business analystGreat Agile teams require strong team members who work well together.  The most emphasis in terms of roles within the team is primarily centered around the developers and testers.  Unfortunately the business analyst role is the one that is most overlooked and this often leads to huge issues with the team.  Our Agile team is one of the lucky ones, and I wouldn’t give up our business analyst without a serious fight.  The role of a business analyst is significant.  Here are a just a few of the benefits they help bring to the table:

  • The BA provides clarification in terms of requirements which help the team understand what needs to be built and how it needs to work
  • The BA helps bring the team together and forces collaboration to ensure success
  • The BA is the SME on how the product works and has significant understanding of system complexity
  • The BA understands the cross-dependencies with other products or systems that it interfaces with
  • The BA provides organization in terms of the stories and how they are broken down into smaller pieces
  • The BA performs a lot of research and shares that knowledge with the Agile team
  • The BA acts as the voice of the team when working with other Agile teams within the organization

In my mind, the business analyst is the “glue” that holds the team together.  Words like collaboration, communication, requirements, roadblocks, and dependencies should help define what your business analyst does.  If you take any of those words away, your Agile team will not be successful and you will struggle at every turn.  If your team is struggling, then you need to see if you are missing the business analyst role or if your business analyst is not as strong as they should be.  On our team it took a few sprints for the business analyst to find their role and start adding value with their expertise.  Once that was in place, the Agile team gained significant traction and has never looked back!

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