In case you are wondering what the rating of ‘U’ means…it stands for Underrated. This article presents 6 critical skills which are often ignored, thus making Agile more difficult than it should be.
A colleague had to staff a Business Analyst position for an Agile project recently. He wondered if all the skills needed to be successful in Waterfall environments were transferable to an Agile project. He asked me to list the most critical but overlooked competencies a BA needs to be successful on Agile projects.
I believe, his question and my response applies to ALL Agile roles.
Let us revisit the Agile Manifesto (www.agilemanifesto.org) to remind ourselves of some of the primary differences between Agile and Waterfall projects. Agile values:
1.Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
2.Working software over comprehensive documentation
3.Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
4.Responding to change over following a plan
IMPLICATIONS OF AGILE SDLC
When applied to real life project situations these Agile principles result in the following unique characteristics:
Allowing the business user group to change their mind every 2-3 weeks (typical sprint duration) about what they want and when they want it instead of asking them to “draw a line in the sand” and then holding them accountable to it.
Team members are expected to collaborate and communicate much more. Furthermore, the emphasis on “working software” changes the purpose of collaboration to “let’s make sure we all have the exact same understanding of what you want” paradigm instead of ”you tell me what you want, I will write it up and pass it along…and if it is not written it will not be delivered” paradigm. Level of collaboration with business stakeholders is more extensive, and remains fairly consistent throughout the project.
Self-empowered team members are expected to regulate their actions and move away from the “Project Manager will make all the important decisions and move things along because his/her neck is on the line” approach.
CRITICAL AGILE BA SKILLS
These unique characteristics require a BA to employ the following skills:
4.Collaborative Mindset and Techniques
6.Modeling and Prototyping
Most competencies a BA needs to be successful are SDLC-agnostic. And yet the “Agile-way” of developing software does require the BA – or any other IT role for that matter- to use a slightly different skillset. Does that mean an IT professional who is not proficient in these 6 skills cannot be successful on Agile projects? Of course not. It just makes it more difficult than it needs to be.
What are your experiences with these skills?
He is an avid speaker, and has presented papers at several BA forums. He particularly enjoys conceiving, developing, selling and delivering game-changing, innovative solutions that serve customer needs.
Ronak has 22 years of experience in Business consulting and IT-enabled business solutions. This includes 16 years in all aspects of business analysis including process consulting, requirements engineering, developing & delivering training, and setting up & managing Business Analysis Center of Excellence (BA COE). He is certified by IIBA® as a Certified Business Analysis Professional™ CBAP since 2007.
Ronak will be running the online course Crafting Effective User Stories which will be run in August 2018. Ronak will also be running a workshop in South Africa on the 27th of September called Agile Business Analysis Workshop.