What is AgileBA?
The role of a ‘business analyst’ is to assess a business domain, or even an entire organization, for the sake of finding, suggesting, and enabling improvements. This can involve analyzing a business model, an organization’s relationship with technology, its daily processes, essential systems, and so on. A business analyst will keep these elements aligned with strategic goals. At the same time, they will also make sure that these goals reflect the capabilities of either the present organization or its future state.
Naturally, a data-driven approach to improvement can create fantastic results for a business. A business analyst can optimize the value of a company’s services and products, as well as its internal operations.
However, the needs and approaches of modern businesses are evolving, with one of the most prominent changes being the widespread adoption of Agile. This management methodology promotes a far greater level of flexibility and adaptability than many traditional approaches to project management. These benefits are significant, but that doesn’t remove the growing pains that come with adopting Agile for the first time.
Indeed, practicing business analysts have been discussing the role of an ‘Agile’ business analyst for over a decade. In the days when Agile was primarily a software development methodology, many managers believed business analysts would only slow projects down.
Others claim that the BA role has always been at least partially Agile, given the requirements for flexibility, responsiveness, and the capacity for evolution. However you look at it, there is no doubt that, as Agile has gained more of a foothold in global businesses, its relationship with business analysis has only solidified.
This is where we come to ‘Agile Business Analyst (AgileBA)’, the framework that aims to marry business analysis techniques with Agile management.
What is AgileBA?
AgileBA is a framework that helps to define and explain the role of a ‘business analyst’ in Agile projects. It was created by APMG International, the organization behind AgilePM.
AgileBA explains how business analysts can truly optimize the value of their role within Agile organizations. The framework also helps Agile teams understand how business analysis works and what kind of value business analysts can offer.
Agile Business Analyst is based on the AgileBA Handbook, a publication of the Agile Business Consortium. It largely works by providing clarity and insight for anyone working in Agile projects and environments, such as product owners, agile teams, and so on. This allows them to sign off on improvements with a high level of perspective and confidence. Its approach to Agile business analysis can also have a positive impact elsewhere, such as marketing, sales, and customer service departments.
The underpinning philosophy, principles, practices, and tools of AgileBA enable a number of valuable functions, including:
- Understanding and helping to define roles and responsibilities within Agile projects
- Using a ‘Business Case’ to set different levels of empowerment within a project
- Understanding and helping to empower support and facilitation mechanisms in an Agile project
- Prioritizing and managing requirements in Agile environments
- Identifying where to apply Agile techniques, such as Iterative Development, Timeboxing, and MoSCoW Prioritization
- Producing, evaluating, and communicating the content of business analysis products
- Testing, estimating, and evaluating benefits delivery within Agile projects
- Applying the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) Agile project framework
- Describing and applying practices relating to Agile requirements management
If you are already familiar with Agile Project Management (AgilePM), , you may notice that AgileBA contains a number of similar elements, including many of the same products, processes, and philosophies. However, it is important to note that AgileBA frames shared elements in relation to the skills and expertise of the business analysis role. This can include examples like facilitated workshops, prioritization, timeboxes, modeling and prototyping, and business cases. In contrast, other Agile approaches tend to focus on either project management or software development.
How Can AgileBA Certification Help my Business?
A qualified AgileBA practitioner can offer a number of benefits to a business, including:
- Tracking metrics across projects and departments for the sake of highlighting where business processes can be improved
- Clearly communicating ideas and progress to stakeholders and decision-makers
- Helping to test solutions and products for the sake of quality assurance
- Helping to design user interfaces
- Defining user requirements
On a specific project, Agile business analysts can bring a greater level of holistic awareness than other team members. For example, AgilePM practitioners will focus on what kind of changes can be made to a project in relation to changing requirements and environmental factors. A business analyst will be able to point out when a project has gone off track, is too wasteful, or needs to be canceled. This is because they understand things from a high-level business perspective.
Ultimately, the biggest benefit of AgileBA training is that it helps businesses to stay goal-oriented. Organizations utilizing Agile will be in far less danger of expanding projects out of control. Since AgileBA helps businesses enjoy tighter controls, it can be an excellent accompaniment to other Agile frameworks.