ROLE OF BUSINESS ANALYST IN SCRUM
Six core capabilities of business analyst in an agile scrum:
This involves understanding the current state what needs to change, what expected outcome is and understanding how value is determined.
Analyzing the current stage involves identifying and communicating with key stakeholders in order to understand and define their needs. You get some context by collaborating with the product owner through means of observation and shadowing.
Business analyst may facilitate visioning exercises in order to develop vision statement to determine the goals and benefits, the scope and the impact metrics. Then you continuously analyze new information to understand the expected impact of a vision. Then you brainstorm with a project team to analyze a range of possible solution approaches. Then the impact metrics from the vision statement is used to identify the best overall approach. In this way you can have a thorough understanding of the expected impact of the initiative.
Value Stream Mapping is a common technique used in both Agile aligning practices in order to determine value added and non value added activities in the overall stream.
BA can facilitate a current and future state value stream mapping exercise based on the information required from the previous steps.
Key deliverables from the situation analysis for the agile project will likely include the current and future state value stream maps in addition to the refined business statement.
While the BA facilitates the vision statement, the product owner is essentially considered the author of the business statement.
Plan Business analysis work
Business Analysis activities work in an actual environment are typically planned to align with the Team charter.
The Team Charter is a document created by the agile team to determine the team values, communication processes, agreements, conflict resolution processes, meeting guidelines and operating guidelines.
Agile Business analysis transits from a role into skill set. In most cases agile team requires T-shape learning.
T-shape learning basically means that you have in-depth knowledge of one domain and a high level understanding of a broad range of skills namely testing and light weight development.
Agile Business Analysis utilize Rolling Wave planning as an iterative planning technique where activities and deliverables that are due in the near future are planned in detail, while activities deliverable that are further in the future are planned in higher level and is given in less detail. This is often facilitated through planning workshops.
During initial planning, the project team may develop a high level release plan. This could be facilitated by the business analyst, the product owner, the team-leader, or the scrum master depending on the frame work.
More detailed plan such as upcoming release plans, iteration plans are developed closer towards delivery time. The BA may facilitate the development of the product Roadmap. This is the strategic planning document that communicates overall direction and progress towards the project vision. The document usually includes a vision statement, desired outcomes, themes and high-level requirements.
So the key deliverables for Business Analysis planning for agile project includes the Team charter, a high level release plan and the product road map.
Gather and Elicit Requirements
Gathering requirements for agile projects, genuinely involves collecting the information that is identified during the development of the vision statement and product roadmap. The product owner is initially responsible for communicating the requirements in the form of the product backlog. However Business analysis needed in order to refine the backlog to ensure initial product backlog items are usable for further work.
Eliciting requirements involves decomposing the themes and features in the backlog into smaller stories that can be prioritized. Story decomposition may be facilitated through observation, interviews, or other collaborative methods.
Elicitation is generally iterative. At this point, the Business will work loosely with the product owner or customer to ensure the features, themes and user stories are captured appropriately.
Business Analysis and Product information can be communicated through story mapping.
This helps create the shared understanding of product functionality, workflow, and helps with prioritizing stability.
Story mapping generally includes themes, features, stories, and their ranked priority.
So, key deliverable for Gathering and Eliciting Requirement is generally the product backlog that is decomposed into stories and story map.
Documenting and maintaining Requirements
The initial documentation of requirements may be the responsibility of the product owner, customer representative, or agile business analyst depending on the overall or selective framework in the organization. Agile specifies requirements through light weight documentation. Other widely adapted approaches are job stories and various types of product backlog items. Either approach might be accompanied by supplemental techniques such as Use Cases, Concept model, data models, Process Models or prototypes and mock-ups.
Analyzing requirements in an agile environment involves constantly learning and assessing new information and then reviewing and re prioritizing the backlog to ensure items that deliver the most value and the greatest impact are delivered sooner. Agile Business analysis, product owners work hand in hand during these types of activities. A larger contribution of Business analyst in an agile project would involve Backlog Refinement. Verifying requirements involved ensuring the delivery team can clearly understand the backlog items. This occurs through backlog refinement sessions, which consists of story elaboration for items with higher priority and ensuring stories meet the criteria, have high-level acceptance criteria, and meet the definition of ready prior to being added to the next iteration. Business Analyst helps ensure that the backlog items are refined in preparation for next planning workshop.
Agile requirements also need to be validated. Test cases are usually facilitated through detailed acceptance criteria, which are tested automatically through Behavior Driven Development or manually through user acceptance testing.
Tracing requirement in agile is a light weight effort tracing stories back to epics, features and themes.
Agile change requests and approvals are embedded in agile practices through continuous learning and feedback loops and adapt to new information by constantly re-prioritizing the backlog.
Approval is assumed when the customer allocates a specific story to iteration for delivery.
Key deliverable – A backlog with higher priority items are decomposed and redefined in addition to any supplemental documentation to provide story clarification can also serve as a deliverable.
Supporting solution design and implementation
Story elaboration is the lowest level of story decomposition
Story elaboration is the lowest level of story decomposition and used to facilitate design discussion and detailed acceptance criteria. Agile BAs can help facilitate breaking the stories down into individual pieces of work.
As mentioned earlier agile has are typically cross-functional or T-shaped. So, the BA may be involved in Testing, Development functionalities as well as facilitating feedback loop with the customer.
Business Analysts collaborate with the Team leader or scrum master to help facilitate the next iteration plan.
Monitor and evaluate the solution
Agile development delivers solutions to customers in smaller increments, allowing for greater ability to identify whether or not the functionality delivered is functioning properly and meeting expectations.
Solution evaluation prior to delivery often comes in the form of reviews to allow the development team to elicit feedback from the customer and course correct the solution prior to delivery. The Business Analyst responsible for taking note of requested changes and new requirements to be added to the backlog for prioritization.