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An example of Blueprint in Use on an Agile Project

I attended a talk by folks from BluePrint and Lexis Nexis at BAWorld on Tuesday at BAWorld: Boston called “Requirements Definition for Agile Projects”. The first bit of the talk was just an intro to agile and why it is useful on the projects. The part that I found most interesting was from Kathleen McGoey who owned business analysis on lawyers.com – she effectively gave a verbal case study of their team using agile and Blueprint to deploy this site. This was refreshing because she was brutally honest about the state of their organization 2 years ago, some of her dislikes about other tools, and their experiences with agile not going well. However, she also then talked about how their culture is changing now and what is working really well. This talk was great because it was effectively a great sales-pitch for Blueprint, but it was given by an actual user….and you could tell she was being honest about it.
Blueprint is meant to be a BA tool. They are closely partnered with HP and it integrates to Quality Center for QA use as well. From a quick glance of things she mentioned or showed, it looks like it allows you to manage the list of features in a backlog, low-fidelity wireframes, diagrams that look a lot like visio, export to Word, and import from Excel. We are still using Borland’s Caliber happily, but I’m obviously always looking at all the tools on the market to see what people are really liking and/or disliking, what new features are coming about, what’s easy to use, etc.
A bit about the lawyers.com project – they were executing 3-12 week sprints and the requirements definition is about 2 weeks ahead of sprint cycles. She made a very wise comment – templates and processes are good to an end, but only if the BA knows what they are doing already. She spoke of junior analysts who are given templates and when you look at their work products you think “Oh no! what are you doing!”. I think we’ve all probably seen that. You can use the templates and processes to train them, but they aren’t enough, but they aren’t enough.
Another neat thing she briefly mentioned was the idea of doing something like pair-programming, but where the pair consists of a BA and a user experience expert – so together they are designing the wireframes. I haven’t tried it, typically our individuals are doing both activities.
Anyway, it was good to hear the “how it works” story from Lexis Nexis. And I haven’t used Blueprint myself, but I am certainly interested to hear others’ experiences with the tool, so please comment if you have used it.

3 Responses to An example of Blueprint in Use on an Agile Project

  1. katemcgoey November 5, 2009 at 5:43 am #

    Thank you!! We're so happy you enjoyed the talk — Divya Jain and I were happy to have the opportunity to share our experiences. It's been quite a ride to date. Though, one clarification for your readers… Lawyers.com development runs in 3-12 week "release cycles", but always just a 3-week sprint. Sometimes a public release takes us up to 4 sprints before the functionality is ready for launch. (Just in case anyone might wonder about how agile a 12-week sprint could be!) 😉

    Thanks for blogging about us! I really appreciate the feedback…


  2. Ramdas July 6, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    We are in the process of using Blueprint for agile projects. We are planning to use the Blueprint/Rally integration. Do you have any inputs on any shortcomings with the Blueprint/Rally integration approach or what works well between the 2 tools.

  3. Melissa Harvey August 23, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

    Unfortunately we didn’t work directly on any integrations between Rally and Blueprint, but have integrated Rally with other RM tools. So, I don’t have any specific advice for you, but I can say speak to some general Rally integration considerations. One big challenge I have seen in other large organizations is when trying to build an integration to Rally when your organization utilizes multiple Rally workspaces, where each workspace has different object configurations with potentially unique sets of attributes. Think carefully about how your Rally projects are structured ahead of time to make your integration efforts more streamlined.

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