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Where do you spend most of your time?

Not all work is the same and as a leader, allocating time to the right kind of work is essential. Time and again I’ve used the war-peace-prosperity model while thinking through this in the context of organization design. Please note that I’m using the term leader in the sense of a person that holds authority and accountability of some part of the business (rather than the more widely applicable idea of “leadership”). War War-like circumstances are chaotic. They need urgent and decisive action. You can think of war in both the active sense and the passive sense. In the passive… Read More »Where do you spend most of your time?

Onsite Business Analyst

This has come up in various discussions recently and I want to put down my thoughts about the role and responsibilities. For a ThoughtWorks team in India (or China) most of the work is offshore agile development. Clients are usually in the UK or the USA. The team is structured as follows: Offshore PM Offshore Devs Offshore QA(s) Offshore BA(s) Onsite BA(s) This is how the communication works. Of course there are other exchanges that take place but the Business Q & A and the Technical Q & A are the most important pieces of concrete information exchanged. Other companies,… Read More »Onsite Business Analyst

Metrics

I have recently come out of a consulting assignment which has given me loads of time to read and think about processes, improvements and effectiveness. (People who follow me on google reader must have noticed). It also had me thinking about introduction of agile into a traditional IT outfit and what would make it more effective. Top -> Down The Top -> Down approach is where someone in the top management realizes (or is convinced) that agile is the solution to all their problems and goes on to “mandate” agile. This is not necessarily bad. If the organization hires the… Read More »Metrics

Testing considered wasteful??

@silvercatalyst posted on twitter a few days back that one of the trainees in his session counted testing as waste. I retweeted with a #funny but @silvercatalyst said he actually agreed with it. So we twiscussed it for a while. (By the way twitter is just the wrong tool for discussing interesting things). Back to the story. Here’s what we ended with after a few emails had been exchanged: Testing is not wasteful. But testing as an activity after development (especially after a time gap) is wasteful Some types of testing can be done upfront but other types still have… Read More »Testing considered wasteful??

Back to the Basics – 1 – The problem

Reading Martin’s ConversationalStories renewed my confidence in this draft post from about an year ago. I just couldn’t put it in the right words and gave up on it. I keep talking about deterministic universes over randomness and stuff like that but the gist of the matter is simple. Writing stories is not the JOB of a Business Analyst in agile development. Writing stories is a collaborative effort in which Customer, BA, Dev, QA should all take part. This is the N in the INVEST principle. And here’s the post ============== I have been talking about tracking and trends and… Read More »Back to the Basics – 1 – The problem

The Revolution

Software Development – Art OR Science? A seemingly clichéd question. Never passed my mind all these years. But let me tell you how I got thinking about this and maybe it’ll interest you a bit. Like I said earlier, I have been following a lot of Lean-Kanban discussions, articles, etc lately. Some such material is Little’s Law & WIP limits. Now the moment I saw an equation, I couldn’t resist the temptation of trying out some math to see if the size and composition of my current team is optimal. Furthermore, I thought, given a few specifications of the project… Read More »The Revolution

Kanban

Although I am not in the thick of things right now (because I am onsite, alone, so far away from my team) I follow the very active kanbandev yahoo group. It’s a great resource for thoughts and questions on lean and kanban software engineering. David Joyce, a group member, posted about a presentation he gave and I found it really good. So here’s the presentation for anyone else interested. It’s definitely a long one but take some time to go through it. Good stuff David.

Story Dependencies

As I mentioned in this post, I am pretty annoyed with myself because of the way I structured stories in the first release of my current project. Here are a few things that I learnt. First of all when we say that Story A is dependent on Story B, it means that Story B development cannot start until Story A development is complete There are different situations where one story is dependent on another. Each situation needs to be dealt with in a different manner. Types and Approaches Situation 1 – The wrong splitThis is the classic vertical split. Many… Read More »Story Dependencies

Credit Cards, PCards and Level 3 data

Here’s a post that talks about business more than business analysis. I have been researching what it means to process level 3 data for credit cards. For quite a while now. Finally today I had that “Oh!” moment and I want to share it because I have had trouble finding data. BasicsCredit Card processing is simple. I am assuming e-commerce here. 1. Customer enters credit card information (Number, expiry date, billing address, CVV)2. Site (Merchant) sends the information to a CC processor.3. CC processor talks to the issuing bank and authorizes the card4. Site (Merchant) gets paid by issuing bank5.… Read More »Credit Cards, PCards and Level 3 data

Can you shuffle your stories?

No? Neither can I and I am not happy about it. So I got my new iPod Touch. One thing I find slightly annoying is the fact that when you select an album it gives you the list of songs. But the first option is “Shuffle”. Being used to LPs and Cassettes and CDs I don’t really like to shuffle songs. I have listened to my favorite albums in a given order of songs for so long, that I want to listen to them in that order. So I started wondering about the requirement for a shuffle option itself. And… Read More »Can you shuffle your stories?

A Bunker Buster coming!!!

Get Down!!! Take Cover!!! A bunker buster on it’s way here guys……been a long time since I wrote one of those 😀 But then again, as Nassim Taleb says in The Black Swan What you know can’t hurt you (much) More on the book later. I still got to finish it.And by the way, have a wonderful New Year guys.