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July 01, 2016

How Can a Business Analyst Support My Agile Project?

2 mins read

“Our team is an Agile team; what would a business analyst do?”

Have you heard this question before? Have you wondered what role the business analyst places on your Agile team?

Inward, Outward, Refine

Product Owners divide their time into three areas:

  • Inward – time spent working with the team to implement features.
  • Outward – time spent with stakeholders and customers to understand their needs and gather their feedback.
  • Refine – refining the product backlog to represent current priorities and decompose product backlog items into the smallest, testable, independent level which can deliver value.

We see Product Owners who spend too much time inward or too much time outward, but we rarely find ones who spend too much time refining.

In some products, the product owner can balance the inward, outward, and refinement activities well and ensure the product success. However, many efforts are much larger. In this case, the product owner role becomes bigger than one person.

Enter the Business Analyst

A Business Analyst will provide expertise in one or more of these areas to support the Product Owner. Some may specialize in the outward focus. You can find these analysts within the business, and they spend time understanding the stakeholders, customers, clients.

Others may specialize in the inward focus. These are analysts who support understanding and determining complex business logic, internal policies, workflows, and the like – all of which are critical to the user but which is often not even recognized by the user.

Analysts always specialize in refinement. Their special skills help them break down requirements into manageable user stories and increase collaboration between business and teams to identify the simplest solution which achieves the goals and objectives.

What Happens if You Don’t Have a Business Analyst?

You don’t always need a business analyst. However, if your Product Owner struggles to balance all the responsibilities or spends too much time in one area, then your team can benefit from a dedicated business analyst.

It’s not about creating an awesome solution. It’s about creating the awesome solution which meets your customer’s needs.

Interested in learning more about Agile Requirements? Join us on September 28 for an Agile Requirements Workshop in Arlington, VA .


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