Need for agile development environment started in the 1990s because waterfall model has gained reputation for missing deadlines and going over budget or failing completely. Some of the solution offered agile approach.
Agile approach, at first time, was used as software development method, and over time it became a global imperative in project management.
All Agile methodologies have a common set of core ideas: iterative and incremental delivery of working code, frequent collaboration with stakeholders, closely working, self-organizing teams and the ability to accept change late in the project.
Agile approach has a lot of advantages and disadvantages and it is very important to be mindful while choosing the method of development at begin of project.
The benefits of agile approach are good communication, change business request during development that impact on increased customer satisfaction, accelerated response to problems and changes, more efficient corrections and delivery of solutions.
Disadvantages mostly occur in large organizations that can not adapt processes and culture to agile approach. In that case, part of the development may be futile because of the change priorities, contracts with agreed fixed price, lack of documentation, etc.
In agile approach, business requirements are gathered in several workshops with customers. The key role of the project when collecting business demands is the role of Business Analyst.
Business Analyst is a role model on a project that collects customer requests, document it and forwards to development team for development. Business Analyst in an agile development environment is the same role that work in the agile software development. Information gathering techniques have not changed dramatically in an agile environment, but the time period and the way they are used have changed.
It is much easier to be a Business Analyst in a traditional approach where the requirements are clearly defined and documented before the start of development. In agile approach, customers and developers are expected to work together around the scope of development with very little emphasis on documentation and this is the key role played by Business Analyst.
The key role of an agile Business Analyst is to get everyone in the team (including the customer) the right information at the right time with the appropriate level of detail so that the team can develop the right product. Therefore, the role is no longer as in the traditional approach, that an Business Analyst only writes business requirements, but is constantly in contact with business customers and establishes communication mechanisms so that everyone involved understands “why” something does, ie what value brings to the organization before the start of development and throughout the development cycle. After that, it is crucial that the analyst’s common understanding is propagated throughout the team so that everyone involved has a common picture that is to be achieved. Two-way communication is the absolute imperative between business users or customers and programmers. In this way, project performance measures are defined.
The second important role of the agile Business analyst is to establish a communication channel for faster decision-making and response to changes in the environment. How is this achieved? Agile Business Analyst is the central place of communication in the agile team and should be dedicated to working in just one team. Business Analyst communicates with all project participants on agile rituals and terms such as start, iterations, user stories, estimates, etc. During this communication, the role of Business Analysts is that the development team is always up to date with customer priority changes and decides what needs to be changed to solve the problem. By training the business process team and talking to customers about additional functionality, agile Business Analyst helps the development team to make quicker decisions about the course of future development based on accurate and well-understood data.
Agile Business Analyst is thinking about what needs to be done to solve problems and he is constantly looking for new approaches to addressing problems and improving business processes that are experiencing problems.
During this process, agile Business Analyst constantly challenge sponsors, product and process owners, and users to define the actual needs. This ensures that the development team solves the real problem rather than making the right solution for the wrong problem. Innovation requires critical thinking, conflict management as well as risk management.
Agile Business Analyst improves business processes, participates in decision making, assists in testing solutions / products and design interfaces, and evaluates the ultimate solution with business users. In this capacity, it is necessary to constantly adapt to business processes, software development processes and changes in the environment.
(Agile) Business Analyst has no formal decision-making authority, and this disadvantage should be compensated through influence and communication. Impact is most commonly achieved by empathy towards internal and external users and by building relationships with people throughout the organizational structure.
The agile Business Analyst’s goal is to create greater value for the organization by solving business problems. For this reason, agile Business Analyst should always see a broad picture and the impact of change on the whole organization, not just a certain segment of the business. Therefore, it is necessary to look at the different perspectives as well as to evaluate the many possible solutions when deciding.
Ultimately, the title is not important. Each organization has a similar terminology for the same roles in the projects. What is important is the dynamics and flexibility of teams to succeed in an agile environment. (Agile) Business Analyst is one of the most important role in the team because it defines customer needs and greatly affects the choice of the right solution, which increases the project’s success and enhances the value of the organization.