An Agile Business Analyst still has a similar role as a business analyst, however just in an agile environment. An agile project directly focusses on the level of uncertainty in a specific project. On small and simple projects, the role of an agile business analyst is normally not required as it’s played by the product owner. However, on larger projects, it would be difficult for the product owner to perform that role without some assistance.
Though the product owners work closely with the development team, the role of a business analyst is important in regards to the business needs and creating a plan for the team. Agile Business Analysts have a critical role in understanding the level of uncertainty of a project and digging into the root cause of the business problem. A business analyst would have to understand the new processes the agile methodology requires as it will help with the team dynamics and avoid user stories that are written like functional requirements.
Some of the skills needed for an AGILE Business Analyst are as follows:
- Being able to analyse a broad defined area
- Using stories to help create a framework
- Writing individual effective stories that are clear and concise
- Identifying related user stories and epics
- Integrate the needs of the project and the needs of the stakeholders
- Structured and analytical mindset
- People skills
- Creative mindset
- Able to work under pressure
- Being proactive in flagging, escalating and owning the resolutions of issues
There some differences in the way an AGILE Business Analyst approaches projects, for example:
- There is less emphasis on documentation.
AGILE requirements are usually written in terms of ‘user story’. A user story is a definition of a business need which is not written in that much detail about how it will be implemented. The way it will be implemented will be discussed and determined based on direct, face to face communications.
- Changes are encouraged throughout the project.
An agile approach is about flexibility maximise the value of the solution. Therefore, changes to the project are always encouraged to ensure the team comes up with the best solution. The Agile Business Analyst also the requirements fit the business needs and always leaves them open for negotiation before they are solved.
- Direct Communication.
In an agile environment, there is a lot more direct communication between the business users and the project team. The product owner who represents the business has to constantly provide an overall business direction and the relevant priorities throughout the project. The developers on the team are also expected to communicate directly with the business users to define and discuss requirements.
- Understanding the problem.
Agile Business Analysts focus on understanding the problem, so they are able to answer any questions from the development tebusiness users quickly and decisively.