3: Why Your Team Needs an Agile Business Analyst
40
needed to support the Agile development team in their
work. This approach may be ideal when the best solution
for the business is a software product, and the business
users are sufficiently knowledgeable and available to the
team when they need input. In all other situations, however,
it would be beneficial for the business users to get an
equivalent opportunity for collaboration, that is, to be
paired with resources who can work with them to:
research and assess the business requirements,
identify opportunities for resolving business issues
outside of the software,
assign business-value-driven priorities to the features,
and
communicate with the Agile developers throughout the
project to clarify their business requirements.
Having a skilled business analyst on the Agile team
provides business users with the opportunity to have peer
support in the identification, valuation, clarification,
testing, and rollout of their most critical business
requirements. It also provides the Agile team members with
a business-knowledgeable resource who is available to
work hands-on with them throughout the project. All of this
can substantially improve the relevance and business value
of the delivered solution. So why is the Agile business
analyst not already a part of every Agile team?
The disappearance of the traditional business analyst
One of the best ways to explain why most Agile
development teams do not already have an Agile business
analyst is by comparing a traditional waterfall IT project
team to an Agile project team. The traditional project team
is generally comprised of six distinctive roles:
3: Why Your Team Needs an Agile Business Analyst
41
Developer
Tester
Systems architect
Business analyst
Technical writer
Team leader.
Depending on the nature of the project, the traditional IT
project team may also include the following roles:
Data analyst
Database specialist
Network specialist
Security specialist
Trainer
Quality and compliance specialist.
In most cases, the assignment of a person to a role on a
traditional IT project team identifies the work that will be
done exclusively by that resource. Developers code.
Testers test. Never the twain shall meet. On smaller
projects, traditional IT project team members may be asked
to take on more than one of these roles, but that is usually
out of necessity, not by design.
On multidisciplinary Agile project teams, these roles are
deliberately blurred. Each member of the team has a
primary skill set, but the roles they undertake throughout
the project will vary, depending on the most immediate
needs of the solution. In some cases, a required resource
with specialty skills (e.g. security specialist, network
specialist, quality and compliance specialist) is not a
dedicated member of the Agile team, but is called upon
when needed to provide their expertise.

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