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Ankit Tara
posted 6 years 12 weeks ago

From what I see of Agile, it

From what I see of Agile, it is a very good approach as compared to traditional methods. The one thing I would say, though, is there is still "magic" involved - and that is, how do you know you have the right set of "user stories"?
I come from a background of an Industrial Engineering degree, I/T development, Project Management, and then Business Process Management (BPM). BPM opened the door for me of ensuring that whatever we do in I/T, a business process is improved. Business processes can also be improved in many cases without I/T.
Measurement is a key, and setting goals for a business process and measuring how well a business process is meeting these goals is critical.
So ... back to User stories. To me, the important thing is to make sure the business goals are clear and measurable. Then you can figure out which processes affect those goals, and then start the journey to improve those processes. Traditionally, you would walk through the processes and determine what needs to change in which tasks to affect meeting the goals. Agile then provides a very nice method to incrementally improve the processes. The User stories then can be discovered in context of the business processes - making sure that the envisioned solutions are truly business focused, not I/T focused.
It's kind of like the difference to the way requirements used to be discovered and documented. We used to sit down with the user and ask "what are your requirements?". But how do you know you got the requirements right? By having the business process to provide context, you can:
- make sure the user stories are relevant to the business
- determine if one User stories creates a problem somewhere else in the business processes
- identify both manual and automated aspects of a user story
- measure the results by measuring how the business process results improve
There is never one silver bullet. Using various techniques together usually brings the best results. BPM implementations can benefit nicely from Agile, as you can make incremental improvements in a nicely controlled and monitored methodology.
So, in summary, I believe the Agile methodology is very good. The trick is the User Stories. If they are random, success will be random. If they are created scientifically with business process improvement in mind, the chances for success improve dramatically.


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