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6. Delivery Horizon

6.3 Elements

Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide

A user story is well-written when all of the following are true: the story meets the INVEST criteria (for more information, see 7.21. User Stories),

  • it contains a well-constructed narrative,

  • it presents a set of clear, concise, and precise acceptance criteria,

  • it is accepted as representing a desirable unit of implementation,

  • it represents an achievable unit of development, and

  • it is prioritized clearly in the backlog.

A user story only needs to be ready for implementation when it will be placed into development in the immediate or near future. Refining user stories before they are needed may cause rework and waste because the conditions around the story may change based on ongoing feedback and learning.

There are two fundamental elements to maintaining a backlog:

  • the priority sequencing of items in the backlog, and
  • ensuring there are enough items in the backlog to support near-term development efforts.

Bus iness analysis practitioners collaborate with product owners to determine the priority of items in the backlog. The rapid delivery of business value is a central consideration when prioritizing. The sequence of items in the backlog correctly represents their priority order as determined by the product owner.

In order to ensure there are enough items in the backlog to support near-term development efforts, business analysis practitioners collaborate with relevant stakeholders to create features and decompose those features into user stories, which in turn are refined into well-written user stories.

The feedback and learning from the delivered solution impacts the valuation of items in the backlog resulting in continuous change in the backlog. Business analysis practitioners continually re-prioritize, remove, and add items to the backlog. This may happen f ormally at a backlog refinement meeting or informally as needed in the course of work.

Business analysis practitioners work to resolve analysis issues that could interfere with meeting the goals for the current work. Supporting successful delivery means clearing any analysis related roadblocks and applying learning to avoid them in the future.

This can include appropriately handling sequencing and dependencies related to stories, coordinating with external teams and stakeholders, and answering clarifying questions for items currently in the midst of implementation.

At the Delivery Horizon, learning is derived from both processes and the products of those processes, and is framed by the desired outcomes of the immediate work effort. Business analysis practitioners ensure that learning is used to achieve better outcomes. Better outcomes can be described quantitatively or qualitatively.

When deriving learning regarding processes, business analysis practitioners consider what delivery processes should be changed, kept, or stopped in the next delivery cycle. Retrospectives are often used to discuss the learning from the most recent delivery process with the intent of continually improving the delivery process. Information that is too broad, large, or far in the future, can be used as feedback for the Initiative or Strategy Horizons.

When deriving learning regarding products, business analysis practitioners consider if the value delivered in the most recent increment was what was expected. Answers to this question may result in changes to the nature or prioritization of stories for the near-term delivery effort. If the learning suggests the entire initiative or strategy might need to adapt, it can be used as feedback for the Initiative or Strategy Horizons.

At the Delivery Horizon, business analysis practitioners apply business analysis techniques and the principles of agile business analysis to retain a focus on delivering the value that is being sought and achieving the product vision.

Constant communication and maintaining a shared understanding of the need and outcomes being sought helps all stakeholders to avoid waste and to efficiently and rapidly deliver value.