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Thursday, January 13, 2011

What is an agile BA?

Recently there was a discussion on the Agile BA Linkedin discussion group about the difference between an agile business analyst and a traditional business analyst, if there is such a difference. One group held that all the attitudes, behaviors and activities that were attributed to an agile business analyst in the discussion are actually attitudes, behaviors and activities all business analysts should have or do agile or not. The discussion was mostly theoretical and philosophical. So here is another more pragmatic view of the difference and I am not making this differentiation as a declaration of some agile business analyst manifesto, only to perhaps clarify thinking by presenting two extremes.
When the business analyst is focused on producing a single approved requirements document at the end of a long period of structured elicitation, investigation, analysis, review and approval, and the document is passed on to the development team with or without interacting with the development team, then the business analyst is acting in a traditional business analyst role.
When the business analyst elicits and analyzes the information to produce just enough requirements for the development team to produce at least a rudimentary version of the result and then continues to revise the requirements as the business stakeholders, development team and business analyst learn more about the system delivering the final requirements document describing the system in production at the same time as the system goes into production, then the business analyst is acting in an agile business analyst role.

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