Agile BA Requirements Lifecycle: Your Questions Answered


The detail of Agile requirements are refined as the solution evolves which means that the Requirements Lifecycle is different to traditional BA approaches.

In this blog post we aim to answer frequently asked questions on the approach an Agile BA would take during the Requirements Lifecycle.

What is the role of the Agile BA in handling requirements?

The responsibilities of the Agile BA within a DSDM® agile project are to:

  • Ensure that the business needs are properly analysed and are correctly reflected in the solution.
  • Manage documentation and products related to business requirements.
  • Develop PRL (Prioritised Requirements List) which is a key deliverable for Agile projects as prioritisation plays a bigger role for requirements.
  • Have a rounded view of organisational strategy to help identify opportunities of improvement and deliver value; this means keeping requirements aligned to the purpose and objectives of the project, and the needs of the end users.
  • Be the champion of requirements – making sure they are clear and useful.

What are the stages of the Requirements Lifecycle?

Below are the 4 stages of the Requirements Lifecycle. Although there are clear stages to the cycle each stage does not always follow on from each other.

Management and documentation often happens throughout the whole lifecycle while elicitation and analysis often run together iteratively.

There are 4 stages to the requirements lifecycle:

The identification, extraction and capture of requirements. In an Agile project this consists of; face to face conversations, observation, facilitated workshops, demonstrations, scenarios and modelling and prototyping.1. Elicitation

2. Analysis

Requirements need to be analysed to clarify their meaning and to determine whether they are; realistic, unambiguous, feasible, congruent and relevant.

3. Validation

This applies to both the individual requirement and the whole set of requirements for the increment and for the project. A high-level view of the requirements and their dependencies needs to be stated and communicated.

4. Management and Documentation

Agile has a reputation for being light on documentation, it should be sufficient for purpose, and only that.

There are two golden rules when it comes to Agile documentation;

  1. Do not document unless it is useful to someone specific
  2. Document in a way that is useful to the recipient.

How is the Requirements Lifecycle different in DSDM® Agile project?

Throughout a DSDM® Agile project the requirements lifecycle stays the same, however due to Agile’s iterative nature requirements engineering happens within each stage of the DSDM® project lifecycle.

There are 5 main stages to a DSDM® Agile Project Lifecycle:

1. Pre-project

Supplies the Terms Of Reference for the project, identifying the problem to be solved. Is often the first very high level requirement.

2. Feasibility

Provide a high level overview of the project to assess whether the project is worth doing. A very high level set of requirements will be elicited and a high level Prioritised Requirements List (PRL) will be created.

3. Foundations

Establishes firm and lasting foundations, a clear structure to work to during the next stage. During this stage the PRL is refined and persists through the project as a central repository for scope, prioritisation and detail.

4. Evolutionary Development

This stage sees the expansion of Epics into User Stories. Each User Story will become more detailed through the elicitation phase of the Requirements Lifecycle. Each User Story’s acceptance criteria will be tested as part of the evolution of the solution.

5. Deployment

By deployment, the elicitation and analysis of requirements is finished.

Where does Prioritisation come into the DSDM lifecycle?

Prioritisation happens at the early stages of the lifecycle, mainly in the Feasibility and Foundation stage, as mentioned before. Each requirement is agreed a priority using MoSCoW, and sufficiently detailed in the PRL for that particular increment; timeboxing can then be estimated.

At this point it you can also determine dependencies between requirements and consider the business value of each requirement.

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