Hello there! If you’re a Business Analyst involved IT system implementation, you’ll no doubt be aware that agile project delivery is now all the rage.
Imagine trying to start a project and pulling out your waterfall, documentation-heavy methods and tools, and your key stakeholder asks “Why so much documentation? We just need a whiteboard and some post-its! My boss is asking me to go agile and launch something quickly to the business!”
I’ll be honest with you – as a BA today, if you’re not clued into agile terms like “Scrum, Product Backlog, Sprint Retrospectives, increments and MVP” – you’re risking your credibility and career.
But how do you start learning and transitioning to an agile delivery mindset?
If you’re spent years as a BA writing business requirement specifications, use cases, non-functional requirements specifications and the like, it can be tough to switch.
Attending expensive online courses or part-time certifications is an option – but I find that many of them don’t discuss the perspective of a Business Analyst.
On top of that, here are some other common questions I get about Agile Business Analysis:
- Are Business Analysts (and Project Managers) relevant in an agile project?
- How do you transition from waterfall mindset to an agile mindset?
- You’re an IT Professional who has experience in programming in e.g. Java, .NET or technical architecture – how do you become an Agile Business Analyst?
- Does an Agile Business Analyst need to know a lot about the “business”, e.g. industry and domain skills like banking and insurance?
- You’re a Business Analyst familiar with large-scale core system delivery techniques, but you’ve been doing waterfall projects over your career. How do you break into the agile delivery space?
- You’re not in IT (e.g. you may be in Finance or Marketing) and don’t know how to become an Agile BA, or are worried you need to know IT first
- What is my career path as a Agile Business Analyst?
- Are Agile Business Analysts paid well? What’s their average salary?
- Which companies do Agile Business Analysts work for?
- Where are the job opportunities and how do I snag an interview if I have no prior experience as an Agile BA?
- What’s a typical day in the life of an Agile Business Analyst?
Well, all good questions and certainly ones which I hope I can answer for you.
My name is Gary Tan and I’m a management consultant who specializes in IT strategy and system implementations. I’ve been a Business Analyst for 15 years and I’ve seen this industry from a consultant’s perspective and also from my experience working in banks.
Whilst I’m familiar with the waterfall and the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), over the last five years I’ve been engaged in agile project delivery with my clients.
The market is asking for these agile skills and I, for one had to transition from a very waterfall mindset to an agile one.
The questions from many of my juniors who want to become Agile Business Analysts has prompted me to consolidate all my know-how about real-life agile project delivery from a Business Analyst’s perspective into one huge resource – a book entitled “The Agile Business Analyst“.
Inside, I first give you a solid overview of how a Business Analyst can work well in agile project teams – particularly in facilitating discussions about business value, prioritizing the Product Backlog and applying agile BA techniques to create Minimum Viable Products that customers love.
1. What Is the Business Analyst’s Role in Agile?
Many of you think that the Business Analyst role is no longer needed in an agile project team.
You may even be afraid of applying to an “agile” Business Analyst job role or opportunity because you can’t articulate how a BA contributes in an agile team.
After all, in Scrum, there are only three key roles – Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team. Where’s the Business Analyst?
The few statements above could not be further from the truth.
The Business Analyst’s role is absolutely relevant in agile and is in fact critical in facilitating and prioritizing agile work items to create incremental business value.
And that’s where my book comes in. I provide you with a practical, comprehensive overview of how a Business Analyst works in an agile project so you can contribute strongly to any agile opportunity you come across.
My book will help you:
- Understand how a Business Analyst contributes in an agile project team so that your can articulate your value to a potential employer or Project Sponsor.
- Understand the THREE most critical skill sets a Business Analyst must bring to the table so that you can hit the ground running when starting an agile project.
- Understand how Business analysts work on producing dialogue, not documents in agile projects so that you can foster better communication amongst the team members.
- Understand how Agile BAs partner closely to the Product Owner so that work can be prioritized and decomposed into small pieces for quicker business benefit delivery.
- Learn how the Product Owner and the Agile BA are the “Value Managers” of the product, and the THREE key goals they must always keep in mind in developing a product.
- Understand how an Agile BA gets work done by using a THREE high impact collaboration and communication techniques so that requirements are clear and accurate.
- Learn how BAs on Agile teams work partially on work in progress, as well as prepare for the future, so that agile delivery is seamless between sprints.
