Friday, November 18, 2016

Title: Tracking Pre-code development activities (Plow session 2)
(or, how do we track a feature before it is ready for code)

Initiator: Isaac Kimball, AAA National Office

Notetaker: Isaac Kimball

Business Analysis and UI Design can be examples of activities that are part of software development, including Agile software development. Stakeholders desire to know what is being planned to work on, but during analysis and discovery, 'we don't know what we don't know.' Tracking activities in pre-scoped buckets creates the risk of either constraining the outcomes of analysis and design, or else, the buckets have to change in size, description, content or number as analysis proceeds.

Solution 1: Don't do it. Leave these activities out of tracking systems such as JIRA until this level of work is complete; in other words, the end of analysis is when work items are eligible to enter into JIRA etc.

Solution 2: Begin tracking once a level of solidity is reached. Once enough about a unit of work such as a feature is known, to roughly estimate it and meaningfully talk about it, then it may be entered into a tracking system.

Solution 3. Track items at varying levels of scope and solidity as they move through the backlog; closer to the top is more certain in scope and requirements. This implies that the backlog contains a variety of sizes of tracked items.

Solution 4. Abandon tracking issues at the same level across professions; track highly specified, reliably scoped issues in development at story level; track fuzzy, conceptual ideas through analysis/discovery at a higher Epic or Feature level and don't worry about syncing them.

Solution 5. Product Owner introduces a high-level concept, which can be tracked through iterations as it is defined and distilled by team including any of BA, QA, Dev down to the codable level of definition. However, the final item will be broken into smaller, tighter units that need to be tracked at a finer grain than the initial concept item could have been.

Conclusion: The initial attempt that spawned this topic is impracticable in its original form. All solutions agreed on that. Most ideas and practices mentioned by participants involve separate tracks for tracking discovery/analysis and coding efforts. Most stakeholder needs, however, can still be met through a two-track solution.

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