Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst - Myths and Realities

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1. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst Myth vs Reality Last Changed: March 2019 Author: MRR Consulting Version: 0.03 2. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst…
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  • 1. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst Myth vs Reality Last Changed: March 2019 Author: MRR Consulting Version: 0.03
  • 2. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality 2 Before we begin Not here today to talk about how the future is so bright for Business Analysts as agile transformations take hold. Not here today to talk about how Agile is the end of the world for the Business Analyst profession and that we need to all update our resumes. Here today to talk about some fallacies, misconceptions that have arisen when people discuss the role of the Business Analyst transitioning to the land of Agile. Fair Warning – I may be poking the bear! I may communicate some things that do not give you the warm fuzzies.
  • 3. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality 3 My Background 30+ years of working in an Enterprise IT environment. Close to 20 years of working formally as a Business Analyst (the title) but more if you consider the roles and responsibilities. Exposure to Agile transformation programs in multiple organizations across North America including DIRECTV, AT&T, American Express, and TD Bank. Bottom Line– This presentation is not based on abstract concepts, an academic discussion.
  • 4. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality 4 Agenda Today we will discuss three myths and realities as it relates to Agile and the Business Analyst… 1. Agile Business Analysis/Agile Business Analysts 2. Business Analysts as the voice of the customer in Agile 3. Business Analysts as a redundant role in Agile
  • 5. AgileandtheEnterpriseBusinessAnalyst MythsandRealities Myth #04 Myth #1 Agile Business Analysis Agile Business Analysts
  • 6. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Agile Business Analysis / Agile Business Analysts Myth A discipline, practice entitled “Agile Business Analysis”. An established role entitled the “Agile Business Analyst”. 6 Myth
  • 7. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Agile Business Analysis / Agile Business Analysts Reality There is no formal discipline, practice entitled “Agile Business Analysis”. There is no industry recognized role entitled “Agile Business Analyst”. These are not terms recognized by Agile governing bodies such the Agile Alliance, the SCRUM Alliance, or SCRUM.org. 7 Reality
  • 8. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Agile Business Analysis / Agile Business Analysts Reality The reality is that the term “Agile” has two meanings. • Agile with an uppercase “A” This refers to Agile Development Methodologies such as Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP), Crystal, and Lean. It is about an iterative approach to software development with defined methods, roles, processes and tools. • agile with a lowercase “a” This is not a tool or process. It is a quality, a characteristic typically associated with speed, flexibility, adaptability and collaboration. It is a core competency and source of competitive advantage. It is a quality, attribute often linked to the twelve principles of the agile software development manifesto. 8 Reality
  • 9. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Agile Business Analysis / Agile Business Analysts Reality 9 Reality Agile with an uppercase “A” SCRUM DAD SAFe XP Lean Crystal agile with a lowercase “a” simplicity working together daily continuous delivery collaboration working software face-to-face conversation self-organizing teams
  • 10. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Agile Business Analysis / Agile Business Analysts Reality There are definitions of Business Analysis that incorporate agile principles and concepts. This is about Business Analysis with “agility”. There is such as thing as a “agile Business Analysis”, agile with a lowercase-”a”. Consider the following publications which provide different interpretations of how to apply agility to Business Analysis. 10 Reality
  • 11. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Agile Business Analysis / Agile Business Analysts Reality There are job postings that exist for a position entitled Agile Business Analyst. These postings are few and far apart . When the position exists, the fine print, the details point to a hybrid role which involves either: • a Business Analyst that understands and incorporates agile practices, lowercase “a” ..or.. • a Business Analyst willing to work as a contributor in the context of an Agile team, uppercase “A” The Agile Business Analyst is not a well-established role. However, people that have skills in both Business Analysis and Agile methodologies are in demand. 11 Reality
  • 12. AgileandtheEnterpriseBusinessAnalyst MythsandRealities Myth #2 Business Analysts As the Voice of the Customer in Agile
