The Business Analyst’s Role in Agile

July 17, 2015 Appirio

By Neerav Patel


Agile software development is a framework that provides development methods based on iterative and incremental development — where the requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. The Business Analyst (BA) is key to keeping communication open and effective amongst those teams, and with key business stakeholders.

Who is the Business Analyst?

The Business Analyst is the communication liaison from project inception through final delivery. They bridge the communication between development teams, business stakeholders, and quality assurance teams. They also help to streamline requirements and manage project expectations. BAs must have extensive knowledge of the business domain, processes, and flow of the projects they are working on. They must also have a deep technical knowledge and understanding of the business requirements.

Even with their strong technical skills and expertise, the BA acts as a tour guide rather than a taxi driver — guiding the evolution of the requirements and processes specific to the business domain.

Role of the Business Analyst in agile methodology

When we talk about the role of the BA in the context of the Agile landscape, it’s one that is extremely dynamic, adaptable, and focused on flexibility. They must execute business process improvements, assist in gathering requirements from decision makers, ensure best practices in quality assurance testing, assist on project design, and even wear the “Product Owner” hat from time to time — thereby defining the priorities around requirement implementations or bug fixes and drafting user stories. The BA needs to extract collaboration and build better understanding between development teams and clients. They should produce business critical requirements faster through observation and trial and error methods. A BA in Agile can assist the organization in its transformation, going above and beyond the organization’s general operations.

The many hats of a Business Analyst

  • Product Owner — The BA should continuously focus on refining the requirements with clear cut motive to provide better solutions to any affected business processes, and to ensure that business goals are met.
  • InnovatorThey must focus on improvising and modifying existing business processes, and bring innovative measures to diagnose the business process that is infected with problems.
  • LeaderThe Agile methodology emphasizes teamwork rather than individual performance, hence the BA must initiate any change or improvement organization-wide. Actively providing innovative measures with effective communication will build a BA’s credibility with business stakeholders.
  • StorytellerThe Business Analyst really listens to client needs — and converts them into the requirements and user stories that will meet those needs. There are a wide range of toolkits available for the BA to use to represent the business process problems along with solutions for them. Using these toolkits helps demonstrate innovations and improvisations to business stakeholders.

Although the role of the Business Analyst in agile may differ from more conventional methodologies, they remain key members of their teams and play an integral role in delivering value to customers.

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