Posts Tagged ‘lean software development’

Applying SenseMaker® in scrum projects

2 July, 2012

In earlier blogs I showed how SenseMaking software ecology and the Cynefin model support Agile development. In this blog I’ll explain how to SenseMaker® supports gathering large amounts of user stories or feedback. These stories are input for the product back log and the product vision.

SenseMaker® enables software developing organizations to involve large groups of users or customers in both the requirements gathering phase and the maintenance phase. This gives them an advantage over their competitors. The input and feedback ensure that the new functions are adequate and fulfill a concrete demand.

Story tellers enter their stories on website. After entering their stories they are asked to provide additional meaning to their stories. This provides for valuable additional information. This is called signification and forms the core of the requirements gathering process. The signification framework is tailor-made. It structures the hundreds or thousands of stories in such a way that the development team is able to analyze them effectively.

In a next step the development team(s) analyze the entered stories. During the analysis the team transfers the raw user stories into a product back log. The backlog reflects the concrete demand of the users and customers. As the categorization incorporates a prioritization the development teams knows which functionality is to transferred to the sprint team first.

Emerging functionality
Once the sprint teams deliver their first functionality to the users, SenseMaker enable real-time feedback. This mechanism allows end-users to evaluate and try out new functionality and provide instant feedback. Because of the automated and real-time feedback mechanism the development is able to deliver only functionality for which is a real demand. It is also possible to try out new stuff end-users have not seen before.

The above described mechanisms provides a great advantage for the organization. First it doesn’t waste valuable development capacity on irrelevant functionality. Second, both first–end-users and developers feel appreciated as their ideas and thoughts are directly used. Thirdly because the organization is able to produce new functionality in a lean and flexible manner, the organization gains the recognition being innovative and customer-centric.

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Why software projects needs Sensemaker®

22 May, 2012

Agile software development enables software developing organizations to deliver functionality at regular and small intervals. In order to do this effectively the organization needs to understand the needs or problems of the customer. But what if the customer does not know exactly what he needs/wants or if there are (too) many customers to be satisfied? In this blog I’ll explain how Sensemaker® provides a solution to the afore mentioned challenges.

In Software projects input (requirements) is not generally generated from the public. Intern experts (architects, domain experts, business analysts, ..) provide input to designers and programmers. In many areas this methods is working fine.
However, there are domains (e.g. civll society market) in which the domain experts need input from customer representatives to provide them insight in what functionality needs to be build. If this is input not provided, the delivered software is not successful with unsatisfied customer(s).

Sensemaker enables large scale and fine tuned listening. No matter how many customers, where on the globe they reside and what language they speak, you can easily collect their user stories (fragments in Sensemaker terminology) or feedback.
Sensemaking method provides means for the customer to add value to their stories. This added value is part of the core functionality. Without interference of your local domain experts, you get the knowledge directly from the fragment-providers. The added value is used to structure the gathered fragments. This way it provides input to you local functionality builders.

The Agile-software-development and Sensemaker combination enable large scale feedback loops. The input-build-deliver-feedback loop can be as short as 3 weeks. The loop-size is determined by the sprint-size. Sensemaker provides realtime feedback.

Because Sensemaker provides multiple views on the collected fragments it becomes possible to release functionality per location or customer-type.

In short, Sensemaker provide software development organizations the power to listen continuous and real time to hundreds of thousands of customers. Listening also enables feedback on delivered functionality (after each iteration or sprint). The organization effectively knows exactly the needs, wishes and constraints of each and groups of customers.