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Trials and Tribulations of an Agile Business Analyst

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  • Let’s quickly review the role of the Product Owner.The core responsibilities include:
  • Within the Agile approach to delivery, Collaboration between the business, IT and customers are recognized as paramount to success. And as many companies began to adopt the Agile approach to delivery, the role of the Business Analyst has become recognized as crucial for success, but not without some hiccups.The Agile approach promotes Lean concepts of minimum documentation and only producing what the team needs. And unfortunately some companies and teams interpreted this as “no documentation”. That might work OK for small projects and small companies, who, by the way, were the early adopters in Agile. But as larger companies like State Farm and Humana have learned, we need more documentation. So the challenge becomes to determine the right amount of documentation.You see, larger companies don’t have a few independent projects and teams. We have large programs and portfolios of projects to manage. And add to that the fact that our systems are becoming more integrated and connected, the business and technical complexity and sophistication of our service offerings are growing exponentially. Add to that the fact that of-shore utilization has grown from 40% to nearly 75% in the last 4 years. So in the beginning (back in the 1970s) the role of a business analyst emerged from the need to help business folks communicate with the IT folks to solve some business problem.Today, with so much more complex, complicated and distributed systems and services, The Business Analyst role has become so much more that a liaison.He or she needs to provide:more detail in the actual business requirements to partners that may not have the personal experience of using the services we have come to understand daily.Help teams better understand the actual users and stakeholders of the solutions being developed.Constant process-reengineering of business processes as offerings expand and systems become more integrated
  • Of course, there have been challenges to using Agile Bas as Product Owners
  • So what does it take to be a great Agile BA?Well, Agile business analysis is:About increasing the delivery of maximum business valueEnsuring the development team has:the right informationThe level of detailAt the right timeTo build the right product
  • So what’s included in the Agile Extension?Information on how to perform business analysis in different Agile frameworks, including Scrum XP and Kanban. In one survey over 70% of companies that claim to be Agile are doing Scrum oe a combination of Scrum and XP.But probably the biggest value for me is the techniques highlighted that, for larger projects, are critical, such as:How to develop personas to help teams understand their customersValue stream mapping techniques for current state/future state analysisAgile EstimatingCollaborative games
  • Transcript

    • 1. Trials and Tribulations of an Agile Business Analyst ALSTON HODGE MAY 22, 2013
    • 2. Break into Groups of 5-6 people  Avoid (if possible) sitting with someone from your company  Quick Introductions  Your experience with Agile BAs
    • 3. PO Core Responsibilities  Establish vision & goals for overall project  Represents the users or customers for the project  One voice, even if not one person  Typically a person with product knowledge
    • 4. More Responsibilities  Knowing what to build and in what sequence  Manage the return on investment (ROI)  Calls for releases
    • 5. Discuss: In 10 words or less….  What do you think is the role of a Business Analyst in an Agile work environment?  Discuss with your group  Summarize
    • 6. Agile Business Analyst (ABA)  Traditional BA techniques:  Liaison between Business and IT  Detailed Requirements Gathering/Definition  Stakeholder  Process analysis re-engineering
    • 7. Timing is everything  Agile business analysis delivers pretty much the same artifacts as traditional, but:  Lightweight (avoiding waste)  Just-in-time  More frequent feedback loops  Evolve over time
    • 8. Agile Business Analysis is:  About increasing the delivery of maximum business value  Ensuring the development team has: the right information The right level of detail At the right time To build the right product
    • 9. Discuss: In 10 minutes or less….  What do you think are the key challenges for a Business Analyst in an Agile work environment?  Discuss with your group  Summarize
    • 10. Challenges of an ABA in the PO role  The un-empowered BA serving as Proxy PO    BAs commonly used for PO role If not truly empowered, a proxy only adds to the length of the feedback loop. Tendency to do all of the backlog (not prioritized)  The un-supported BA serving as Proxy PO   New/inexperienced BA assigned to complex projects No current-state documentation  The un-trained BA   No business knowledge No Agile training or experience Business Analysis is commonly under-valued
    • 11. Discuss: In 10 minutes or less…  Given the typical challenges of a BA, what 3 things would help a BA be more successful in an Agile environment?
    • 12. What does it take to be a Great ABA?  Focus on delivering maximum business value  Business knowledge (of course)  Facilitation skills  Business Analysis skills:  Story Mapping  Personas/Stakeholder analysis  Business Modeling  Detail-oriented
    • 13. Recommendations for Becoming a Better ABA  Get certified in Scrum (CSM or CSPO)  Lots of great books on Agile practices/techniques  User Stories Applied – Cohn  Agile Modeling – Ambler  Agile Estimating and Planning – Cohn  Agile Product Management with Scrum - Pichler  Visit your local IIBA chapter  BA Competency model  Credentials model (CCBA, CBAP)  Agile Extension to BABOK
    • 14. BA Body of Knowledge (BABOK)  International Institute of Business Analysis  Certifications available  The Agile Extension to the BABOK Guide (Nov 2011)
    • 15. The Agile Extension to the BABOK Guide  Agile Extension drafted - November 2011  Business analysis primer for Agile SW development  Intro to business analysis practices/techniques  Mapping traditional practices to Agile practices  For all team members, not just ABAs Get the draft copy now, for free!
    • 16. IIBA Agile Extension includes….  Business Analysis in different Agile lifecycles    Scrum XP (eXtreme Programming) Kanban  Techniques          Personas Value Stream Mapping Story Mapping Kano Analysis Backlog Management Agile estimating Collaborative Games Retrospectives Lightweight documentation
    • 17. Questions?