Agile – it is one of the most common words used in the project world today. We want our projects to be ‘agile’; we want to reap the benefits of agility; we want to be flexible, responsive and adaptive.
So if we make the decision to build some or all of our solution using an agile approach, do we really need a Business Analyst (BA)?
The DSDM® Consortium, the architects of Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM®), a proven framework for Agile Project management and delivery, and the International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA®), agree that you should have a Business Analyst.
The Business Analyst’s primary objective is to ensure that the business needs and requirements are properly analysed and understood by the project team.
Here are 5 ways a BA can be invaluable to your project:
- Provide the data to keep the requirements in line with the vision.
According to DSDM, the Agile BA is active in supporting both project-level roles (eg Sponsor, Project Manager) and the solution (development) team. This will start with defining the business vision for the project and will address questions such as:
▫ What need are we trying to satisfy?
▫ Is that need worth satisfying?
▫ Should we deliver something to satisfy that need?
▫ What is the right thing to do to deliver that need?
Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK Guide®) V3.0, 2014
- Track the ever-changing requirements.
The Business Analyst will document the requirements and provide data on how the requirement (or group of requirements) will help or hinder the vision. In conjunction with the team, the BA facilitates how the requirements can be incorporated into the solution. With the sole focus of meeting the project’s Visionary needs, the BA can objectively assess if a requirement is necessary.
- Manage the requirements priorities.
Business and solution experts do not always agree on what can and should be implemented in the solution. The BA can and should present different scenarios that would use the competing requirements, including working with the business representative on the benefits.
- Highlight discrepancies between requirements.
The BA ensures the Number 1 objective of an Agile project is met: Quality. A BA will challenge how requirements will fit together and whether or not the solution development team can implement them within the timebox or increment.
- Document the implemented “AS IS” solution.
One of the final steps of a timebox is to document and review the solution. The BA will make sure that the acceptance criteria are cross-referenced to the requirements and that the MUST HAVE prioritised requirements have been implemented. In today’s changing environment, documenting what’s implemented is often required for customer service, regulatory and compliance reasons.
“…the Agile BA, by working alongside the business representatives on a project, can ensure that the project’s objectives, business case, requirements, development and deployment are always aligned with the objectives and strategy of the organisation”
Agile BA®, Agile Business Analysis Handbook, DSDM Consortium, 2015
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DSDM® and Agile BA® are registered trademarks of Dynamic Systems Development Limited in the United Kingdom and other countries
IIBA®, BABOK® and the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® are registered trademarks owned by International Institute of Business Analysis