What is Business Analyst Role in Agile ?

by StarAgile

June 25, 2020
Category Agile and Scrum


When you have the analytical skills you feel proud of. With this analytical ability you can understand, visualize and analyze every problem. Yes, this will offer with great scope in project management. You will stay as a backbone in understanding the business, process, product, and organization goal. With all these understanding in-depth you analyze and create documents. 

You guessed it right and this “YOU’ refers to the entire business analyst community who read this blog. The existence of a business analyst is the key to every project. Now, the question that revolves in the mind of the BA is about their future scope. Especially, when they look for a job in an agile environment or when the company migrates to agile methodology. 

Does the business analyst role in agile not exist? Does it have a limited scope? What will the career path look like, etc? These haunting thoughts need to be arrested and that is why we wanted to explain to you in detail about what exactly is the business analyst role in agile.

What exactly is the business analyst role in agile?

A business analyst in general does the following job. The need to understand this is important to know how an agile BA differs from the traditional one. 

  • BA is the owner who makes all decisions concerning the business. They master the system and the product they work upon. This is possible due to the analytical skills they possess.  
  • The business requirements get drilled down by the BA before it is accepted to be worked upon. 
  • They map the process flow, the interaction diagram, etc. 
  • The communication with the customer and other stakeholders back and forth by the BA will lead to a final decision of product development. 

Now, the question is, will this remain the same for a business analyst role in agile? The answer is yes and much more. So there is no need to worry about the existence of the BA role and it is going to be even more challenging and responsible. 

The primary difference in an agile project is how the requirements are managed and communicated. 

The key role of a business analyst in agile

Grooms the product backlog. The product owner prioritizes the backlogs and then handover to the BA for grooming them. 

  • Interact with the customer to analyze their need and find solutions. 
  • Creates user stories with relevant acceptance criteria. 
  • Sometimes PO makes these stories and the BA will review them and confirm that they are in line with the business rules.
  • Discuss with all stakeholders (customer, technical team, and PO) to make sure that there is no gap at any level. 
  • Finally prepares documents including design flow and wireframes. 

From the above pointers, it is clear that the business analyst role in agile is prominent and advanced when compared to a traditional BA. This is because we use terms like product backlog, user story, and acceptance criteria repeatedly in agile projects. Thus, there is a need for the BA to know them to work along with them.

In the below section, we will analyze the role of a BA as a product owner and a team member. This is critical to highlight how a BA finds a place in agile projects. The BA at times can become a product owner himself and many times they just work as a team member as well. What is required to be known to wear these different hats are discussed here for your clarity. 

Business Analyst as Product Owner

Let us first check the business analyst role in agile fits in as a product owner. When this is the situation remember that BA becomes the most powerful as a product owner role and the BA role gets blend as one. 

  • Here we can call this BA as the sole in charge of all queries related to the business, product, and documentation. 
  • The team is on one side and the stakeholders on the other side will travel keeping the BA as the pilot. 
  • The BA will talk to the customer, understand requirements, and document them. 
  • Then the user story is created followed by prioritization. 
  • Later BA discusses the same with the team and educates them on where to start and how to start, etc. 
  • In this situation, the BA must be physically present with the team as there is no separate product owner to the handhold team. 

In a nutshell. This business analyst will have in-depth knowledge of the product. This will lead to the successful development and delivery of the product. 

Business Analyst as Scrum Team Member

Team members playing a business analyst role in agile will have its benefits. This means the team member who understands the requirement, creates documents, and grooms product backlog will as well work on it individually. The technical team will have a sigh of relief as communicating with the BA becomes easy as he/she is part of the product development. There is no need to explain the pain points in this case. 

Role of a BA as a team member 

  • Understands requirement, prepares documentation and grooms backlog 
  • Starts working on the backlog along with the team 
  • For every vaguely written acceptance criteria, this BA will provide a detailed explanation to the team.
  • Offers more information by creating wireframes and flow documents. 
  • It will be part of the customer meeting and sprint discussions. 
  • They are part of the technical team and technical team themselves helping the team to effectively write stories. 
  • It can quickly break down user stories dynamically during the sprints and help the team complete the assigned task. Thus, the product to be shipped gets ready in advance meeting complete quality standards as well. 

Tips for a BA to play a business analyst role in agile

As already mentioned that the BA will take decisions for the product, interact with the team and the customer, there are no many steps involved in becoming a BA for an agile project. However, there are few fine tunings required to get ready as a BA for an agile project while migrating from a traditional environment. Follow these simple tips as well as attend CSPO Certification to master these steps and become a BA for all the upcoming agile projects. 

  1. Do some studies about the agile methodology and understand how it works
  2. Start shadowing the product owner for the few projects without any differences to grasp the role of a product owner in the projects. 
  3. Start thinking in terms of user stories. Product decisions can no longer be taken at the decision-making level but you need to understand story points and their importance. 
  4. Give importance to the business value and start honing your negotiation skills. 
  5. Make effective communications that you already possess but remain flexible. 

Finally, 

An agile mindset is the first step towards moving to a BA for agile projects. Get ready mentally, prepare for the role, and win. Yes, tune your mind and then you will find that things will fall in place at its own pace.