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Agile Doesn’t Mean No Requirements

We had a chance to talk with Ashu Potnis, vice president, and the TechnoSolutions TopTeam Analyst team at their booth at the 2019 Project World/Business Analyst World conference in Toronto about what trends they were seeing in the industry. TechnoSolutions provides requirements management solutions that integration with HP Quality Center (now Micro Focus Quality Center) and Microsoft Visual Studio.

Not surprisingly, TechnoSolutions continues to see organizations struggling with requirements analysis and management in their Scrum teams. Many IT teams moving to Agile focus exclusively on user stories and light acceptance criteria as their requirements and use delivery management tools like Jira and Microsoft Team Foundation (now Azure DevOps Server). Although these teams were happy with the transition to Scrum, they struggled to deliver end-user value and saw a significant increase in defects.

This is consistent with Info-Tech’s research and member advisory experience. When many organizations begin Agile, they start by doing Agile before being Agile. Project management of key milestones and compliance items, as well as business analysis and requirements management, are still critical to delivering value in an Agile environment. The Agile manifesto does not state “no documentation,” but rather it challenges teams to find the appropriate level of documentation and not create documents just for the sake of a document.

Info-Tech’s blueprint Implement Agile Practices That Work to develop an iterative approach to rolling out
Agile within your organization.

TechnoSolutions is now seeing a reversal of this trend, just as Info-Tech is helping members reach the next level of Agile and requirements maturity. Organizations are focusing more attention on analysis and requirements management in a dedicated requirements management platform, like TopTeam Analyst, and using tool chain integration to track stories in their delivery management platform. By creating a reusable library of current state requirements, organizations are able to improve their impact assessments, story sizing, and defects due to missed requirements and constraints.

Our Take

  • Managing requirements as an asset is even more important in Agile methodologies and DevOps. Teams don’t have time to rediscover current state, dependencies, and constraints in each sprint.
  • Find the right level of documentation to support the entire product lifecycle.
  • Start with your people and processes and then build a tool chain that supports your teams and processes. Favor integration between tools over individual tool features.
  • Remember, a person with two watches never knows what time it is. Define a system of record for each type of information, update it in one location, and share information between systems so that teams have it when and where they need it.

Want to Know More?

Looking to improve your requirements management and Agile maturity? Download the following blueprints: