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Distributed requirement handling

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Adopting some agile practices, like stand-up meetings and yellow notes, is easy. The hard part is handling requirements and estimates, especially in a distributed environment. Describing, refining, …

Adopting some agile practices, like stand-up meetings and yellow notes, is easy. The hard part is handling requirements and estimates, especially in a distributed environment. Describing, refining, communicating and prioritizing requirements is difficult for business developers. Estimating and understanding requirements is difficult for developers. This talk describes a flexible sharing regime, implemented in a distributed in-house development environment, which succeeded in improving requirement handling and estimation.


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  • 1 – Svært god2 – God3 – Middels 4 – Dårlig 5 – Svært dårligX – Vet ikke
  • Transcript

    • 1. Distributed Requirement Handling
      Kjetil Moløkken-Østvold – Conceptos Consulting
      XP2010, 2.-3. June, Trondheim
    • 2. The easy part when implementing agile processes
      Having some meetings while not sitting down
      Moving yellow notes around a whiteboard
      Using strange titles (career as a ScrumMaster anyone?)
    • 3. The hard part when implementing agile processes
      Developing and prioritizing requirements
      Providing (accurate) estimates
      Collaborating between developers and customers
    • 4. The hard part is even harder in a distributed environment
    • 5. The case: Lindorff
      Lindorff Group
      Lindorff Group is a leading outsourced receivables management company in Europe and on a global basis
      Lindorff has approximately 2200 employees
      Offices in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Russia and Sweden
      NextLevel Project
      Developers in Oslo and Bø
      Testers and business developers in Oslo, Røyken and Trondheim
      Users/customers in Røyken, Oslo, Trondheim and other areas
    • 6. Internal improvement study Q4 – 2007, findings:
      Poor routines for communicating and prioritizing requirements
      Effort overruns
      Internal collaboration rated as average
    • 7. Describing, refining, prioritizing and communicating requirements is difficult for business people
      Understanding, estimating and developing requirements is difficult for software developers
    • 8. Problem: inefficient communication
    • 9. Solution
      • Implement a flexible sharing regime for requirements, prioritization and estimates
      • 10. Lindorff joined a project financed by Innovation Norway
      • 11. Main development partner was Symphonical
    • About Symphonical
      Symphonical is a web-based collaboration platform, that integrates documents, tasks and communication
      Cloud based (Amazon) since 2008
      Spin-off from Simula Research Laboratory
    • 12. Example features used by Lindorff
      Live (collaboration)
      Sharing (to collaborators)
      Voting/estimation (for requirements/user stories)
      Conversations (history, replaces mail etc.)
      Template – default text on notes (requirements/user stories)
      Tool – reuse settings/templates
    • 13. Results
    • 14.
      • Lindorff improved on all studied areas
      • 15. Respondents provided ratings (1-5, 1=best)
      Main results (two years after)
      • Effort overrun (perceived) was reduced from an average of 25% to 12%
    • Responses from Lindorff
      • Requirement handling
      • 16. All respondents (IT and business) reported that use of Symphonical had greatly improved how requirements were specified, refined and communicated
      • 17. Estimation
      • 18. About half reported that Symphonical had improved the estimation process
      • 19. The other half reported no discernible impact from Symphonical by itself (though it could have played a role along with other improvements)
      • 20. Responses to a large extend depended on company role, with business perceiving most value
    • Lessons learned
      Analyze your situation regarding requirements and overruns
      Get rid of static documents (word, excel etc.) shared via email
      Implement a web-based collaboration platform
    • 21. Thank you!
      Presentation: http://www.conceptos.no/
      Email:
      Kenny Rogers (The Gambler):“Then somewhere in the darkness, the gambler he broke even. But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep”
      This research project was funded by Innovation Norway
      Caveat Emptor: the author of this presentation is a member of the board of directors at Symphonical, and has ownership interests in the company