  • 13. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Business Analysts as the voice of the customer in Agile Myth The Business Analyst is: • the voice of the customer • the bridge between the business and technology • the go-to person expected to act as the champion of the customer This doesn’t change because we’re in Agile. The Business Analyst is still expected to interact with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts in order to understand their problems and facilitate solutioning to meet their needs. The product owner is just the business owner by another name. The only difference is that they’ve committed to be a full-time person on the project team. 13 Myth
  • 14. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Business Analysts as the voice of the customer in Agile Reality The reality is that there is one and only one voice of the customer in Agile and it is not the Business Analyst. • It is the Product Owner who is the authoritative and single voice of the customer • This is the person who knows what the customer wants and the relative business value of those needs. • The Product Owner speaks to the customer ask and can relate customer values back to the Agile team. • The SCRUM Guide clearly states that the Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog, the agile repository for requirements information. 14 Reality
  • 15. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Business Analysts as the voice of the customer in Agile Reality It is the Product Owner that speaks to the need of the customer. They are driving the definition and management of user needs that relate to the customer experience. Can a Business Analyst act as an advocate for the customer with expertise and suggestions to ensure a satisfactory customer experience? Absolutely, yes. Can the PO can delegate to the Business Analyst? Again, yes. But ultimately it is the Product Owner making the end-decisions. 15 Reality
  • 16. AgileandtheEnterpriseBusinessAnalyst MythsandRealities Myth #3 Business Analysts As a redundant role in Agile
  • 17. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Business Analysts as a redundant role in Agile Myth The role of a Business Analyst is redundant in a project given the allocation of responsibilities to the Product Owner. It is no longer the responsibility of a Business Analyst to: • Be the voice of the customer • Be the connector between business and technology • Drive the identification of customer needs • Produce a requirements deliverable The Business Analyst is merely an assistant to the Product Owner. 17 Myth
  • 18. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Business Analysts as a redundant role in Agile Reality The knowledge and expertise of Business Analysts can make a significant difference to the success of an Agile project. While there is overlap between the competencies (skills) of a Business Analyst and a Product Owner, there are strengths that a Business Analyst brings to the table that a Product Owner may not possess. This includes • Analytical Skills • Familiarity with project and development methodologies • Modeling Skills • Systems Thinking • Technical Awareness 18 Reality
  • 19. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Business Analysts as a redundant role in Agile Reality The focus of a Product Owner is typically on features and functionality associated to the customer (business functional requirements) The Product Owner often knows little about: • Non Functional Requirements • Data Requirements It would not be reasonable to expect a Product Owner to understand the different ways of eliciting requirements information when there is a need to speak to the needs of other stakeholders outside their core constituency. These are areas is which Business Analysts can add value 19 Reality
  • 20. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Business Analysts as a redundant role in Agile Reality The role of a Product Owner in the enterprise environment is often as new as the agile transformations embraced by the organization. • There is a ramp-up time for Product Owners before they can be proficient in their role. • The skills and expertise of the Business Analyst can make a huge difference in this interim period • The Business Analyst can be a critical factor in determining whether the Product Owner succeeds. • The Business Analyst can provide value-add contributions in refining the backlog. 20 Reality
  • 21. 21 Conclusion
  • 22. Agile and the Enterprise Business Analyst – Myth vs Reality Conclusion Success will be a product of how we adapt as individuals in Agile The reality is that a Business Analyst has less decision-making rights in Agile and not owning the delivery of a requirements document can be traumatic to individuals who measured their contribution on a project by the deliverable. The landscape has changed. The role of a Enterprise Business Analyst in an Agile environment varies by organization, department, and teams. We may no longer be the voice of the customer but that does not mean our role is redundant. There are many areas where the skillset of a Business Analyst can compliment the competencies of a Product Owners. There will always be opportunities as Business Analyst practitioners. We need merely to recognize and take advantage of those opportunities. Conclusion 22
  • 23. 23 Thank You
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