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The Agile Analyst: Making Agile Methods Work for You


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Presented by Arlen Bankston
Citizens BA Summit 2011

Published in: Business
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The Agile Analyst: Making Agile Methods Work for You

  1. 1. TheAgileAnalyst Presented by Arlen Bankston Making Agile Methods Work for You
  2. 2. Arlen Bankston • Managing Partner & Co-Founder of LitheSpeed, LLC • 18 years in the industry, 12 doing Agile • Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt • Helped to lead numerous enterprise Agile adoptions • Background in user experience, interaction design & process analysis Who Am I? 2
  3. 3. Let’s explore… • Why you should care about Agile • What BAs do in an Agile team • How to succeed in an Agile team 3
  4. 4. “Agile analysis” is an evolutionary and collaborative process where team members and project stakeholders work together on a just-in- time basis to understand the domain, identify what needs to be built, estimate cost, prioritize functionality, and produce custom-fit, low waste artifacts as needed. What is “Agile Analysis?” 4
  5. 5. WhyYouShouldCare AboutAgile
  6. 6. Agility is important to BAs because: 1. It is Inevitable 2. You are Needed 3. It’s more Fun and Rewarding 4. It’s a Career Builder 4 Reasons to Care About Agile 6
  7. 7. It is Inevitable
  8. 8. Waterfall-style software development became an industry standard because the US Department of Defense made it a requirement. It led to things like this… How It All Started 8
  9. 9. An Agile Government?! 9
  10. 10. The BA Community Embraces Agile The IIBA is also interested…. pment/Agile_Extension.aspx?hkey=c7942e53-b6fa-479e-a057-03a820596f02
  11. 11. Drivers of Agility 11 Source: 2010 State of Agile Development Survey, VersionOne Why are companies adopting Agile?
  12. 12. You are Needed
  13. 13. • Agile methods were crafted largely by developers, and described from their perspective. • This left analysts, testers, designers, tech writers, PMs, middle managers and others wondering where they fit in. The Origin Conundrum 13 • These specialized roles have been fleshing out their places in an Agile world for the past decade.
  14. 14. Causes for concern… • Many teams outrun the PO after 4-6 sprints • Inconsistent and poorly considered requirements are common • Agile products often lack true design excellence • Many teams lack business process knowledge What Gaps Need to be Filled? 14
  15. 15. Why is Product Ownership so Hard? Product Ownership as it is often interpreted requires a polymath: • Product Manager & Business Expert • Internal Customer Representative • User Experience Expert • Subject Matter Expert • Analyst • Designer • Communicator • Decision Maker 15
  16. 16. 16 Ideation Market Trends Prototypes Focus Groups User Experience Basic Workflows Vision Business Outcomes Release Timing and Goals Product Architecture Epics and Features Maturation User Story Decomposition User Story Maturation Acceptance Criteria Test Cases Dependencies Story Mapping Prioritization Epic Estimation Backlog Development Execution Sprint Planning Sprint Estimation Daily Standups Software Development Testing Burndowns Documentation Product Demos Retrospectives Current Sprint~2 Sprints Ahead>4 Sprints Ahead Marketing/Sales, Product Management, Product Owners, Architects Product Owners, Architects, Dev Leads, QA Leads, UX/Analysts Leads, UX/Analysts, Dev Team Members Agile Team Challenges Plenty of Agile teams have this part right. But they often struggle here.
  17. 17. It’s more Fun & Rewarding
  18. 18. • You actively shape the vision • It’s less lonely • It’s better paced It’s More Fun & Rewarding 18 • You get rapid feedback and closure • You don’t have to get it all right up front
  19. 19. Reality is messy. Inspect & Adapt. The initial plan. The best plan. • Agile processes generate new information that can guide decisions better over time. • Empirical methods should be used to monitor progress and direct change, rather than using definitive methods to try and predict progress and stop change. 19 Steering Based on Data
  20. 20. Waiting for Feedback… 20
  21. 21. It’s a Career Builder
  22. 22. • You grow into additional skills through your team • The path to Agile Product Manager is natural • The results of your labors are seen and appreciated more quickly and clearly What Makes an Agile BA Valuable? 22
