Agile Techniques Business Analysis Professionals Should Learn
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In 2020, the use of agile business techniques increased. Currently, at least 71 percent of companies are implementing agile techniques, according to Go Remotely. “Agile adoption has helped 98% of companies,” a contributor explained. “The US government has lost $32 billion as a result of failed IT projects. 60% of companies experience growth in profits after adopting an Agile approach.”
Business analysis professionals can add value to every project they work on by learning key agile techniques and committing to continue their education about agile frameworks and tools. Learning agile techniques will also make analysts more effective and marketable in their field.
Agile Technique #1: User Stories
User Stories are powerful. They help the development team share an understanding of the project. A User Story represents a feature of a software system from an external user perspective, per The BA World. A contributor said the format of a User Story is comprised of these three elements:
- As a <User role>
- I want <to do something>
- So that I can <achieve some goal>
The BA World gave an example of a User Story:
- As a <User>
- I want <to search for flight tickets as per my schedule>
- So that I can <…attend a business conference>
Creating a User Story is that simple.
User Stories represent customers’ needs. They are usually “expressed as a small, concise statement of a feature needed to deliver value,” stated IIBA’s Product Ownership Blog Series, Part 4. User Stories are helpful because:
- They keep the Agile team’s focus on customer value
- They are easy to learn and create
- They promote conversation among team members
By mastering User Stories, business analysis professionals can take the first step toward creating a toolbox filled with agile techniques.
Related Reading: IIBA's Product Ownership Analysis Blog Series
Agile Technique #2: Managing the Product Backlog
Managing the Product Backlog is an agile technique every business analysis practitioner should understand. The Product Backlog is a list of items related to the building of a product. The items on the Product Backlog are referred to as Product Backlog Items (PBIs). An effective Product Backlog demonstrates the product development strategy.
There are several ways analysts working in a product ownership capacity can manage the Product Backlog. Here are a few:
- Collaboratively planning PBIs
- Recording, tracking, and prioritizing work items
- Decomposing PBIs into implementable items and tasks
- Demonstrating the delivered and deployed PBIs to stakeholders in order to gather feedback or elicit future PBIs
The Agile Alliance said that the Product Backlog “is the single authoritative source for things that a team works on. That means that nothing gets done that isn’t on (it).” A contributor clarified that the mere presence of a PBI on a Product Backlog doesn’t mean the item will be delivered. “It represents an option the team has for delivering a specific outcome rather than a commitment.”
A lot goes into managing the Product Backlog. Learn more in 10 Tips for Product Owners on Product Backlog Management.
Related Webinar: IIBA Members Watch How Agile Analysis Drives Business Transformation | Fireside Chat with IIBA and Agile Alliance on Thursday, July 8, 2021 | 1:00-2:00PM ET or8:00-9:00PM ET
Specialize in Agile Business Analysis with a Professional Certification
By earning a professional certification in Agile Analysis, business analysis professionals can position themselves to step into roles a wider variety of roles. IIBA’s Agile Analysis Certification strengthens your skills and expertise, focusing on applying an Agile perspective within a business analysis framework. Check out IIBA’s competency-based Agile Analysis Certification to learn more.
Understanding Product Ownership Analysis (POA) is also critical for business analysis professionals who want to master business analysis and product ownership with an Agile mindset. Explore the basics of Product Ownership Analysis, which encompasses agile techniques, by downloading your free copy of the IIBA’s Introduction to Product Ownership Analysis or take a look at IIBA’s Product Ownership Analysis Certification Program.
About The Author:
Tiffani Iacolino is a Product Marketing Manager at IIBA® and has 15+ years of marketing experience across the legal, technology, telecommunications, publishing, media, and professional services industries. She’s passionate about delivering meaningful products and solutions to the business analysis community, including IIBA’s latest offering the Cybersecurity Analysis Learning and Certification Program. Hailing from the Greater Toronto Area, she enjoys an amazing cup of coffee, running, and yoga -- between chasing her two adorable children!