Business Analysts going Agile?

DSDM Consortium (C)

AgileBA (Agile Business Analyst) has just been launched by DSDM Consortium to compliment the existing AgilePM guidance. With the demand for Agile Business Analysts starting to appear on job sites, I attended a Train the Trainer event last week to see how AgileBA and AgilePM fitted together.

More BA than PM

Key lesson I learnt from this accelerated run through of the material was the need to have a really good understanding of all the different evaluation models used by business analysts. To ensure the course differentiates itself from the AgilePM course, I think the emphasis needs to be on training people to become effective business analysts.

Two halves

The models included in the course can be divided into two sections:

1. Models to help define the strategy of the organisation because if the Business Analyst understands the strategy then they can ensure that their project has the right scope and deliverables to contribute to the achievement of the strategy.

2. Models to redesign the processes, data flows and required systems that help to identify what deliverables the project needs to build.

Best bits

I really enjoyed the emphasis on user stories and modelling techniques as I thought these were really practical. Also the ideas for prioritisation which supplemented the well known MoSCoW technique with the less well known but excellent Kano model is excellent.

Left wanting more

I was disappointed that there was little emphasis on how the Business Analyst contributes to deployment and the need to understand the principles and techniques of change management.

“Pump up the change”

Maybe I am biased as the Co-Chair of the Change Management Institute (UK) but I think that it is an essential element of the Business Analyst role to understand the changes that the project must bring about. After all, it is only when these changes have become fully embedded as the new ‘business as usual’ that the intended benefits of the project are realised, and in a wider sense the strategy of the organisation is achieved. So I would like to see more about how to define change. Having said that, many of the models described in the book can be used for this purpose.

Next steps…

The AgileBA is about the discipline of business analysis in an agile world, so my strong recommendation is to attend the AgilePM course first. This fully explains how agile projects work, why agile is important, relevant and beneficial. The AgilePM course gives a detailed understanding of the agile project lifecycle, suggests what information to capture and what decisions to take at each stage and how to plan the work. All of this information provides excellent context for the role of Business Analyst which makes it an excellent pre-cursor for the AgileBA course.

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