- Understand how Agile BAs can strategically see the big picture of where the solution is headed, so that everyone has a common vision of what is to be achieved.
- Understand and interpret the four values and 12 principles in the Agile Manifesto from a Business Analyst’s perspective (rather than that of a software developer’s) so that it is clear why BA is so valuable to agile teams.
- Understand why Agile BAs need to give up heavy, document-driven processes for creating software with detailed plans.
- Learn THREE ways to get feedback associated with the actual software rather than feedback on a document.
- Understand how to work with customers and users, get their eyes and hands on working software to quickly evolve requirements with accuracy.
- Learn FIVE secrets on how you can to improve customer collaboration, rather than wrangling about scope and deliverbable negotiation.
- Understand how to let go of detailed plans, Gantt charts and scope tracking; and embrace longer-term agile plans, covering with vision, product roadmaps and release plans.
- Understand the FOUR techniques I use to increase transparency in an agile team, including more frequent stand up discussions that quickly spot risks.
What Agile Concepts Do Business Analysts Need To Know?
An Agile Business Analyst has great career prospects – if you look in the market today, you’ll see many job openings and interesting projects for these roles.
You can also get paid extremely well and meet a lot of new people.
Within a few years, you’ll be ready to be labelled a “Product Owner” or even “Agile & Digital Transformation Lead” – simply because new technology projects rely so much on agile techniques.
Now, to succeed as an Agile Business Analyst, there are some fundamental concepts you do need to understand.
I’m talking about the way the Agile BA thinks and goes about his or her projects.
Their mindset is NOT the same as for traditional Waterfall BAs.
This is so important. If you don’t understand these basic agile mindsets, you may end up saying the wrong things at an interview of being inefficient in your agile project.
If you read my book, you will understand what these basic Agile BA concepts are.
My book will help you:
- Understand Agile Concept #1 – “Increments of Value”, so that as an Agile BA, you bring clarity to diverse requirements and break work into small increments of value.
- Learn about the THREE key considerations when you evaluate each product, feature, or Product Backlog item, so that you provide value to the user.
- Understand that as an Agile BA you need to maximize the amount of work NOT done, so that you eliminate work effort that doesn’t provide value.
- Understand Agile Concept #2 – “The Last Responsible Moment”, so that you gain more flexibility for change during the project.
- Understand that as an Agile BA, you can take advantage of changing conditions and learning to reveal better options, instead of locking the team into early decisions that are hard to reverse.
- Learn how to wrench yourself away from traditional approaches towards more speedy high-value delivery, by avoiding requirements definition early and in bulk.
- Learn that Agile is about avoiding “doing work just in case” and instead focus on “doing work just in time”.
- Understand Agile Concept #3 – “The Minimum viable product (MVP)”, so you build a small, workable version of a product that balances cost, risk, and value.
- Understand how agile teams focus on deploying “just enough”, so that the Product Owner can quickly confirm the product is viable and learn what’s needed next.
- Learn to keep your product small and flexible, so if other priorities becomes more important, the team can pivot to work on other things, while still delivering value with current work.
- Learn about the THREE important ways you can make a Product “minimum viable”, so that you can get the right focus when identifying and prioritizing Product Backlog items.
- Understand exactly how Agile BAs play a role in facilitating and preparing MVP conversations – by using elicitation, analysis and story telling methods.
- Understand Agile Concept #4 – “Experiments”, so that you can get your agile team to quickly get from idea spin mode to action.
- Learn how to craft agile experiments by creating a hypothesis, running the experiment and evaluating the results, so that you can plan more experiments, or move forward with designing and developing a future product.
- Learn about FIVE important metrics an agile team should have in place for the experiment, so that the exercise is quick, cheap, and to the point.
- Understand Agile Concept #5 – “Value Stream”, so that you can organize and deliver around what’s valuable.
- Understand FIVE ways agile teams can value streams to ensure that one part of a solution does not adversely impact other parts.
- Learn how to construct Value Stream analysis as an Agile BA, so that you can a set of concrete steps that deliver value to a customer, end user, or part of the organization.
- Understand Agile Concept #6 – “Outcome-Focused”, so that your agile team works fiercely on valuable outcomes over everything else.
- Learn about my UNIQUE Checklist that will help agile teams ensure that for each iteration, release, and feature, incremental valuable outcomes are delivered.
