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Business Analysis Techniques by Paul Turner, Debra Paul, James Cadle

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DEFINE REQUIREMENTS
Figure 6.2 Hothousing process
Hothouse
session
Use case
scenarios
Business
problems
– PIR ‘handshake’
(measurable target
and objectives)
– CBA
– Metrics
Chosen
prototype
Measure against
PIR ‘handshake’
Business benefits
Working solution
90-day release cycle
(timebox)
The technique of hothousing can be summarised as:
Transport a group of IT staff and business users to an off-site location. Have
them stay overnight. Provide accommodation, laptops, a network, a handful
of servers, flipcharts, a presentation room and unlimited food and drink.
Have teams compete over the course of three days to build a real IT system
specified by the business. Reward the winning team.
Hothouses are about bringing together the delivery community, and focusing on
the understanding of a business problem. Hothousing can be used as the first
stage of an Agile development approach. It emphasises:
common understanding;
building a realisation of the solution;
using competition (between teams) and intensity (long hours, frequent
deliveries) to instil a sense of urgency.
Hothousing was first proven in retail environments, and has since been deployed
successfully across a range of sectors and organisation types. The secret of using
it successfully is to unleash the creative powers of those who know the business
best, supported by experienced coaches, skilled facilitators and motivated
implementers. With effective hothousing, teams get swiftly into their creative
stride, implement ideas quickly, evaluate effectively, prove concepts and identify
areas for improvement and then iterate. The result is fast-paced, highly
productive, high-speed evolution leading to optimal business solutions.
REQUIREMENTS ANALYSIS
Technique 54: Timeboxing
Overview
Timeboxing is one of the most important and yet most misunderstood techniques
available to the business analyst (and anyone else who has anything to do in a
173
BUSINESS ANALYSIS TECHNIQUES
fixed or tight timescale). It does, however, have the advantage of being particularly
simple to perform, if it is approached in the right way and with the right mindset.
In many ways its success is as much about having the right mindset as it is to do
with using the technique itself. All involved stakeholders need to buy into the
concept of timeboxing and into an agreement about the proposed timescale of the
timebox itself.
This section provides guidance on how to use the technique in an effective way.
Without effective timeboxing, focus can be lost and things will run out control.
Much of what is discussed here is to do with planning, control and keeping a clear
focus on what actually has to be delivered at the end of the timebox. It is for this
reason that there is a very close relationship between timeboxing and the clear
prioritisation of deliverables. In addition to this, there is also an important reliance
on an ability to estimate the complexity and duration of the tasks to be undertaken.
It is also vital that whoever is actually undertaking the work within the timebox
should be involved in the development of these estimates.
Description of the technique
There are many definitions of a timebox. Here we will distinguish between two
main types.
An outer or overall timebox is the time between the start and end dates of a
project, or a major stage, or the date on which a major set of deliverables are due.
As a technique, timeboxing is most significant when the end date is not movable.
Inner or lower-level timeboxes are nested, like Russian dolls (quite appropriate
when used in conjunction with the MoSCoW approach to prioritisation, Technique
55) or wheels within wheels within the overall timebox, to provide a series of xed
times by which interim products are to be delivered or partially produced. This
leads us to consider carefully the interrelationships between the various inner
timeboxes in terms of their dependencies and overlaps.
Figure 6.3 Outer and inner timeboxes
174
Inner timeboxes
Outer timebox

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