Low Fidelity vs High Fidelity

9 Mar

Low fidelity assets are frequently employed on Agile projects. An example of a low fidelity asset is the production of basic wireframes/”back of the napkin” designs:

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 22.21.34

The advantage low fidelity designs is that they encourage feedback and corresponding design iterations – without the waste/overhead involved in high fidelity assets.

In terms of the Business Analyst role on Agile projects – low fidelity assets may include:

  • User stories
  • High level requirements (basic specification)
  • High level acceptance criteria (basic user acceptance conditions)

What are the advantages of the Business Analyst employing the above mentioned low fidelity assets:

  • They encourage a focus on the essential behavior of the system (MOSCOW must haves). This ensures the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is documented early in the project lifecycle.
  • Facilitates communication across a project. Low fidelity assets encourage feedback – they are much easier to present and convey than a 30 page BRD.
  • Mitigates the risk of mistakes entering into detailed requirement specifications – assumptions can be identified earlier on.
  • Descriptive vs prescriptive. The focus is on the high level functionality – this means that the technical solution is less constrained by non-essential elements of the product specification.
  • Easily produced and maintainable – changes can be made quickly and with minimum effort. This sits well in the Agile world.
  • Stand-alone pieces of work (features) can be identified – this enables backlog prioritization.
  • Fidelity (i.e. detail) is added through participative iterations – documentation evolves through collaboration into a steady state.
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