10 Steps to Becoming an Agile Business Analyst (Part 2)

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10 proven approaches for transitioning from a traditional business analyst role to an Agile business analyst role (Part 2 of 2) The first 5 steps to becoming an Agile Business analyst were outlined in part 1 of this article. Now, part 2 of this article provides you with five more tips for becoming a successful Agile Business Analyst.

Step 6: Be an Expert Communicator

Everything about the Agile business analyst role depends upon effective communication with business users, development team members, management, and executives to understand their needs and to act as a liaison across all parties. You should be equally comfortable speaking with stakeholders at both a big picture level and at a very detailed level, depending on what the situation requires.

In your traditional business analyst role, you will have already learned the importance of making people comfortable enough at the start of the project to discuss their needs and their concerns without reservation. As an Agile business analyst, your role is to encourage ongoing communication between the cross-functional business areas and project team members to increase the relevance, usability, quality, and acceptance of delivered solutions. This includes expertly navigating face-to-face meetings as well as remote sessions where teams are distributed across multiple offices, regions, and countries.

Step 7: Hone Your Negotiation Skills

With any software solution, it is inevitable there will be disparities between the requirements identified across stakeholders and business areas, as well as disconnects in the discussion of those requirements with the development team. In some cases, these disparities can be resolved by encouraging greater communication between the parties. In other cases, they represent genuinely conflicting requirements (or conflicting priorities assigned to requested features). An effective Agile business analyst is able to work with all involved parties to come to a reasonable middle ground that serves the best interests of the project, the cross-functional areas and the organization overall. This is often a combination of clarification and compromise, which requires you to have both strong diplomatic and strong communication skills to be achieved effectively.

Step 8: Be Flexible

In Agile environments, team members need to be prepared to take on any role required to progress the project. Usually, this is a short-term activity, for example, asking developers to assist in urgently testing data migrations or writing newly requested user documentation. For some projects, particularly those with small teams, the need to take on multiple roles is an ongoing requirement to compensate for the limited availability (or skill sets) of team members. As an Agile business analyst, this is where your intimate understanding of the business requirements becomes especially valuable, as you can effectively help the team in designing user interfaces, system testing, technical writing and user training as the project requires. It is, however, critical that you be flexible enough to take on these roles, even at a moment's notice.

Step 9: Become a Certified Scrum Product Owner

The Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) course is the most commonly recognized qualification for Product Owners. As a business analyst, this course is equally valuable for you to get hands-on experience in identifying, managing and delivering the product requirements for an Agile project. It is highly recommended that you get CSPO certification in preparation for your transition to an Agile business analyst role.

If you would like to expand your knowledge beyond CSPO certification, you may also want to consider the following courses: Agile Business Analysis Certificate, AgileBA Certification and iSQI® Certified Agile Business Analysis (CABA).

Step 10: Have Fun With the New Role

This last step is critical. Agile methods are a refreshing change to software delivery that should be embraced and enjoyed. Instead of being chained to a desk writing stacks of documentation, you have the opportunity to actively engage with the business, to regularly see the tangible outcomes of your analysis, and to influence the ongoing evolution of the delivered solution. Take a moment to absorb the impact of your work and then focus on continually improving the value that you can add to the Agile team.

With these tips in hand, there is nothing stopping you from becoming a world class Agile business analyst. Read up on Agile methods and get ready to change the world!"

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