It would seem that the role of business analysis is changing. Typically, a business analyst’s role is to assess various elements of a business to optimize efficiency and effectiveness. At the same time, they must also keep a close eye on daily processes, as well as projects and programs, to solidify their alignment with corporate goals.
However, the goalposts are starting to shift with the popularity of Agile. The non-traditional management approach alters the structure of planning and benefits realization significantly. It also decentralizes control, allowing team members to make decisions without requiring managerial oversight. This can all create an environment unfamiliar to your traditionally focused business analyst, making it more difficult for them to perform their role.
‘Agile Business Analyst (AgileBA)’ is an analysis framework designed for Agile environments. It gives practitioners the tools and context required to thrive in Agile teams, allowing them to prioritize governance without threatening the benefits offered by the Agile methodology.
If you are looking into studying AgileBA, you may be wondering exactly how a practitioner can measure their success. Here are the most effective ways to gauge the success of agile business analysis.
Follow the Agile business case
One of the focus points of the AgileBA syllabus is the creation of the ‘Agile business case’. This is part of the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), and helps to define the scope and objectives of a project. It also covers risks, alternatives, costs, benefits, and deliverables, ultimately justifying the project with the value it will produce.
While the exact business case for an Agile project can evolve over time, its consistent presence should highlight the most appropriate performance metrics. This also applies to incremental targets, as stakeholders will demand reassurance that short-term project goals contribute to the all-important business case.
Part of this will involve interacting with Agile teams. Are they using prioritization tools, such as MoSCoW Prioritization or the Kano Model? If the company has invested in a framework like AgilePM or PRINCE2 Agile, a business analyst may, at times, have to remind teams to apply what they’ve learned.
Traditional project management generally offers less flexibility but also has managers consistently justify decisions by linking them to the business case. With Agile teams enjoying greater autonomy, stakeholders may fear that adopting Agile practices can make it easier for teams to lose focus on value-generating goals, resulting in wasted investment and decreased returns.
If an AgileBA practitioner is doing their job correctly, stakeholders will remain more than satisfied with the direction a project is taking. As long as there are appropriate performance metrics and projections that demonstrate the pursuit of value within the parameters of the organization in question, the fact that a project is agile should make little difference.
Visibility and communication are important in any project. With Agile, teams operate with the autonomy to make decisions with less input from high-level management. While this increases project speed considerably, it can also lead to a potential lack of transparency.
An AgileBA practitioner must take the time to facilitate transparency and communication with stakeholders. Roles and responsibilities must be clarified for the sake of accountability, and team members must know how they are expected to justify their decisions.
At the same time, agile business analysts can also gauge the success of a project based on how clearly team members understand high-level goals. Even with more benefit of the doubt as far as decision-making goes, candidates still require an understanding of the big picture. The Agile business case should be clarified explicitly, especially if it starts to evolve.
Part of a business analyst’s role is to analyze business processes and suggest improvements. This means helping teams recognize inefficiency and ineffectiveness, as well as the reasons behind them. This may fit in with project management, though it can also apply to daily value-generating processes.
An AgileBA practitioner can judge their success based on the way they handle these improvements. Implementing changes can require teams to leave their comfort zones – sometimes doubly so in fast-paced environments or active projects. As such, a successful AgileBA practitioner will be able to utilize the most relevant metrics, such as mean time to complete tasks, process reliability, and so on, to justify alterations.
Look at the teams
The difficulty of a business analysis role in knowing how to understand teams and individuals. Ideally, an analyst will be more than just an objective voice. Indeed, AgileBA practitioners will often function as team members and advisors (though not managers). They will do this by developing a bespoke understanding of the team’s roles and capabilities, identifying any gaps along the way while also adjusting stakeholder expectations when necessary.
However, team feedback can also play an important role. Opening communication and engaging with team members on a frequent basis can open an AgileBA practitioner up to new perspectives and ideas for improvement. It can also enhance employee satisfaction, which can have a significant impact on output.
Studying Agile business analysis with Good e-Learning
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