  23. 23. Product Owner vs. Product Manager 23 Product Managers focus on predictable product management, while Product Owners focus on productive product creation. Product Manager (Strategic PO?) Tactical Product Owner One per product line One per team Focus on Marketing Strategy and Strategic Planning (for executives) Focus on Product Backlog and Sprint Planning (for Scrum teams) Sales process, tools & collateral Product operational rollout & documentation Defining market opportunities Addressing market opportunities Customer acquisition & retention Customer & User product feedback Product pricing & marketing strategy development Feature set optimization within set pricing constraints
  24. 24. Product Owner Hierarchies Strategic Product Owner • Manage competing stakeholders • Create strategic product vision • Make initial prioritization decisions • Focus on RFPs, major initiatives & epics Tactical Product Owner • Write or lead development of detailed User Stories • Lead analysis activities within team • Coordinate with other Tactical Product Owners to manage feature dependencies • Make team-level prioritization decisions 24
  25. 25. WhatAnalystsDo OnAgileTeams
  26. 26. Activities that Agile BAs often lead or facilitate: • Business modeling • Stakeholder identification & engagement • Product roadmapping • Requirements-driven release planning • Prioritization • Backlog population, grooming and pruning • User experience design • User acceptance testing • ROI and cost-benefit analysis • Product requirements dependency analysis • Nonfunctional quality attribute specification Typical Agile BA Activities 26
  27. 27. Agile Planning: The Big Picture Cross Team Planning Looking across the teams, what did we plan to bring to market and what will we likely bring to market? Integrated Release Plan completed and discussed at monthly PMO Meeting Strategic What business objectives will the product line fulfill, and how will it fit into the market as we understand it? Vision created in several sessions, once a year Roadmap cascading off vision, created in several sessions, updated quarterly Team Level Planning Looking at our team, how are we tracking against plan and what do we anticipate completing this Sprint and this Release? Release Plan updated at monthly Release Planning Session, looking out beyond next release Sprint Review at end of each Sprint, with clear articulation of what is likely to be released, and what won’t be released, along with progress in Sprint Sprint Planning executed to start each Sprint, build on discussion in Sprint Review to plan at team level and identify cross team impacts Daily Standup to convey up to minute status and plan 27
  28. 28. Product (years & months) Stakeholders Domain Important Events Regulatory constraints High level feature Business processes Release (months & weeks) User Roles & Personas Interfaces Conceptual data models Story Maps Quality Attributes Design constraints Sprint (weeks & days) Prototypes User Story Details Detailed data models Acceptance tests Business rules Decision tables Detailed constraints Rolling Wave Planning 28
  29. 29. • Lean and Six Sigma, by defining the problem, help to: o Define and quantify Value o Identify root causes of business problems o Avoid suboptimization by providing full business context o Align business management with true customer needs • Agile Project Delivery, by crafting the solution, helps to: o Deliver, test and refine increments of Value o Provide framework for ongoing measurement of results o Ensure effective implementation of improvements o Align business management with implementation team A Complementary Relationship 29
  30. 30. HowtoSucceed OnanAgileTeam
  31. 31. Shift focus from “We'll go out and find out what the customers want and bring it back,” to "We'll go help the customers figure out what they want, so they can tell us.” Ron Jeffries Facilitation over Documentation Act as a guide rather than a historian. 31
  32. 32. Learn and act together instead of alone. “The Three Amigos are the essential stakeholders of the system being developed: The business (or product owner, in Scrum terms), the developer, and the tester. These three represent the viewpoints of what the system is intended to do, what can and cannot be implemented, and what might go wrong or be misunderstood.” George Dinwiddie Collaboration over Independence 32
  33. 33. Sufficiency over Slickness Use tools that help everyone learn most quickly. “Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.” (“The better is the enemy of the good.”) François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) 33
  34. 34. Questions?
  35. 35. Contact Me Arlen Bankston 703-745-9125 35 If you want to further discuss this presentation or the methods referenced within, please feel free to contact me: