplicity and Requirements

by Suzanne Robertson

In today’s world of system development we are increasingly concerned with being more agile, with having a lean approach, with delivering value more quickly. This involves careful thinking and requirements gathering in order to make the software simple.

Volere Agility

by Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson

The eighth article in the Volere series looks at requirements and the agile world.

Use Cases for Useful Points of View

by Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson

This is the seventh article in the series that explains the thinking behind the Volere requirements techniques. This one explores productive ways of using use cases to help you find requirements.

Pecha Kucha

by James Robertson
Pecha Kucha By James Robertson Pecha Kucha is usually pronounced in three syllables as “pe-chak-cha”, is the onomatopoeic Japanese word for the sound of conversation. The equivalent English term is “chit-chat”. This presentation format was devised in 2003 in Tokyo. The idea is simple: you have 20 slides and each one is shown for 20 seconds....

UML and the Cost of Defects

by Stephen Mellor

It is common knowledge that software defects, especially in embedded systems, are expensive to repair; less well appreciated is just how very expensive it is, especially for requirements defects. This paper outlines these costs and how they depend on the development process.

World-class Business Analyst?

by Tim Lister
World-class Business Analyst? By Tim Lister Last month, Rick Harris of DTE; Jim Highsmith, author of Adaptive Software Development; and I found ourselves in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Rick asked Jim and me what would be the skills, characteristics, and talents of the perfect business analyst. What a great question! I was especially pleased that he did...

How Now Brown Cow

by Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson

This is the fifth article in a series that explains the thinking behind the Volere requirements techniques. Subsequent articles will explore various aspects of applying these techniques in your environment.

Why is Innovation so Hard?

by James Robertson
Why is Innovation so Hard? By James Robertson Each passing week I read another article telling business people that they need to innovate. You must have read many of these, and yet if we were all to grasp the mettle as exhorted, and innovate enough to come up with the next breakthrough product or service,...

Requirements – a socio-technical discipline

by Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson
Requirements – a Socio-technical Discipline Suzanne Robertson & James Robertson, The Atlantic Systems Guild This is the fourth article in a series that explains the thinking behind the Volere  requirements techniques. Subsequent articles will explore various aspects of applying these techniques in your environment. A Combination of Perspectives The previous articles in this series have...

Requirements for Managing Requirements

by Suzanne Robertson, Published by Cutter Consortium.

This report works through the Volere requirements knowledge model. This illustrates how some degree of formality opens the door to making choices appropriate for each individual project and leads towards the ability to reuse requirements.

From Business Event to BUC

by Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson

This is the third in a series of articles on the Volere requirements techniques and explains how the business analysts translates a business need into a system scenario.

Volere Requirements Techniques: an Overview

by Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson

This is the first article in a series that explains the thinking behind the Volere requirements techniques. Subsequent articles will explore the practicalities of applying these techniques in your environment.

The (Proto)type of requirements thinking at IAG

by Andrew Kendall

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) is Australia’s leading general insurance group. It provides personal, commercial and rural insurance under some of the countries most well-known brands including NRMA Insurance, SGIO, SGIC, CGU and Swann Insurance.

Know Your Goals

by Ian Alexander

Some requirements people talk about Goals only in the sense of ‘vague, unachievable, high-level aspirations’; others seem to mean almost the same as requirements, while scenario and Use Case people say that every scenario has a Goal. So it’s understandable that newcomers often get confused and avoid the whole subject. But a Goal has a…

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