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July 09 , 2009

Beyond Requirements

Analysis with an Agile Mindset


Satisfy Stakeholders by Solving the Right Problems, in the Right Ways


In Beyond Requirements , Kent J. McDonald shows how applying analysis techniques with an agile mindset can radically transform analysis from merely “gathering and documenting requirements” to an important activity teams use to build shared understanding. First, McDonald discusses the unique agile mindset, reviews the key principles underlying it, and shows how these principles link to effective analysis. Next, he puts these principles to work in four wide-ranging and thought-provoking case studies. Finally, he drills down on a full set of techniques for effective agile analysis, using examples to show how, why, and when they work.


McDonald’s strategies will teach you how to understand stakeholders’ needs, identify the best solution for satisfying those needs, and build a shared understanding of your solution that persists throughout the product lifecycle. He also demonstrates how to iterate your analysis, taking advantage of what you learn throughout development, testing, and deployment so that you can continuously adapt, refine, and improve.


Whether you’re an analysis practitioner or you perform analysis tasks as a developer, manager, or tester, McDonald’s techniques will help your team consistently find and deliver better solutions.


Coverage includes

  • Core concepts for analysis: needs/ solutions, outcome/output, discovery/delivery
  • Adapting Lean Startup ideas for IT projects: customer delivery, build–measure–learn, and metrics
  • Structuring decisions, recognizing differences between options and commitments, and overcoming cognitive biases
  • Focusing on value: feature injection, minimum viable products, and minimum marketable features
  • Understanding how analysis flows alongside your project’s lifecycle
  • Analyzing users: mapping stakeholders, gauging commitment, and creating personas
  • Understanding context: performing strategy (enterprise) analysis
  • Clarifying needs: applying decision filters, assessing project opportunities, stating problems
  • Investigating solutions: impact and story mapping, collaborative modeling, and acceptance criteria definition

Kent J. McDonald uncovers better ways of delivering value. His experience includes work in business analysis, strategic planning, project management, and product development in the financial services, health insurance, performance marketing, human services, nonprofit, and automotive industries. He has a BS in industrial engineering from Iowa State University and an MBA from Kent State University. He is coauthor of Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility (Addison-Wesley, 2009).

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