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Q&A Log in Scrum

Do you need one?

26 February 2016

Rumesh Wijetunge
Zaizi Asia

Requirements in an Agile project are ever evolving and are initially set as the product vision, with a high-level set of features in a product backlog. These requirements or product backlog items will go through an elaboration review in the backlog grooming sessions, during which additional details will be discussed and added to the requirements.

In a traditional Waterfall engagement, the requirements may be documented as a detailed Decision Support Reporting System (DSRS) that requires a much more structured way of tracking questions raised by the business analyst (BA), implementation team, and any other stakeholder. These questions are thus maintained in a lengthy spreadsheet called a Q&A log. A typical Q&A log may have the following attributes:
  • Requirement ID
  • Reference to the DSRS section
  • Question
  • Questions raised by
  • Question raised on
  • Clarification
  • Clarified by
  • Clarified
In some instances, you might want to maintain multiple Q&A logs: one to track questions raised by the BA to share with the client and another to track questions raised by the development and quality assurance teams.

So should we have a Q&A log for Scrum projects? And if so, in which format should it be maintained?

Requirements in Agile are maintained as user stories, and user stories comprise the three Cs: Card, Conversation, and Confirmation. A user story is said to be required and detailed enough to spark conversation. But how does the conversation get documented? Maybe as additional notes attached to the user story Card? Maybe as process diagrams, mock-ups, acceptance criteria, business rules, or attribute lists that are documented on a wiki page? It might even be a set of questions attached as additional Cards to the user story.

Agile supports the more detailed and logical method of maintaining a Q&A log. Unlike a traditional Waterfall project, the questions in Agile will be attached to the user story or requirement itself. The source of questions and the ensuing discussions will be available from a central repository. How easy can it get?

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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