How Agile Helped a BA Discover Her Real Value

As companies introduce agile practices, the Business Analyst role is often left by the wayside. The title does not even exist in Scrum or other specific agile implementations, leaving many Business Analysts wondering where they fit in. But fear not! The skills of a good BA are even more valuable in an agile environment!

Join Diane Zajac-Woodie as she tells the tale of a new agile team, struggling with no formal training, a resistant corporate culture and unwilling team members. She shares how this team benefited from the communication, collaboration & facilitation skills of an experienced BA. She then highlights specific shifts that Business Analysts can make in order to help their own team’s transition. These include using story maps and writing executable requirements, just in time.

Embracing their new roles, BAs can also encourage team members to cross role boundaries. This leads to new skill acquisition and a more cohesive team, which ultimately leads to higher quality software.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

Many business analysts struggle with how they fit into this new agile world. But many traditional BA tasks translate into valuable activities on agile teams. The key is to understand that our value is not in the tasks that we do and to discover our real value. Only then can the BA role be much more than a requirements dictator. Throughout this journey, BAs, as well as their teams, can reap the benefits of stepping outside their role boundaries.

I spent 6+ years as a business analyst before I became an agile coach. This BA talk was very well received at Agile 2013 on the Experience Report track & I've given it several other times. Each time folks come up to me afterward & tell me that they have renewed hope in being a BA. It is my personal story w/ lots of anecdotes mixed in to make it very relatable.

 

 

Learning Outcome

Show that the role of the business analyst can survive and thrive in an agile environment. Explain that what a BA does will stay somewhat the same, but when and how things are accomplished will change.

Outline how some traditional BA tasks easily translate to valuable activities on a cross-functional, agile team. Demonstrate, through examples, how the communication, facilitation and problem solving skills of a business analyst are even more valuable in a highly collaborative environment.

Describe the continuing path to becoming a generalizing specialist. Illustrate that by being willing to step in wherever help is needed, regardless of title, the work keeps flowing and the team also keeps learning new skills.

Target Audience

Business Analysts, Product Owners, Project Managers,

schedule Submitted 9 months ago

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