January 22, 2015

Agile Business Analysis: Developer or Analyst Role?

IMG_6228
Inspired by the post What Increases Project Risk? which explored the collaboration between project managers and the management function, here’s an ‘agile process improvement’ response to one of those risks.

Do developers need to understand the business before coding?

Right from the very first telling of agile methods, many people recognise there is a significant dependency on technical proficiency. Indeed, a baseline architecture and adequate requirements-gathering are two of the four ‘Early Stage Deliverables’ - tell-tale indicators for success.
With no job titles in a Scrum team and with the imperative for agile teams to be self-organising, there is a risk of running sprints that are so disconnected they don’t help to advance the project as a whole. This is why it falls to the Product Owner to prioritise the work of the team to the benefit of the business.

Product Owner ‘Owns’ the Requirements

POs need to know the requirements at a decision-making level, so they can prioritise the work and make decisions regarding business rules for the development team.
Most POs have detailed knowledge in some areas and can work as both PO and a development team member, but this is effective only if the team is small and there are no other calls on the PO role.

The Need for Business Analysis

It’s for the team itself to perform the activities normally associated with business analysis. Namely: business modelling; requirements management; requirements gathering; solution recommendation and validation; test specification; elicitation; and communication with the business.

Our Developers Don't Understand our Business. OK?

You might expect the response to this question to be ‘you are the weakest link, goodbye!’ Inconveniently, it ignores the reality of many development situations – some developers really just want to write code, and don’t want to know about the business. On the other hand, there are clients who want to keep developers away from the business. There are no rules when it comes to people’s preferences.

The Team is Responsible

To set the record straight, it doesn’t matter who performs the business analysis function. It can be a developer or a business analyst, a PO, a customer, user or a customer services manager – as long as someone understands and explains the customer’s need (requirements) and recommends the solution.
In an agile (Scrum) environment, it is the development team as a whole that develops the solution it forecast it could deliver during the planning meeting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Future of Agile Leadership

Introduction The future of leadership is Agile There are many different types of leadership styles and not all work well in every situation. The most popular method, the "Command and Control" style which has been…

Business Agility Leadership Coaching (BALC) at HSBC

Business Agility Leadership Coaching (BALC) emerged as a consequence of asking leaders and managers across HSBC how they wanted to improve their agile leadership. Our proposed solution hit a sweet spot because we were 100%…

What does focussing on culture mean to XYZ Consulting?

We have some mid-tier consultants in at the moment who are "focussing on culture." Since we don't separate culture from delivering value to customers, I asked what that meant in practice. Apparently: "A generic scheme…

Visualising Progress using the Stand-up Game

We had a (brief) discussion about tracking progress as a team. I reacted against Jira because a) I dislike the user interface as it's a collaboration killer, and b) we aren't a software development or…
1 2 3 20
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram