Agile versus Waterfall is often presented as a difference in development methodology, but it is much more a clash of cultures. Large bureaucracies, government regulation and many other factors can create an environment that is hostile to many forms of innovation and in which Waterfall is actually the most cost-effective approach.
If user stories are the start of the conversations to define user requirements, Scrum teams can also use other tools to obtain a more precise definition of these requirements. In the article “When and How to Create Customer Journey Maps”, Kate Williamson presents the concept of customer journey map, the visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal, and when and how to use them.
Product backlog refinement (or grooming) is an important activity in Scrum projects where user stories are prioritizes, right-sized and estimated. In his book “Agile Reflections”, Robert Galen provides some hints about how to verify that that product backlog grooming has been done successfully and that the right requirements information is available for the next sprint.
It can be complicated to involve the whole team to facilitate product backlog refinement and take part in requirements discussions. I would like to suggest a structure of the PBR (product backlog refinement) meeting that will encourage everybody to speak up and share their ideas on functionality.
As stated in the Agile Manifesto, Agile software development is about “Individuals and interactions”. The importance of having a performing team where individuals collaborate is an essential factor for the success of software development projects. In his “Forming Agile Teams Workbook”, Jesus Mendez provides some tools that offer an alternative-proven way to add more structure, transparency and visibility to formation of Agile teams.
The Agile Alliance and the International Institute of Business Analysis have announced a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines their collaboration on the development of value-add publications, events and engagements for the benefit of the practitioner community and the broader business analysis and corporate community.