Wednesday, May 17, 2006

PM/BA World Presentations - 1

Agile Project Management
Managing in the face of ever-changing
Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM

OK, here is the first one I have looked at that has ‘Agile’ in the title. It is basically an Agile overview, by a published author on the topic.

My comments/thoughts:

… why are ‘traditional’ methods always described as forcing the Requirements to be ‘locked down’, ie. no changes allowed during development? A simple Change Management process can be used to address any and all possible changes to a project, not just requirement changes. The aim of such a process is not just to identify a change, but to document its impact on the project. Agile projects seem to live in a fantasy world where the sponsor did not demand to know the cost, effort and target date before agreeing to pay for the project, so I guess Agile sponsors don’t care about changes that could increase cost or delay delivery.

…my favourite Agile principle: ‘Working software over comprehensive documentation’… how many times have you heard a maintenance programmer a few years down the road after implementation complain that the system documentation he/she has to work with is ‘too comprehensive’?

…Agile project characteristic: ‘Early and continuous delivery of usable deliverables’… Agreed, so why can’t you know what you will deliver before you start, if each delivery is small? The presenter describes Feature Driven Development as an Agile methodology, where it says the first thing to do is build a model for the whole domain, then start iterating. Well, what is in that model? Your requirements!: a function model, a data model, a process model, whatever… those are documentation of Requirements.

…about Features (in the SCRUM methodology too); what does a feature look like? How to you document it? How do you know what data is needed for a Feature? Cute names don't an artifact make.

OK, that’s it for now. I have looked at about a dozen other presentations as well, all of them pretty good but nothing has jumped out at me to comment on. I know there are at least a few more on Agile I have yet to look at, but I won’t write about Agile again unless something really interesting comes up.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

BA World - afterthoughts

So, my presentation covered the content of a lot of my early posts on this blog, i.e:
-what is an Information System Requirement...
- you need multiple documenting artifacts to capture different types of requirements
- the multiple artifacts need to be integrated to eliminate duplication/redundancy

My sense of the audience that came to see me.... ..........wait, I have to say that I am beyond thrilled that upwards of 50 people did come to see me, certainly encourages me to do it again..... ..... anyway, I think I was speaking to some people who are not (yet) getting to use any artifacts, and are still churning out paragraph-based documents... and some people are only getting to use one artifact and trying to cram everything into it, the best evidence for 'one artifact does not fit all'. So, I hope I gave people some ideas that will help them back in their work-places.

I was also a little surprised that when I asked if there were any data modelers in the room, only one person raised their hand; and that person seemed to be young enough not to know who Ron Ross is, or was to data modeling. I am still not sure what to make of that, Data Modeling is still the senior method/artifact to me, everything else builds on the data, in Use Cases, in Business Rules, and more.

In the meantime, I have started scanning through some of the other presentations, so will report next on the highlights next time...

Friday, May 12, 2006

The day after BA World

First off, it took me 3 hours to drive home, downtown Toronto to K/W (assuming u know where that is..)

Other than presenting, the most fun I had was listening to Scott Ambler dissing Business Analysts, but not Business Analysis, on a panel discussion. I had one innocent question when one of the other panelists mentioned offshoring, but after some other questions from the floor that had Scott complaining about 'useless documentation produced by BAs' and 'BAs should learn to code', I got the mike back and vented on him a bit about how BAs like me work successfully with developers every day... then when things slowed down, I got the mike again and the MC (good Ms. Kerton!) warned me to ask a question only, which I was going to do, as I started to speak Scott called me an 'evil man'! All in good jest, of course, and I accept it as a compliment. I must see if he has a forum and continue the discussion, if possible. He is certainly one of the most recognized proponent of Agile approaches, so I give him full credit for coming to BA World and participating on the panel (about the future of the BA role). Our wonderfull IIBA president, Kathleen Barret, was also on the panel and had plenty of chances to mix it up with Scott as well, but they agreed on a few things too.It is somewhat amazing/exciting that we actually have a controversial subject to discuss, so also full credit to BA World for addressing it. I had to duck out before the session ended to get ready for my own little show, so if anyone else was there and has any news on how it ended, do let me know.

The other new and good event was roundtable group discussions on various topics like where does the BA role belong in an organization, and BAs as PMs, and (my favourite) Agile Analysis. Volunteers facilitated the sessions, and groups of 5 or 6 people made for great discussions; there were roundtables on PM subjects too (as BA World is partnered with the longer-running Project World), so I hope the PMs enjoyed theirs as well.

That's it for now. I am gathering more thoughts on how my presentation went, and the very good discussions I had with some attendees afterwards, plus I have some business cards and email addresses to check up on, and all the the presentations I didn't see on CD to go over... so more on BA World in my next post.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Live from BA World

Hi all, just a quick note at 3:30 pm at Business Analyst World in Toronto... did my presentation at 1:15, and all seems to have gone well. It was still a little nervewracking, and the clipon microphone came off twice, but I finished early, took some questions, and had some good after-presentation discussions with a few people. Verbal reviews were encouraging, now just have to wait for the feedback sheets(!).

I recommend speaking at a conference like this, if you have something you want to share. What you may think is normal or well-known, still might news to others... anyway, I will post some more on BA World over the next few days.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

PM/BA World this week.

OK, Project Management and Business Analyst World are on this week in Toronto; I make my presentation on Thursday (May 11).

My subject is Integrating Business Analysis Artifacts (including Business Rules).The details are available at :

I highly recommend this conference to all Business Analysts. It is an annual event in Toronto and other locations around North America, paired with ProjectWorld. See for details.So come on down, I look forward to meeting any and all who have visited this blog since its inception last year.

About Me

Ontario, Canada
I have been an IT Business Analyst for 25 years, so I must have learned something. Also been on a lot of projects, which I have distilled into the book "Cascade": follow the link to the right to see more.