Requirements.net Survey of Hundreds of Business Analysts Finds Requirements Practices Key to Agile Project Success

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Results Show that Business and IT Alignment is Driven Through Visual Requirements

Requirements.net

“At a time when enterprise IT organizations are being asked to deliver more ROI to the business faster than ever with fewer resources, Agile is quickly becoming the preferred framework for new projects,” said Charlie Li, Vice President at Capgemini.

(PRWEB) June 30, 2010 -- Requirements.net, the industry’s largest consortium for the advancement of Business Analysis empowerment, with participation from the IIBA Phoenix Chapter (International Institute of Business Analysis) and Capgemini, today released the results of its 2010 survey of business analysts. The results from this survey contributed to the 2010-11 Capgemini World Quality Report. Over three hundred participants, mostly business analysts or business analyst managers, as well as QA, developers, and VP of applications, participated in this spring’s survey, which focused on the use of the Agile development framework among enterprises. The survey focused on enterprises within the financial services, technology, and telecommunications sectors.

Strong Agile Usage in the Enterprise
The survey found that Agile is prevalent and growing within the enterprise. All of the participants surveyed were using an Agile development methodology within their organization. A majority of participants (57%) were using Agile for 10-25% of their projects, with 25% using Agile for 25-50% of projects, and 18% almost exclusively using Agile, for 75-100% of projects. Time to market and resource utilization were the most oft-cited reasons for moving to Agile, while participants cited quicker realization of vision and promoting transparency as the most common benefits as a result of the move to Agile.

“At a time when enterprise IT organizations are being asked to deliver more ROI to the business faster than ever with fewer resources, Agile is quickly becoming the preferred framework for new projects,” said Charlie Li, Vice President at Capgemini. “That said, leveraging Agile requires very clear communication between the business stakeholders and the IT delivery teams to ensure a successful end product. This means the role of the business analyst and their ability to articulate clear, measurable and testable requirements grows even more important in an Agile world.”

Requirements and Business Involvement are Key to Agile Success
Companies surveyed indicated that good requirements definition practices and line-of-business stakeholder involvement can dramatically influence Agile project success or failure. Business analysts are under pressure to improve requirements definition practices to keep pace with the demands of Agile teams.

Key Findings:

  •     Collaboration between business and IT stakeholders is an important element of successful Agile projects and requirements are a critical control point in any Agile project lifecycle. Challenges to collaboration are increasing, with participants naming six core areas of landscape complexity - large project team sizes, domain complexity, rigid interdepartmental relationships, global geographic distribution, technical complexity, and contractual departmental SLAs. These landscape barriers hamper stakeholder collaboration and can challenge the deployment of Agile methodologies.
  •     Survey participants indicate that requirements for Agile projects should be “immediately consumable” by IT project teams, with 72% of companies surveyed indicating that requirements should consist of process flows (or visual use cases) or visual story boards in lieu of only textual lists and paragraphs. Rich requirement assets that include business process diagrams, use cases, user interface mockups, and data require less interpretation from project teams and are more accurately leveraged for project direction.
  •     Requirements uncertainty is the number one constraint for planning the size and scale of Agile sprints. Ambiguous requirements assets, often without stakeholder validation and signoff, can cause significant project delays.
  •     The majority of participants (56%) indicate that line-of-business involvement is the most critical functional characteristic of successful Agile project teams. Line of business involvement includes participating in up-front requirements validation and signoff, involvement in sprint validation, and providing overall subject matter expertise.

“The Requirements.net survey shows that ‘Requirements must be immediately consumable’ in Agile,” said Matthew Morgan, chairman of the Requirements.net Consortium and chief marketing officer at Blueprint. “The results clearly articulate that the BA is the new Agile control point to account for domain complexity, technical complexity, geographic and cultural collaboration concerns, and organizational rigidity commonly found in large enterprise IT shops. A fully empowered business analyst with the right tools and support has the capability to ensure that Agile projects are fully-driven by business and customer demand.”

Requirements.net has published for full survey results as a free download. As a companion asset, a 60 minute podcast panel discussion of the survey results is also available. Participants include Mark Sarbiewski, Sr. Director of Product Marketing at HP Software, Martin Crisp, Chief Technology Officer at Blueprint, and Murat Aksu, Head of the WW HP Software Alliance at Capgemini. Both are available immediately at http://requirements.net.

About The Requirements.net Consortium
Founded by HP and Blueprint in 2008 and now twelve members strong, Requirements.net is the industry’s largest consortium for the advancement of Business Analysis empowerment. Through focus on requirements definition, visualization, and management, the companies behind Requirements.net are driven to share and sponsor best practices and technologies to improve industry requirements practices. As prescribed in the Requirements.net charter, the call for members is opened only once a year, between January and March. Participating organizations include Blueprint, HP Software, Capgemini, RQNG, Orasi Software, SKY IT Group, CorTechs, Centerline Partners, BA Times, iconATG, Zap Technologies, and the Requirement Solution Group.

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