Agile Business Analysis

A Collaborative Approach to Discovering Software Features

Most Agile approaches focus on product delivery, assuming that a prioritised 'backlog' of product features is already available to drive development activities. However, many Agile approaches are rather vague about how the Product Backlog is initially populated with required features.

Coupled with this is uncertainty about the role of the Business Analyst in an Agile approach. It is clear that the traditional specification-driven approach to business analysis will not work with Agile approach but many teams struggle to find an alternative.

This course clarifies one of the least understood aspects of Agile by teaching a comprehensive set of 'discovery' techniques that complement Agile 'delivery' approaches such as Srum and Kanban.

At the end of the course, participants will have a clear understanding of how to apply a collaborative approach to business analysis that clarifies the role of a Business Analyst in an Agile team.

Course Features

  • Incorporates the IIBA's agile framework as described in the Agile Extension to the BABOK Guide.
  • The centre piece of the course is the Agile Discovery Canvas which provides a simple, collaborative tool for guiding and Agile approach to business analysis.
  • The course is suitable for organisations considering adopting agile techniques, business analysts joining an agile team for the first time and existing agile team members.
  • Taught by a certified Scrum Master.
  • Shows how business analysis can be added to Scrum without creating a "Scrum-But".
  • Emphasises a collaborative approach to business analysis.
  • Requires no prior knowledge of Scrum or agile techniques.

Participant Benefits

  • Presents a toolbox of business analysis techniques that reinforce agile principles.
  • Develops the skills Business Analysts require to become productive members of agile teams.
  • Presents a dogma-free perspective of business analysis in an agile environment.
  • Dispels many myths and misunderstandings concerning business analysis and the agile approach.
  • Gives participants the knowledge required to fully evaluate an agile approach to business analysis.

Who Should Attend

  • Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Scrum Team Members
  • Business Analysts, Business Systems Analysts, Systems Analysts, Functional Analysts
  • Software Development Managers, Software Engineers, Software Developers, Requirements Engineers, Requirements Analysts
  • Test Managers, Test Engineers, Testers, Quality Assurance Staff
  • Project Sponsors, Project managers, Program Managers
  • Chief Information Officers (CIO), Executives, Enterprise Architects

Course Duration

  • Available as a 2 day instructor led workshop or as a facilitated remote learning program.

Course Agenda

Agile Software Development

  • Problems with the waterfall life cycle model
    • The rise and fall of waterfall
    • Product vs. project life cycles
  • Problems with requirements
    • Traditional requirements elicitation
    • Emergent requirements
    • Requirements discovery
    • Shared understanding
  • Agile software development
    • Comparing waterfall and agile
    • The Agile Manifesto
  • Introduction to Scrum
    • Scrum workflow
    • Scrum cadences
    • Delivery cycles
    • Scrum and estimating
    • Scrum sprint tasks
    • Scrum roles

Agile Business Analysis

  • IIBA's Agile Extension to the BABOK Guide
  • Dual track discovery and delivery
  • What is a Product Owner?
  • Discovering requirements
  • Agile business analysis and the role of the Business Analyst
    • Business Analyst and the Product Owner
      • Acting
      • Proxy
      • Assisting
      • Coaching
    • Business Analyst as a stakeholder proxy
    • Business Analyst and the Scrum Team
  • Agile business analysis techniques
    • Backlog management
    • Brainstorming
    • Canvasses and visual templates
    • Workshops and collaborative games
    • Stakeholder, list, map or persona
    • User stories

Discovery Framework

  • Requirements and the dual track approach
  • The Requirements Discovery Canvas
    • Prompting the team to consider fundamental requirements questions
    • Providing a visual template for organising what they discover
    • Populating the canvas during workshops and collaborative games
    • Tools for working with the canvas remotely

Identifying Stakeholders

  • The 'MACROSCOPE' tool for identifying stakeholders
  • An 'onion' model of stakeholders
  • Empathy Maps and Personas
  • Analysing stakeholders
    • Identifying the Product Owner
    • Identifying subject matter experts
    • Other stakeholders
  • Stakeholder involvement vs. stakeholder commitment
  • Adding Stakeholders to the Requirements Discovery Canvas

Defining Objectives

  • Identifying strategic needs
    • Higher value strategic needs vs. lower value operational needs
    • Extending 'SWOT' analysis to identify strategic needs
    • Adding 'BREAK' to identify required actions
    • Adding 'SIM' to identify strategic needs
  • Developing a Solution Vision
    • The Elevator Pitch template
    • The Product Box collaborative game
  • Adding strategic needs and the Solution Vision to the Requirements Discovery Canvas

Defining Business Scope

  • Human activity and the Activity Triangle
    • Actors and actions
    • Objects and outcomes
    • The role of tools
  • A hierarchy of activities
    • Mission and capabilities
    • Goals and tasks
    • Scenarios and steps
  • Collaborative activity modelling
    • Brainstorming activities
    • Grouping tasks into capabilities
    • Consolidating stakeholder perspectives
    • Defining business scope
  • Adding activities to the Requirements Discovery Canvas
  • Business Capabilities
    • Rewording activities as capabilities
    • Developing a Capability Heat Map

Analysing Business Needs

  • Identifying operational business needs
    • Identifying information needs
    • Identifying business rules
  • Concept maps
  • Using a concept maps to identify
    • Information requirements
    • Business rules
  • Developing a shared understanding of business needs
  • Adding business needs to the Requirements Discovery Canvas
  • Performing a gap analysis
    • Using the Dot Voting collaborative game to identify 'gaps'
      • New elements
      • Changed elements
      • Retired elements

Defining the Solution

  • Identifying solution features
    • Summarising stakeholders, activities and business needs with the activity triangle
    • What is a software feature?
      • Internal feature
      • External feature
      • Constraints
    • Adding features to the activity triangle
    • Defining constraints
  • The Product Backlog
    • What is a Product Backlog?
    • Refining Product Backlogs using 'DEEP'
      • Detailed appropriately
      • Emergent
      • Estimated
      • Prioritised
    • Describing Backlog Items
      • Natural language
      • Use case diagrams
      • User stories
  • User stories
    • User story cards
    • Referencing physical cards in backlog management tools
    • The three 'Cs' of user stories
      • Card
      • Conversation
      • Confirmation
    • 'INVEST' and the quality of user stories
    • Decomposing stories to achieve appropriate size
    • Epic stories
    • Adding user stories to the Requirements Discovery Canvas
  • Identifying solution components and interfaces
    • Solution components, system interfaces and APIs
    • User interfaces
    • Architecture proof of concept

Delivery Framework

  • Revisiting the Scrum life cycle
  • Scrum planning levels
    • Sprint
    • Next sprint
    • Current release
    • Next release
  • Sprint planning
    • Part 1 - prioritising the Product Backlog
    • Part 2 - estimating the Sprint Backlog
  • Elaborating the product backlog
  • Product backlog refinement
  • Daily Scrum Meeting
    • Burndown Chart
    • Scrum Board
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective