Sunday, December 2, 2012

The agile conversation

It's a conversation now
User stories are a real shift in the way customer/users express themselves.

Stories are a move away from the world of "shall and will" structured requirements and into the world of "want and need" conversation.

Thus, agile is a domain of conversational requirements. As such, it's much less dogmatic about requirement structure. The downside is that verification of design and validation at delivery requires that the customer/user be in touch along the way, or they may lose touch with the conversational thread.

Customers in shock
Of course, this may come as a big shock to customers: they may not be accustomed to, or expecting to be embedded, always at the ready, and empowered to rule in near real time. It takes a savvy dude to exercise this power wisely, effectively, and knowledgeably.

Some training (of the customer) may be required! (Don't try this at home)

Keeping track for V&V
And, it's much more difficult to record a conversation, structure it to remove ambiquity, vagueness, redundancy, and relate it to other requirements. These difficulties beget test driven development, both tactically and strategically. In the TDD paradigm, the test script/scenario/procedure captures and documents feature, function, and performance.

And, what's more, if done to the requisite standard, quality in the small sense (conformance to standard) and quality in the large sense (conformance to need and want) come along also.