The Agile Way
By definition, planning fits into a rigid world, where everything is written in advance and each action taken is predefined. On the other hand, agile business analysis seems to leave an important part to a certain improvisation, which, in reality, is perfectly framed. Agile business analysis approach means no dogmatic attitude in detailed designed processes that will trigger every action but a level of flexibility that will allow an incremental development of business analysis activities. For example, in an agile approach, elicitation is performed repeatedly in each iteration throughout the entire project.
The flexibility and the incremental process must be performed with the end point (for the project in general but also at each phase) clearly defined. Adapting to the unstable characteristics of the environment in which business analysis work takes place does not mean that you have to adapt or change your final purpose. Something like that would cause chaos in a sense that the final result would be completely different from what the stakeholders expected.
Agility in business analysis activities is a characteristic which rejects the top-down approach. The Agile mindset can only thrive in environment with a high level of individual and collective maturity and responsibility. It’s the willingness of project management team and the senior executives to allow their business analysis units to implement agile methodologies in certain projects. From my point, the basis in agile philosophy practical implementation is cultivating this culture and these leadership traits that will make human capital feel the necessary commitment, self-motivation and what we call in academic landscape Organizational Citizenship Behavior.
Agility is not only about fast. It’s about working effectively in order not to waste unnecessary assets on the route to complete your project. Agile in no case means to surpass planning but it gives certain levels of flexibility to adjust planning in order to aim to the highest value with the lowest costs.
Some questions to answer before proceeding with an agile approach:
- Are agile techniques appropriate for the specific type of project?
- Do the organizational and industry standards allow an agile approach?
- Are the people aligned with the agile methodology that will be used?
- Are you fully aware of the final products stakeholders’ aspirations?
Explore agile techniques and approaches in the Agile Extension and listen to the podcast, Planning Horizons with Ryland Leyton. In this podcast, Ryland shares his insights to help you understand how these rolling horizons bring together both the big picture and the narrow view of change.
About the Author:
Giorgos Sioutzos works in the business consulting industry as a business analyst. He has experience in projects from different sectors and holds a BSc in Management Science and Technology from Athens University of Economics and Business and MSc in International Business & Management. He has published numerous articles about business and technology issues in Greek and foreign media.