Requirements gathering with geographically distributed teams

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Requirements gathering with geographically distributed teams

  1. 1. January 13th, 2010 beWeeVees ScenariosRequirements gathering with geographically distributed teams Sebastian Fernandez Quezada CEO seba@corvalius.com Versión 1.0
  2. 2. Header Information USER TECHNICAL BUYER ECONOMIC BUYER  Business Analyst  IT Department  Director  Functional Analyst  Offshore Manager  CIO  Offshore ManagerA day in life (before) Scene or situation: Focus on the moment of frustration. What is going on? What is the user about to attempt? Janie is the business analyst in charge of the company effort to gather the requirements and work with Cynthia the functional analyst of the Argentinas development team. As the business analyst Janie has to manage the expectation of her users and translate those expectations into a coherent user story for Cynthia to define in detail what the developers are going to do in the next project iteration. Janie and Cynthia are in constant communication through various means like phone, mail and through written user stories. Desired Outcome: What is the user trying to accomplish? Why is it important? Janie and Cynthia are working on the definition of the detailed user stories that are going to be send to the development team. The detailed user stories are very important because they represent the lowest level functional details that the Developers are going to implement. Attempted approach: Without the new product, how does the user go about the task? Janie and Cynthia discuss over the phone the details of the user stories they are defining and create a list of the high level requirements on <ProductX>. With that in mind Janie start to write the high level user stories, while Cynthia take those one by one to write the low level functional requirements. As Cynthia advances, she finds issues that require clarification on Janies part. The interaction between Cynthia and Janie go on and on by mail and other telepresence means like audio or video, and with any change requiring validation on the other part. Sometimes Cynthia requires the intervention of Janie in the lowest level details and for that assigns the requirement to her for corrections and addendums.beWeeVee’s Scenarios | Requirements gathering with geographically distributed teams 2
  3. 3. Interfering factors: What goes wrong? How and why does it go wrong? Cynthia and Janie are very capable at their role, but they are not in the same physical place for most part of the development cycle as Cynthia has to interact directly with the developers for the programming of the product and Janie with the users themselves. As Janie concentrate on the high level requirements, Cynthia is stalled without much information on the context information. If she decides to advance on what she thinks is needed before Janie finishes writing down in some detail the probability of a mismatch between their mental models can lead to unexpected rework. If she waits until Janie finish an early draft, the time wasted would impact on the development teams ability to implement the features on time. If Janie writes down sketchy versions of her requirements for Cynthia to use, then Janie and Cynthia have to spend precious time synchronizing their work what may lead to rework on both parts. Economic Consequences: So what? What is the impact of the user failing to accomplish the task productively? Miscommunication or failure to define the user stories correctly has a very deep impact on the development team as the cost of rework on the project is high. Moreover, Cynthia and Janie are outnumbered by the development team 1 to 5 so any delay in the definition impact on the tight deadline imposed by the management team.A day in life (after) New approach: With the new product how does the end user go about the task? Janie and Cynthia start writing the requirements collaboratively as they are discussing them on the phone. While Janie explains the requirements to Cynthia both make annotations on the documents about high level and low level details. After the meeting is finished Janie and Cynthia have co-written the requirements and left most of the implementation details already sketched for further enhancement. Janie and Cynthia then works individually on the required changes but they can see what the other party is doing as they write the document and highlight problems or add clarifications. When Janie comes at the other day, it can also playback the changes that she has done to remember where she was or Cynthias changes to understand where she has been adding important content.beWeeVee’s Scenarios | Requirements gathering with geographically distributed teams 3
  4. 4. Enabling factors: What is it about the new approach that allows the user to get unstuck and be productive? With simultaneous edition Janie and Cynthia can accommodate their workflow to collaborate on both high level and low level details at the same time. Using telepresence like video and audio, they can write, discuss and validate the requirements online and the changes can be replayed at any point in time allowing understanding the evolution of the document as it was written. Economic rewards: What are the costs avoided or benefits gained? Working on the same piece of information allows Cynthia and Janie to have immediate feedback on their work from the other party, as they are working on the most important and error prone tasks simultaneously. Knowing that your partner is doing also create a more engaging environment that boost productivity and teamwork, reducing also the waiting time and the boredom and risks associated with it. It also may have economic benefits as teams may not need to travel long distances to work in critical requirements diminishing the expenses of such travels.beWeeVee’s Scenarios | Requirements gathering with geographically distributed teams 4
  5. 5. Corvalius | Useful Changeinfo@corvalius.com | www.corvalius.com

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