What is Agile Business Analysis and How Can it Help Your Organization?
Companies in industries around the world are using agile. Those that do it right are finding a competitive edge. According to the 13th Annual State of Agile Report, Agile adoption is accelerating with 97%* of organizations now practicing agile methods. Implementing agile and working with an agile mindset are mutually reinforcing. Agile business analysis practices have a positive effect on value alignment – for both the customer’s needs and the organizations. Working within fast decision cycles agile business analysis augments your strategy, people, processes, structure and technology to mitigate the risk of failed initiatives and deliver the right outcomes.
In the Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide, developed jointly by IIBA and the Agile Alliance, we are introduced to the three rolling planning horizons – Strategy, Initiatives and Delivery. Using a feedback, learn and decision approach these horizons provide insight on how using them in your work brings together both the big picture and the narrow view of change. As you move through your work you will find this rolling approach allows for rapid and efficient decision making in response to stakeholder needs and market demands while accentuating continuous and collaborative feedback. Agile business analysis focuses on supporting the whole enterprise and the nuances of infusing both business analysis and agile in an organization interwoven at the strategic, tactical and operational planning levels.
Here’s a breakdown of the three planning horizons and how using them can diminish the risk of failed projects when applied to all levels of planning. Using the horizons can help you to prioritize delivery, minimize waste, create better business outcomes and increase value delivered:
STRATEGY - Decisions that impact the entire organization
Business analysis practitioners operating at this horizon support decisions about strategy and the allocation of available resources in support of that strategy. Decisions made at the Strategy Horizon identify the products, services, and initiatives to which the organization allocates resources.
INITIATIVES - Decisions that impact a particular initiative
This horizon supports initiative-based decisions about how to create value with the resources available, as well as better understanding the needs of the stakeholders and the options available.
DELIVERY - Decisions made regarding the delivery of the solution
Operating at this horizon, the business analysis practitioner works with the delivery team to understand how to best break down work, how to deliver and test the value the team is creating, and how to learn quickly from the work the team is doing.
The horizons define customer-oriented, continuous improvements that adapt to market demands and opportunities to advance new lines of business. For more insights on how to use the horizons, listen to the Planning Horizons podcast with Ryland Leyton, CBAP, CSM, who was part of the core team that wrote the Agile Extension v2 and IIBA®-AAC certification.
Agile business analysis can provide a competitive advantage in fast-paced and complex environments. If you want to help your organization better meet customer needs and augment your business analysis capability agile business analysis can help you better define your product and deliver the right outcome for your customers needs. Using the three horizons you can increase your success rate and gain a competitive advantage by accelerating product delivery and gain market share by being the first to market.
*Source: 13th Annual State of Agile Report