By Carrie Alsvary
Below is a summary of BABOK section 10.29 and Agile Techniques 7.19 from the Agile extension to the BABOK guide version 2.
Technique 10.29 Mind Mapping
Purpose – Mind Mapping is used to articulate and capture thoughts, ideas and information.
Description – Mind Mapping a method of note taking that captures thoughts and ideas and charts them in a non-linear diagram. Structure is applied to thoughts, ideas and information through the use of images, words, color and connected relationships. A central (main) idea is broken down into secondary ideas (or topics), followed by many other layers (sub-topics) as needed to fully capture and articulate the concept. Ideas are connected by branches that usually have a single key word that explains the connection.
Mind maps can be done collaboratively as a group, or as an individual. They can also be done via software programs or with pen and paper.
Business Analysts use mind maps to:

  • Think through and generate ideas on complex concepts or problems
  • Explore relationships between the various facets of a problem in a way that inspires creative and critical thinking, and
  • Present a consolidated view of complex concepts or problems.

Main Topic – The main topic of a mind map is the thought or concept that is being articulated. The main topic is positioned in the center of the images so that multiple topics and associations can branch off. Images are frequently used as the main topic because they contain a great deal of information and can be useful in stimulating associated topics.
Topics – Topics are thoughts or concepts that expand upon or further articulate the main topic. Their association with the main topic is expressed through a branch (connected line) that has a keyword associated with it. There can be as many or as few topics as needed to fully explore the thought or concept of the main topic.
Sub-Topics: Sub-topics are thoughts or concepts that expand upon or further articulate the topic, but still relate to the main topic. Their association with the topic is expressed through a branch (connected line) that has a keyword associated with it. There can be as many or as few sub-topics as required to fully explore the though or concept of the main topic.
Branches: Branches are the associations between the main topic, topics and sub-topics. Branches include a keyword that clearly articulates the nature of the association.
Keywords: Keywords are single words used to articulate the nature of the association of topics or sub-topics connected by a branch. They keywords are useful for both categorizing topics and for triggering additional associations.
Color: Color may be used to categorize, prioritize, and analyze topics, sub-topics, and their associations. There is no defined color coding standard for mind maps. Each mind map creator applies color in a way that best suits their mode of thinking.
Images: Images can be used in mind maps to express larger volumes of information that are unable to be expressed in short topic headings. Images are useful in stimulating creativity and innovation by generating additional thoughts, ideas and associations.

Usage Considerations – Strengths

  • Can be used as an effective collaboration and communication tool
  • Summarizes complex thoughts, ideas and information in a way that shows the overall structure.
  • Associations and sub-topics facilitate understanding and decision making.
  • Enable creative problem solving by articulating associations and generating new associations.
  • Can be helpful in preparing and delivering presentations.

Usage Considerations – Limitations

  • Can be misused as a brainstorming tool, and the related documenting of ideas and creating associations may inhibit idea generation.
  • A shared understanding of a mind map can be difficult to communicate.


Agile Extension 7.19 – Story Elaboration

Purpose – Story Elaboration is used to define the detailed design and acceptance criteria for a story as needed to deliver a working solution.
Description – Story Elaboration is the lowest level of Story Decomposition and the process by which the story is broken down into pieces of work. Story Elaboration facilitates the elicitation and communication of the most detailed requirements.
Story Elaboration is an ongoing activity which occurs in the Delivery Horizon. Wasted effort is reduced by elaborating stories in a just-in-time and just-enough basis. Business analysis practitioners continually develop and communicate dynamic requirements, and this necessitates a high degree of skill in both facilitation and communication.
During each iteration, time is scheduled to expand on the story to understand the detail.  Often, this is completed in a workshop with those who will execute the story: subject matter experts, the customer representative who needs the story, the person who will test the story, and a business analysis practitioner who facilitates and challenges the story. Story Elaboration is completed in preparation for the Planning Workshop.
In order to ensure detailed requirements include the most current feedback on learning, Story Elaboration is done on a just-in-time basis for stories that have been determined to be in scope for the upcoming iteration.
Elicitation – Elicitation is the drawing forth or receiving of information from stakeholders or other sources.
Story Decomposition – Story Elaboration can identify opportunities to decompose stories.
Acceptance Criteria – Story Elaboration clarifies, add, or removes acceptance criteria for a story.
Additional Optional Elements - Story Elaboration may identify tasks to deliver the upcoming iteration. These outputs may include:

  • Task definitions and breakdowns,
  • Examples and scenarios to explain the customer’s intent for the story,
  • Low-fidelity models to clarify the technical or process design (for example, data models and data flow diagrams),
  • Screen or report mock-ups, and
  • Input/output data tables.

Outcome – The result of Story Elaboration is a shared understanding among stakeholders of what should be delivered to achieve the “Done” state for this story.
Usage Considerations – Strengths

  • Reduces elicitation time, and potentially less documentation, by focusing on current features.
  • Elaborating requirements only as needed helps the team avoid the work of eliciting requirements for features that will change by the time they are ready for implementation.
  • Keeps the team focused on the highest priority feature.

Usage Considerations – Limitations

  • Incomplete elaboration can lead to too many or too few details for a story to be completed.
  • Proper timing is difficult. If conducted too early, the information may no longer be correct for the given release and will need to be re-elicited. However, when collected too late, it can delay project team progression to development.
  • It can be challenging to elicit the appropriate level of detail such that the requirements can be developed, tested, and compared to acceptance criteria.