31 October 2011

Requirements Management in an agile world

Since a couple of years agile development is a mega-trend. One of the most famous processes in the agile world is Scrum. In theory, Scrum does not need any software tools for managing “epics”, “user stories”, “product backlogs” or “sprints”. Simply speaking you just need a whiteboard and lots of post-it®. But what if your Scrum team is distributed? Or if you want to benefit from the work done in the past? Then it would be useful to have the data stored somewhere…

Why not using a flexible requirements management solution which is capable to enforce any kind of process. Let’s take the following process as an example for an implementation of a Scrum process:

The Product Owner will describe “epics” and “user stories” derived from them (traceability!) where “user stories” will automatically be included in the “product backlog” getting some product backlog specific attributes (e.g. delivery date, priority, assigned team). Each Scrum team can easily find the “user stories” assigned to their team and decide which stories they want to deliver in the next sprint. As soon as the story is assigned to a dedicated sprint (but not before) the scrum team is allowed to derive individual “tasks” which are assigned to certain team members. Each “task” will also have a status (to do à in progress à done).

Using a professional requirements management solution will allow:

  • the product Owner to see which "user stories" is/was implemented in which sprint:

  • the Product Owner to see the current status of the tasks derived from the "user stories" for a particular sprint:

  • The Scrum team member to focus on his tasks:

Professional requirements management solutions allow to define role-based views on the data which improve efficiency tremendously.

Furthermore generation of various reports (e.g. burndown chart) from the actual data is just a single click – if not done in batch mode. Those reports might be in HTML format to include them in the intranet.

By: Andreas Plette

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