Agile Business Analyst Techniques
There are many techniques available to the Agile Business Analyst – reading, attending courses, on-the-job experience, etc.
But I find that one of the biggest problems is that agile methodologies are often tuned to the Product Owner, Scrum Master or Development Team.
There is only scattered and adhoc information available to the Business Analyst. You don’t know what you’re reading sometimes because agile as a topic is so vast and so wide.
You need to pick up agile knowledge in a very focused and structured manner.
And that’s where my book comes in. By reading it, you’ll:
- Learn about Agile BA Technique #1 – “Product Decomposition”, so that you can break down a product into smaller, consitutent parts.
- Learn ONE secret that allows you to easily decompose any product into smaller user stories, so as an Agile BA you can get started on sprint work immediately.
- Learn THREE ways to represent product decomposition visually, so that everyone is clear about the scope of a story or the goal for a release or iteration.
- Learn about Agile BA Technique #2 – “Context Techniques”, so that you can show stakeholders the big picture of what the product is supposed to look like.
- Understand the FIVE common diagrams that help Agile BAs depict context, including context diagrams, process models, data flow diagrams, customer journey maps and user story maps.
- Learn why context techniques allow better conversations to happen in agile projects, so that everyone moves towards a common product goal.
- Learn about Agile BA Technique #3 – “User Stories”, so that agile teams understand precisely what they’re building.
- Understand that user stories have a who, a what and a why, so as to accurately depict requirements for agile delivery.
- Learn about the highly effective “Invest Model”, which is an acronym representing Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Small and Testable. I use this approach to help agile teams develop good user stories every time.
- Learn about how Agile BAs can facilitate technical stories, where the who is a piece of technology or something a technical resource needs to do for the product.
- Learn about Agile BA Technique #4 – “Acceptance Criteria”, so that you know precisely whether a user story is working as intended and satisfying the customer.
- Understand the purpose of acceptance criteria, which is to help the team define what success looks like from a user perspective.
- Understand that the Agile BA is plays the main role in generating and documenting acceptance criteria conversations, so that the team has a set of criteria to work with.
- Learn about SEVEN common acceptance criteria scenarios, rules and logic that I always use on my agile projects.
- Learn how to write acceptance criteria for non-functional requirements like security, performance, expected volumes, response time, and thresholds of performance.
- Understand that acceptance criteria can be used to slice or split user stories further, so that you can build more flexibility into organizing the agile items to be delivered.
- Learn About Agile Technique #5 – “User Story Maps”, so that you help the entire team see the “forest through the trees”, by organizing user’s stories in a visual format.
- Learn the ONE key method to create a good user story map visually, so everyone is aligned to set of requirements.
- Understand why story mapping is so powerful in agile, as it helps everyone see how all of the user stories relate.
- Learn About Agile Technique #6 – “Story Slicing and Splitting”, so that you can help the agile team deliver user value in increments.
- Learn to apply a FIVE step checklist so that you avoid breaking down the user story by technical tasks, which are difficult to test and get feedback on.
- Understand THREE solid strategies steps I use to slice stories into smaller parts and spread them out across sprints for delivery.
- Learn About Agile BA Technique #7 – “Lightweight Modeling”, so that as an Agile BA, you apply the lightest approach possible to generate the right dialogue and deliver valuable results.
- Learn how to document only what’s needed, when it’s needed, just in time at the last responsible moment, so that you’re fast and efficient in delivery.
- Understand FOUR ways to quickly do lightweight modeling, via drawings, models, diagrams on whiteboards and flip charts.
- Learn about the top 3 certifications an Agile BA should try to complete so that you can see what part-time certifications you can obtain to help boost your Agile BA skills.
- Understand the 5 critical software programs a Agile BA must master so that you can become a more effective agile practitioner.
- Learn about the FIVE websites you need to learn all about Agile BA techniques so that, just like the pros, you can regularly read just these five websites for agile news and developments – instead of wasting time surfing all over the web.
Agile Business Analyst Jobs
Agile Business Analysts are in hot demand. If you take a quick look at the job classifieds, you can see many job opportunities that come with very generous pay packages too.
The truth is, all major companies out there are executing some sort of technology and digital transformation at any given time.
