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What is an Agile Business Analyst?

Posted by Adrian M.

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Categories: Agile Methods, Roles and Responsibilities


What is an Agile Business Analyst?

In general terms, an agile business analyst is a business analyst who performs their craft within an agile environment, either as a member of an agile team or part of the program/portfolio team.  Realistically, a business analyst cannot call themselves agile just because they’re on an agile team.  To be an agile business analyst one must adapt their traditional business analysis techniques and mindset with the principles and practices of agile methodologies.

Here are some of the characteristics of an agile business analyst:

  • Engages in an iterative and incremental project lifecycle, with the ability to adapt to changing requirements and priorities throughout the development process.
  • Focuses on lightweight documentation, using user stories and acceptance criteria to capture requirements in a more concise and easily digestible format.
  • Embraces change and is adaptable to evolving requirements, with the ability to reprioritize and adjust focus in response to customer feedback and shifting business needs.
  • Encourages frequent and continuous customer collaboration throughout the development process, with regular feedback sessions and demonstrations.
  • Emphasizes collaboration and teamwork, often working closely with cross-functional teams that include developers, testers, and other stakeholders.
  • Prioritizes delivering minimum viable products (MVPs) or increments of value in short, fixed time frames known as sprints.

Some of the responsibilities of an agile business analyst include:

  • User Stories - collaborate with stakeholders to define and prioritize user stories, which are concise descriptions of functionality from an end-user perspective.
  • Prioritization - assist in prioritizing features and user stories based on business value, customer needs, and project constraints.
  • Communication - act as a bridge between technical and non-technical stakeholders, translating business needs into technical requirements and vice versa.
  • Backlog Refinement - participate in backlog refinement sessions to ensure that the product backlog is well-maintained, prioritized, and ready for upcoming sprints.
  • Documentation - document requirements using user stories with acceptance criteria.

The agile business analyst must also be flexible enough to take on responsibilities of other agile team members such as the roles of: product owner, scrum master, and tester.

While most of the traditional business analysis skills are very much applicable in an agile environment, to transition to an agile business analyst role the practitioner should:

  • Learn and adopt lean and agile principles, practices, and most importantly, mindset.
  • Familiarize themselves with agile methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming, and the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).
  • Understand the basics of a Scrum team such as its key roles such as product owner, scrum master, and product manager and it’s ceremonies including daily stand-ups, print planning, sprint reviews, and retrospectives.
  • Adopt common artifacts used in agile methodologies such as product backlog, epics, user stories, and acceptance criteria.
  • Familiarize themselves with agile tools such as Jira, Azure DevOps, and VersionOne.

So, what is an agile business analyst? In summary, an agile business analyst plays a crucial role in ensuring that the development team delivers value to the customer by aligning the work with business goals, fostering collaboration, and adapting to changing requirements throughout the agile development process.

What are your thoughts?



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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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