Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: Business Goals

Expand Messages
  • Jeff Patton
    ... I often come into a project late - after it s started. Lately I often come in to do a bit of rescue work on the user interactions. In those situations
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 5, 2006
      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Desilets, Alain"
      <alain.desilets@...> wrote:

      > -- Alain:
      > Question for you. Do you work on defining the Business Goals BEFORE
      > defining User Roles and User Tasks, or AFTER? In your paper "What Goes
      > Up Must Come Down", you seem to be saying that high level kite-and-above
      > level goals (which are more or less equivalent to Business Goals) should
      > at least be partially distilled based on knowlege about the lower level
      > goals (although as you point out, it is best to work in both top-down
      > and bottom-up directions). But to me, Business Goals is the one thing
      > that I believe CAN be articulated mostly upfront, and I tend to favour
      > that approach (although I tend to favour a "middle-out" approach for
      > lower level details).
      > ----

      I often come into a project late - after it's started. Lately I often
      come in to do a bit of "rescue" work on the user interactions. In
      those situations there's often an absence of business goals, or a set
      of ambiguous business goals that don't seem well connected to the
      users and scope chosen. So, I'll work bottom up to reconstruct a goal
      model from what I observe people actually building. Then review my
      observations about the business goals I see being pursued based on
      what people are actually doing. When coming in late to a project I
      might prefer to spend a bit of time with stakeholders on business
      goals first, but this sort of work is often seen as regressive -
      everyone already believes they know what the goals are. "Just get to
      work on this UI stuff! That's where we need the help." Not until I
      point out deviation from goals does rewinding and discussing a more
      concise goal model become important.

      In a greefield situation I put together goals first. But I always
      move up and down validating users and activities we choose to support
      with goals we hope to achieve. Doing this uncovers both missing users
      and tasks, and missing business goals.

      I try to avoid waterfall head - by that I mean only moving down from
      high level to lower level, insisting high level models are complete
      before moving on to lower levels, and always assuming what what done
      in a higher level phase was correct. Levarage agile feedback loops to
      validate and further refine these higher level models.

      > -- Alain:
      > The converse is of course also true. Agilist sometimes pay too
      > much attention to the concerns of the "Gold Owner" (the person who pays
      > for development), without realising in order to achieve that person's
      > Business Goals, you HAVE to pay a lot of attention to the people behind
      > the keyboard (or at least the focal ones).

      Where agilists might fall down is in the creation of these mezzenine
      level models - things like goal models, user models, task models, etc.
      All this stuff starts to smell of big design up front to some agile
      people. The thing to remember is that it's not the model that
      represents waterfall thinking, it's the way be build and work with the
      model that makes in waterfallish - and potentially risk.

      I look at user stories like leaves on a tree. I'll try to build
      simple models that start to give form to the tree - a trunk, branches,
      then finally leaves. Unfortunately in a lot of agile projects all
      that exists are user stories. Sort of like pulling all the leaves off
      the tree, cutting down and chopping up the tree, then handing you the
      leaves in a leaf bag. This leaf-bag-style story backlog is a common
      agile project smell. I spend a fair bit of time forensically
      reconstructing mezzenine level model from the leaf-bag-o-details found
      in a story backlog. Everyone's often surprised at the tree they're
      actually building - the users, tasks, and business goals they really
      chose to support.

      Thanks Alain for keeping this discussion going.

      Opinions anyone? Is anyone out there working on an agile project
      where goals seem ambiguously defined? Does this cause problems
      prioritizing and detailing user stories? Actually scratch agile from
      the previous sentances. Agile development certainly doesn't have a
      corner in the ambiguous goals market.

      -Jeff
    • Jeff Patton
      Forgot to say something - see below... ... pays ... What I didn t bring out above is that the creation of these models helps the gold owner more effectively
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 5, 2006
        Forgot to say something - see below...

        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Patton" <jpatton@...> wrote:
        > > The converse is of course also true. Agilist sometimes pay too
        > > much attention to the concerns of the "Gold Owner" (the person who
        pays
        > > for development)...

        > Where agilists might fall down is in the creation of these mezzenine
        > level models - things like goal models, user models, task models, etc.

        What I didn't bring out above is that the creation of these models
        helps the "gold owner" more effectively stear the project, and makes
        the direction the project is being steared in more visible to the
        whole team. Without them, the decisions the "gold owner" make often
        seem arbitrary and subjective - at times even to themselves. These
        sorts of models are quick to create, useful tools. I'll assert that
        as a development team we're not serving our "gold owners" well if we
        don't help them with things like this.

        -Jeff
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.