Financial institutions like banks, insurance companies and other financial services providers (e.g. FinTechs) need Agile Business Analysts who can plan and execute agile delivery. These skill sets are almost always in demand in the job market.
If you’re in the market for a Agile BA job, my book can help you:
- Learn how to break into agile system delivery even if you have no prior experience so that you can package yourself correctly and finally get into this space to start building up your expertise.
- Learn about the salary of Agile BAs in the market so that you can negotiate a better deal for yourself in your next interview.
- Learn what jobs you can apply for as a Agile BA so that you can focus your job hunting efforts on the most suitable and high-paying jobs.
- Learn what companies Agile BAs can join so that you can see what options are available to you if you’re in the market as a Agile BA.
- Learn how to join Top-Tier Consulting Firms as a Agile BA so that you can be part of the prestigious and highly-paid consulting fratenity like McKinsey, Bain and BCG, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, EY, etc.
- Learn how to join Top-Tier Institutions as a Agile BA so that you can finally be part of a prestigious, top-tier firm that pays well.
- Learn what is a standard Agile BA package in Asia so that you can compare and see if you’re getting a good deal when you negotiate salary packages with your Agile BA employer in Asia.
- Understand how to write a solid Agile BA resume so that you can get interviews at the best Agile BA employers you’re applying to.
- Learn about the best companies to join in Asia as a Agile BA so that you can apply to the best Agile BA jobs in Asia.
Agile Business Analyst Career Path
So what does a Agile Business Analyst do over the long term? Does he or she get “stuck in a role”?
In my opinion, far from it. I know Agile Business Analysts who have gone on to become Product Owners, C-level executive or have jumped into business development.
Many of them become “Agile & Digital Transformation Leads” and join large organizations delivery new technology projects via agile.
Others go on to start their own businesses, concentrating on providing advisory on agile methodology to companies.
If you want to understand the medium and long term career prospects of a Agile Business Analyst, my book will help you:
- Learn how to transition from a traditional, waterfall-based BA to Agile BA so you can finally upgrade yourself and enter those hot, exciting new wave & digital technology projects your younger colleagues involved in.
- Understand the prospects of being a Agile BA so that you can greatly increase your chances of finding a job that you love.
- Learn about the pros and cons of being a Agile BA so that you can see whether being a Agile BA is for you.
- Discover a case study of how I learnt Agile techniques after spending a decade as a traditional, waterfall-based BA so that you can understand, in real-world terms, what it takes to become and succeed as a Agile BA.
So What’s A Resource Like This Worth?
If you scour the Internet to find related information about agile domain knowledge, it most certainly will cost you a lot of time.
And you may not even find what you’re looking for – most likely there’s bits and pieces of information here and there which don’t give you a real-world, end-to-end view of banking.
This book is the cumulative result of my 15 years’ expertise in Business Analysis – there is simply NO other resource like it out there. Not even on Amazon – most of the books there are thick textbooks on specific agile delivery topics and don’t reveal much about what it is like being a real-world Agile BA.
A full overview of agile project delivery and how a Business Analyst can best contribute – from facilitating discussions about business value, prioritizing the Product Backlog and applying agile BA techniques to create Minimum Viable Products that customers love.
Once you read it, you can benefit from it almost immediately and start applying that knowledge on your next agile project.
For a limited time only, I am offering The Agile Business Analyst at a price of $12.99. This is an incredible price for gaining all that knowledge about the agile business analysis.
Click “Add to Cart” to get your copy – for a $12.99 investment you’ll receive an immediate download in PDF format.
Since the book is available as a PDF – you can be reading it and discovering all this agile project know-how in a very short time.
My Personal Guarantee To You
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If you don’t think the information in The Agile Business Analysts will give you exactly what you need to forge a career as an Agile Business Analyst, then just contact me within 60 days and I’ll refund your money immediately with no questions asked.
I’m here to help you. I am not interested in accepting your money if you are not satisfied with my product.
Because I want YOU to experience the same happiness, joy and confidence as I did when I finally learnt to carve out a successful Agile Business Analyst career.
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To order your own personal copy, click here and lock in a price of $12.99. I’ll send the PDF book to you right away.
I’m confident you’ll find the information in The Agile Business Analyst extremely helpful in helping you run agile projects successfully.
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And remember – as always I’m here to help you in any way I can. Let me know if you’ve any questions at all.
Wishing you much success,