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156481Re: [XP] Complex business knowledge and specs

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  • George Dinwiddie
    Mar 1, 2011

      On 3/1/11 10:52 AM, Otto Behrens wrote:
      >> You can get the same thoroughness by discussing the examples between the
      >> Business, the Programmers, and the Testers. This gives three very
      >> different points of view. I call this the Three Amigos (though there
      >> may be more than three points of view required) and Ken Pugh calls it
      >> the Triad. The point is to distill the business requirements down to
      >> its essence, and represent that essence in potentially automatable examples.
      > Do you have this discussion during planning? We find developers lose
      > patience when we do this because the planning takes a long time. Do
      > you provide a complete list of example on the table for discussion, or
      > do the examples emerge? If the solutions are not thought through even
      > with a Three Amigos / Triad kind of discussion, does it simply imply
      > that people do not take enough care in such a discussion?

      I have this discussion during backlog grooming. The stories need to be
      well understood just in time for the iteration planning. If they are
      not well understood, then they're hard to estimate and the planning
      meetings take a long time.

      The business will likely have some examples in mind to start. The
      programmer and tester will likely think of other examples (especially
      edge cases and error conditions), which will emerge in the discussion.
      As the list of examples grows, you may want to split the story into
      clumps of these examples. If new examples come to mind later, you might
      want to create a new story to cover them in the future rather than
      expanding scope of a story in flight.

      Rather than thinking "not enough care" I prefer "not the right focus."
      Often people get in a hurry to get done, rather than to cover all the
      angles. This is especially true with a large meeting, such as an
      iteration planning meeting. A Three Amigos meeting doesn't need all the
      programmers and testers--one of each will generally suffice. And it
      doesn't have to be the same one of each for every story. Not all the
      upcoming stories have to be analyzed at the same time. I find that
      meetings longer than 2 hours tend to lose their productive edge.

      > When you invite the Triad to a discussion, how much preparation do you
      > expect from each of the parties? How is the preparation done? (Is
      > there stuff written down?)

      How much preparation do they need? When you're working with the actual
      business person, they've likely got most of the needed information in
      their head. When you're working with a business analyst as a proxy for
      the business person, they need to do a lot of work to learn the details
      of what the business person wants. They should make whatever notes they
      need to help them remember all the important stuff. And, in the
      conversation, it's likely that it will be discovered there are questions
      that they can't answer. If so, the Three Amigos can cover what they
      know and come back together after the answers are known.

      - George

      * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
      Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
      Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
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