Tuesday, 28 October 2014 00:00

Micrognosis: A Pre-agile, Agile Story

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I want to share a story from a Galaxy Far, Far Away.

It’s been on my mind quite a bit of late, as I tell it in some of my agile classes. However, I’m unsure whether the students believe me or they glean the significance of the story. I usually share it to illustrate a key point around software requirements. I usually get LOTS of pushback in my classes surrounding the “goodness and need” for fully documented requirements in software projects.

And as I unfold the agile approach to requirements (user story based, conversational, acceptance-driven, intentionally incomplete, and did I say collaborative?) the class starts turning ashen-faced in disbelief. Particularly attendees who are Business Analysts, Project Managers, and Testers struggle with the essence of agile requirements.

So that being said, I thought I’d try telling it here by writing it down.

From 1987 – 1996 I worked at a company called Micrognosis or “Micro” that was based out of Danbury, Connecticut. And no, it was not a medical or pharmaceutical company. The history of Micro was in the financial trading sector, in fact, mostly in the front office part of that business – providing complex trading stations for financial traders. And the company is no longer with us, but that’s another story.

whittenberger Oct28One of the key roles of Business Analysts in the solution implementation process is to assess the readiness of the organization to take full advantage of the new solution. This is the role in which the Business Analyst acts as a Change Agent in the organization. Whether this is a software enhancement, new system implementation, business architecture, business intelligence, data, business process, product change, or change implemented by a customer, supplier or regulator, effective communication of the upcoming change to all affected by the change is important to preparing the organization to capture the expected benefit of the change.

The Goal

The goal of an organizational readiness assessment is to make sure that all affected parts of the organization, inside and outside the organization, is ready for a change that is about to take place within the organization. Effective communication is the key element in informing the organization that a change is on its way. The communication plan should include a description of the change, why this change is necessary and being made, how it will impact all the parts (business units) of the organization and the necessary steps of organizational change to prepare for the change. When the change is big enough, simple communication may not be enough to prepare the organization for the change, and training requirements need to be identified.

This post describes two tools that automate the formatting and punctuation of tables and bulleted lists in Microsoft Word. It complements and earlier post - Better Tools: Efficient Table Management which described Word tools for quickly recording content into tables and numbering the entries.

A key goal is to demonstrate how Office’s development language can be used to automate manual tasks, and to encourage readers to add the ability to create simple, timesaving macros to their skillset.

A link to a free download of the tools is given at the end of the post.

Setting the scene

As a Business Analyst, I am often required to prepare text-heavy documents such requirement statements, risk assessments, business cases and many others. The content needs to be concise, easily digested by the reader, and quick and easy to prepare.