Synopses & Reviews
Satisfy Stakeholders by Solving the Right Problems, in the Right Ways
In Beyond Requirements , Kent J. McDonald shows how applying analysis techniques with an agile mindset can radically transform analysis from merely “gathering and documenting requirements” to an important activity teams use to build shared understanding. First, McDonald discusses the unique agile mindset, reviews the key principles underlying it, and shows how these principles link to effective analysis. Next, he puts these principles to work in four wide-ranging and thought-provoking case studies. Finally, he drills down on a full set of techniques for effective agile analysis, using examples to show how, why, and when they work.
McDonald’s strategies will teach you how to understand stakeholders’ needs, identify the best solution for satisfying those needs, and build a shared understanding of your solution that persists throughout the product lifecycle. He also demonstrates how to iterate your analysis, taking advantage of what you learn throughout development, testing, and deployment so that you can continuously adapt, refine, and improve.
Whether you’re an analysis practitioner or you perform analysis tasks as a developer, manager, or tester, McDonald’s techniques will help your team consistently find and deliver better solutions.
- Core concepts for analysis: needs/ solutions, outcome/output, discovery/delivery
- Adapting Lean Startup ideas for IT projects: customer delivery, build–measure–learn, and metrics
- Structuring decisions, recognizing differences between options and commitments, and overcoming cognitive biases
- Focusing on value: feature injection, minimum viable products, and minimum marketable features
- Understanding how analysis flows alongside your project’s lifecycle
- Analyzing users: mapping stakeholders, gauging commitment, and creating personas
- Understanding context: performing strategy (enterprise) analysis
- Clarifying needs: applying decision filters, assessing project opportunities, stating problems
- Investigating solutions: impact and story mapping, collaborative modeling, and acceptance criteria definition
Kent J. McDonald uncovers better ways of delivering value. His experience includes work in business analysis, strategic planning, project management, and product development in the financial services, health insurance, performance marketing, human services, nonprofit, and automotive industries. He has a BS in industrial engineering from Iowa State University and an MBA from Kent State University. He is coauthor of Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility (Addison-Wesley, 2009).
Beyond Requirements shows you how to employ business analysis practices and techniques to clarify problems, identify the best available solutions, and implement them. Going far beyond conventional business analysis, it draws upon disciplines ranging from agile methods to entrepreneurship -- helping you dramatically improve your value as a business problem-solver whether you carry the title of analyst or not.
Pioneering business analysis mentor, consultant, and trainer Kent J. McDonald focuses on when showing how to apply each available tool – and when to integrate multiple tools to achieve even better results. McDonald shares new insights into both problem spaces and potential solutions, and helps analysts bring new agility to the evolving challenges of requirements development. Coverage includes:
* Staying focused on the guiding principles of value, collaboration, iteration, simplicity, context, and adaptability
* Making the most of stakeholder analysis, requirements modeling, and solution validation techniques
* Integrating newer techniques ranging form value-add activities to strategic barrier analysis
* Understanding the full problem lifecycle, including 3Cs (cost, competitors, customers); strategy formulation and implementation; and progress measurement
Beyond Requirements shows how to use business analysis practices and techniques to identify key business problems, find optimal solutions, and successfully implement them. Unlike most business analysis texts, it places analysis techniques in context, positioning them as a "means to the end" of solving organizational problems, not as an end in themselves.
Kent McDonald helps you integrate analysis with ideas and techniques from other domains to significantly increase your effectiveness. He also covers crucial topics ignored by many business analysis books, including enterprise analysis, stakeholder analysis, and linkages to agile methodologies.
If you're a business analyst, McDonald will help you transform your role and deepen your value to the organization. If you aren't an analyst, McDonald will empower you to leverage analytical techniques to solve your own business problems, and increase your own impact on the enterprise. Whatever your role, Beyond Requirements will help you clarify hidden risks and opportunities, collaborate and measure progress more effectively, provide better decision-making support, and formulate more successful strategy.
About the Author
Kent J. McDonald uncovers better ways of delivering value by doing it and helping others do it. His years of experience include work in business analysis, strategic planning, project management, and product development in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, performance marketing, human services, nonprofit, and automotive. He is active in the business analysis and agile software development communities helping people share stories about what does and does not work.
Kent has a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Iowa State University and an MBA from Kent State University.
Kent was also a coauthor of Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility.
Table of Contents
About the Author
Part I: Ideas
Chapter 1: Guiding Principles
Chapter 2: Helpful Concepts
Chapter 3: Influence of Lean Startup
Chapter 4: Decision Making
Chapter 5: Deliver Value
Chapter 6: Analysis with an Agile Mindset
Part II: Case Studies
Chapter 7: Case Study: Conference Submission System
Chapter 8: Case Study: Commission System
Chapter 9: Case Study: Data Warehouse
Chapter 10: Case Study: Student Information System
Part III: Techniques
Chapter 11: Get To Know the Players
Chapter 12: Understanding Context
Chapter 13: Understanding the Need
Chapter 14: Understanding the Solution(s)
Chapter 15: Organizing and Persisting Solution Information
Part IV: Reference