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Business Analysis Agility: Solve the Real Problem, Deliver Real Value

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  • Copyright 2019
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 320
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-484716-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-484716-0

Understand and Solve Your Customers’ Real Problems with Agile Business Analysis

To deliver real value, you must understand what your customers truly value, and solve the problems they really need solved. Business analysis can help you do this—and it’s as crucial in agile environments now as it always has been. In Business Analysis Agility, leading experts James Robertson and Suzanne Robertson show how to perform business analysis in an agile way: trying new things, adapting to changes and discoveries, staying flexible, and being quick. Drawing on their unsurpassed experience of hundreds of projects and organizations, the Robertsons help you prioritize relentlessly, focus investments on delivering value, and learn in ways that improve your results.

  • Uncover the real customer problems hidden behind assumptions and conventional solutions
  • Hypothesize potential solutions and quickly test them with safe-to-fail probes
  • Understand how people, hardware, software, organizations, and other components come together in an optimal customer experience
  • Write stories that help you find solutions that deliver more value to customers and the business
  • Think about problems and projects in more agile, nimble, and open-minded ways

The Robertsons’ approach to analytical thinking will be valuable to anyone who wants to build better software in agile environments: analysts, developers, team leads, project managers, software architects, and other team members and stakeholders at all levels of experience.


Author's Site

Please visit the author's site at www.volere.org.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Foreword     xv
Preface     xix
Acknowledgments     xxv
About the Authors     xxvii

Chapter 1:  Agile Business Analysis     1
Why Is This “agile”?     2
Möbius Strip     2
Why Are We Concerned with Business Analysis?     3
Bernie’s Books—An Example in Agile Business Analysis     4
    What Do You Do?     5
    What’s Bernie’s Problem?     6
    People Assume They Know the Solution     7
Analytical Thinking     7
Bernie’s Business Goals     8
Customer Segments     9
    Loyal Customers     9
    Twentysomethings     10
    Book Cover Bandits     11
Value Proposition     11
    Who Identifies Customer Segments and Their
    Value Propositions?     13
How Can I Solve the Problem?     13
Safe-to-Fail Probes     15
    Who Performs Safe-to-Fail Probes?     18
Investigate the Solution Space     18
    Who Investigates the Solution Space?     20
Designing the Solution     20
    Who Designs the Solution?     23
Opportunities     24
Write and Manage Stories     25
agile Business Analysis     27
Business Analysis for Traditional or Sequential Projects     28
The Changing Emphasis of Business Analysis     30
Chapter 2:  Do You Know What Your Customers Value?     33
Problem Versus Solution     34
Identify the Customer Segments     36
    How to Identify the Customer Segments     36
    HomeSpace     38
    Other Stakeholders     39
Prioritize the Customer Segments     39
Value Propositions     41
Talking to the Customers     43
What Impact Will Your Solution Have?     45
Business Value     47
Is It Risky to Deliver the Value?     47
The Moving Target     48
Wrong Until Right     49
Summary     51
Chapter 3:  Are You Solving the Right Problem?     53
The Problem     53
Are You Solving the Right Problem?     54
    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs     56
    The Outcome of Solving the Problem     56
The Customer’s Needs     57
    Customer Journey Maps     58
    Travel the Same Journey as Your Customer     60
Talking to the Customers     60
Uncovering the Essence of the Problem     61
    Ask Why Again and Again and Again     62
Referred Pain     63
Disguised Problems     64
The Real Scope of the Problem     66
Are You Solving the Problem That You Want to Solve?     68
Now You Need a Solution     68
    The Solution Is a Hypothesis     69
    Off-the-Shelf Solutions     69
Options for Solutions     70
How Might We?     71
    Willingness to Be Creative     72
Techniques for Generating Ideas     72
    Innovation Triggers     73
    Constraint Removal     74
    Combining Ideas     75
    The Slogan     76
Personas     76
Portraying Your Solutions     78
Safe-to-Fail Probes     78
    Right Outcome?     82
     “Failed” Probes     83
Double Loop     84
Outcome and Impact     85
Systems Thinking     87
Choosing the Best Option     88
Summary     89
Chapter 4:  Investigate the Solution Space     91
Why Are We Investigating?     92
Defining the Scope of the Solution Space     92
Business Events     95
Scoping by Business Event     97
Finding All the Stakeholders     99
Investigating the Business Events     101
    Prioritize the Business Events     102
Using Models for Your Investigation     103
    Modeling Business Processes     104
Live Modeling     107
Business Rules     107
Why Don’t I Skip Analysis and Just Write Stories?     109
Contextual Inquiries     111
Creative Observation     112
Consider the Culture     113
Summary     115
Chapter 5:  Designing the Business Solution     117
Designing     118
    Designing: An Example     118
Useful, Usable, Used     121
What Is Design?     121
    Making Decisions     122
    Meeting the Essence     122
    Meeting Constraints     123
    Meeting Architecture     123
Good Design     124
What Are You Designing?     124
Designing the Information     126
Designing the Interaction     128
UX Design     130
Designing Convenience     132
Incremental, Iterative, and Evolutionary Design     134
Enabling Technology     135
Recording Your Design     136
Chapter 6:  Writing the Right Stories     139
Business Events     140
Writing Stories     144
     “As a …”     144
    Try Not to Write “I Want”     144
    Ask “why?” again and again     145
    The Two-Line Story     146
Story Maps     146
Functional Stories     148
    Given-When-Then     149
    Breaking Down the Functional Stories     149
    Detailed Tasks     151
Developing the Map     153
Enhancing Your Stories     155
    Acceptance Criteria     155
    The People Involved     156
    Wireframes     157
Prioritizing the Map     158
    Dependencies Among Business Events     160
    Prioritizing the Tasks     160
    Periodic Reprioritization     160
Kanban     161
Minimum Viable Product     162
Quality Needs     163
Qualities: What Do They Look Like?     165
Qualities at the Product Level     168
Fit Criteria for Quality Needs     169
The Volere Template     170
    Look & Feel     170
    Usability     171
    Performance     171
    Operational and Environmental     171
    Maintainability and Support     171
Security     172
Cultural     172
Compliance     172
Exceptions and Alternatives     173
Stories and Development Cycles     174
Summary     177
Chapter 7:  Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick     179
Jack Be Nimble     179
Wicked Problems and Gordian Knots     180
    The Next Right Answer     182
    Looking Outwards     183
    Continuous Improvement     183
    Why Are They Complaining?     185
    Enlightened Anarchy     186
Jack Be Quick     187
    Hour 1: Customer Segments     187
    Hour 2: Value Propositions     188
    Hour 3: Solving the Right Problem     189
    Hour 4: Safe-to-Fail Probes     191
    The Rest of the Day and Some of Tomorrow: Design the Solution     192
    Jumpin’ Jack Flash     193
Jack and Jacqueline Jump over the Candlestick     194
    Jumping the Silos     194
    Avoiding Sign-Offs     196
    The Blue Zone     197
Agile Business Analysis and Iterative Development Cycles     198
    The Product Owner Coordinates     199
    The Discovery Activity Responds to Priorities     199
And Jill Came Tumbling After     201
    Documentation     202
Knowledge Artifacts     202
    Project Goals     202
    Solution Scope     204
    Story Maps     205
Jack Sprat Could Eat No Fat     205
Traditional Business Analysis     208
    Traditional Process     209
    Routine Problems     210
    Complicated Problems     211
    Complex Problems     211
The Requirements Document     212
They Have Licked the Platter Clean     214
Glossary     217
Bibliography     223
Index     227


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