The agile method requires that every member of the team functions at a high skill level, and BAs are no different. In fact, BAs are often the leaders the rest of the team looks up to, as they typically facilitate each step of the process, from analysis to assessment.
To be a successful agile BA, you may wear a variety of hats, as seen below.
- You might be the one who brings stakeholders or customers together to facilitate a united voice in what is needed so the project team can focus on one perspective at a time.
- You may assume the role of a particular stakeholder, such as a product owner, and be empowered by the business to make decisions on deliverables.
- If stakeholders or product owners aren’t available, you may be asked to step in and put yourself in their shoes, or you might work with a particular stakeholder directly.
- Some BAs act as a consultant or coach to customers, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and there is no loss of communication due to limited experience with business analysis or with technology / IT. The BA may also be called upon to coach his or her teammates in working more effectively with stakeholders.
- The business analyst often plays a major role in defining and communicating acceptance and project criteria. This may include planning and implementing acceptance and quality tests.
- The BA helps the team keep the focus on the deliverables and quality service to customers.
- As the BA, you may be tasked with identifying hidden or additional requirements that may not have been represented by stakeholders.
(Source: The Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide, version 1.0)
A successful agile business analyst ensures that the project delivers maximum value for customers and continues to do so in the face of ever-changing business needs. Agile approaches are not a major shift for business analysts, as they continue to follow the best practices and techniques as defined in the BABOK® Guide.
Agile does provide a different slant on the use of business analysis techniques. As agile is a strong yet flexible business approach, you will need to hone skills that you may not have used previously. As the name suggests, in an agile environment, you will need to be adept at negotiation, coaching, communication, and facilitation. The high-paced agile environment requires good teamwork to provide the best solution implementation.
The BA must see the requirements from all sides and from all stakeholder perspectives. As a BA, you will be expected to define project criteria, communicate effectively with all involved, work with project and organization teams, and define how the proposed product or feature aligns with organizational goals. You must be flexible in your dealings with teams, as well as firm in delivering timely requirements to the team and expecting quality product by stated deadlines.
How do you use agile to help you be a better BA?