Welcome!

Open Source Authors: Sematext Blog , AppDynamics Blog, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Java, SOA & WOA, .NET, Open Source

Java: Book Review

Book Review: Executable Specifications with Scrum

A Practical Guide to Agile Requirements Discovery

This book is exactly what the sub-title "A Practical Guide to Agile Requirements Discovery" says it is. The book is a very detailed breakdown of the steps that should be taken by Scrum teams that want to succeed.

I have listed the chapters below to give you an overview of the topics the author covers in this book.

Chapter 1. Solving the Right Problem
Chapter 2. Relying on a Stable Foundation
Chapter 3. Discovering Through Short Feedback Loops and Stakeholders’ Decrements
Chapter 4. Expressing Desirements with User Stories
Chapter 5. Refining User Stories by Grooming the Product Backlog
Chapter 6. Confirming User Stories with Scenarios
Chapter 7. Automating Confirmation with Acceptance Tests
Chapter 8. Addressing Nonfunctional Requirements
Chapter 9. Conclusion

In the first chapter the author covers how the scrum teams can distinguish requirements from the solution. In other words the what from the hows.

In the second chapter the author shows how to develop guardrails which are basically the artifacts and activities that will keep the project within its defined scope. The examples that the author uses are a healthy team, involvement of all stakeholders, a shared vision, a meaningful common goal, a set of high-level features, and "can-exist" assumption.

In chapter 3 the author really drives home applying the trial and error method for discovering desirements through short feedback loops.

In chapter 4, Expressing Desirements with User Stories, the author does a great job of showing how to create user stories. He does a great job of breaking down the structure of the user story and introducing the questions that you ask when creating them- who, what, and why, questions. The author also touches on the importance of establishing Ubiquitous Language. Ubiquitous Language is a shared team language that defines a certain domain. Chapter 6 also touches on Ubiquitous Language. He ends the chapter by introducing how to use a product backlog to record desirements.

The next chapter, Refining User Stories by Grooming the Product Backlog, is all about roles and activities that need to be in place in order to managing the product backlog correctly. Topics include Managing the Product Backlog, Collaborating to Groom the Product Backlog, Ranking User Stories with a Dot Voting Method, Illustrating User Stories with Storyboards, Sizing User Stories Using Comparison, Splitting User Stories Along Business Values, Tracking User Stories with a Collaboration Board, and Delivering a Coherent Set of User Stories.

Chapter 6 is all about confirming your User Stories by scripting scenarios that validate them. The author also introduces two tools for automating validation. He introduces the Framework for Integrated Test (FIT) and the Given-When-Then syntax the Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) community uses. He also touches on Ubiquitous Language again and its importance.

Chapter 7 is all about automating confirmation, which is done by turning scenarios into acceptance tests. This chapter explains how to make the scenarios “executable” by a computer. The author introduces existing BDD automation frameworks which include Cucumber for Ruby, JBehave for Java, and SpecFlow for Microsoft .NET. I downloaded SpecFlow which is a solid framework backed up by very thorough documentation.

The last chapter before the concluding chapter covers Nonfunctional Requirements (Quality Attributes). Quality attributes are all about tradeoffs and constraints. The author does a great job of explaining quality attributes, showing how they are broken down into internal and external categories, and then applied through constraints (which he calls restrictions).

The two things I like most about this book was the flow of the chapters and the author's recognition of the importance of architecture.

The chapters build on each other so I definitely recommend a cover to cover read of the book. The author has a great writing style, so that is easy to do.

When the author spells out what roles make up a team he includes architects. He defines architects as members of the development team who are responsible for designing the structural foundation upon which the solution is built. Their role is to ensure the development team builds the software right and delivers quality work. I have seen a lot of confusion in Scrum teams when it comes to architecture, because a lot of the Scrum material out there today discounts it.

All in all I found this book a very enjoyable read. If you are involved with agile development teams, you should definitely read this book. The elicitation of requirements is really lacking in most of the agile teams I encounter. This book can help to remedy that.

Executable Specifications with Scrum: A Practical Guide to Agile Requirements Discovery

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...