Business analysts play an important role. Traditionally, they act as the link between the business units and IT and help to discover the user needs and the solution to address them and specify requirements.
Lately a debate has been ongoing that what is the role of a Business Analyst in companies that have adopted SCRUM and is the word BA dead in the agile world. The answer to it is a big “NO”
With changing times, the role of a BA has definitely evolved and changed. Nevertheless, we can identify some of the analyst’s key functions as:
- Needs assessments
All these functions are essential in both traditional and agile environments.
The scrum team basically consists of 3 main roles:
- Product owner -The product owner has responsibility for deciding what work will be done.
- Scrum Master – The Scrum Master acts as a servant leader, helping the team and the organization make the best use of Scrum.
- Development team members – The development team builds the product incrementally, in a series of short time periods called sprints
Often a business analyst role is confused with that of a Product owner and does the question pops up that should a BA be part of the scrum team. The two roles obviously overlaps but they are quite distinct in context to their responsibilities.
Often BAs feel that their skills are undervalued in agile development team and if they are unable to come up with a proper and immediate requirement they are being criticised. After all, couldn’t the Scrum team just ask the business directly? Frequently the answer to that is no.
To whom would the developers direct their enquiry? How the communication would be facilitated and also how the differing answers of various stakeholders be put together into requirements to create a value for the business is where a BA steps in.
Business Analysts also serves as the bridge between the stories, the requirements and the task list.. They also help in settings roadmaps and once the roadmaps are set, Business Analyst will help keep the team – including managers, developers, users and other analysts – focused on the end-game through retrospectives. Thus a BA definitely fits into a Scrum team.
The need for quality analysis in a world of increasing change and technical complexity is very high. The BA title though not used within a Scrum team is valid but to paraphrase Mark Twain-“Reports of the BA’s death are greatly exaggerated.”