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5 Traits of an Effective Business Analyst in Agile Initiatives

Recent global events regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has made organizational transformation a necessity for many organizations. Even before the pandemic, organizations were beginning to embark on transformation – either to improve the enterprise or a specific area within the enterprise. Whether organizations are responding to a problem or taking advantage of an opportunity, there is typically a need to kick-start an initiative to achieve business and organizational transformation.  

As these initiatives are embarked upon, it is vital to develop a good understanding of the business objectives, goals and aspirations. Very often, teams are made up of several roles, including a Business Analyst who assesses the needs of the business, and ensures those needs are taken into consideration in the development of a new solution.  

Many organizations have started to use an Agile approach to carry out their transformative initiatives. Success with Agile initiatives can be measured in different ways. One of the most important is the creation of useable software or product(s) at the end of each cycle or "sprint" which is the term used in Scrum methodology. 

An Agile approach is used to facilitate organizational transformation as they allow the business greater visibility into the new solution, flexibility to make changes through each sprint of the development cycle, and increased productivity of the team. The end-result of this approach provides for higher quality deliverables, which can often meet or exceed the customers' expectations. 

A Business Analyst is often considered a Change Agent. Another big advantage of an Agile approach is that it assists in helping the business adapt to the changing technologies and processes. By working with the Business Analyst, key stakeholders are often involved in working with the solution with every sprint, and will have ongoing input to the solution throughout the process. 

In my experience, a Business Analyst should possess the following 5 traits to be effective and ensure the success of Agile initiatives. 

What are the Key Traits of an Effective Business Analyst in an Agile Initiative?  

 1. Adaptability 

Adaptability plays a key role in being able to adjust quickly to the wants and needs of your stakeholders. An Agile approach leads to changes in requirements. Being able to adjust to these changes is key to being effective as a Business Analyst in this setting. 

 2. Analytical and Critical Thinking 

Analytical and Critical Thinking enables an effective Business Analyst to think through and analyze the requirements carefully, ensuring that the requirements are well defined, verified and validated with business stakeholders. 

3. Organization and Time Management 

Organization and Time Management is vital, because in an Agile setting, iterations are timeboxed, meaning a certain amount of time is allocated for the completion of that piece of work. An effective Business Analyst must be able to manage their time well and organize their work effectively. 

4. Written and Verbal Communication 

Written and Verbal communication are a must. An effective Business Analyst must be able to communicate Business Analysis Information in a clear and concise manner for the accurate understanding of stakeholders. It is the responsibility of the Business Analyst to ensure this information is presented in a format understandable by their audience. 

5. Facilitation skills

An effective Business Analyst in an Agile setting must have good Facilitation skills. Being able to hold an effective meeting, with desired outcomes achieved is key to being successful within an Agile setting. 

When an effective Business Analyst is engaged on an Agile initiative, the value to the team is enormous: the increased flexibility, productivity, and faster turnaround times all lead to higher quality deliverables and high rates of stakeholder engagement and satisfaction. 

 

About the author:

Sunny Udoh is a Senior Consultant with 10+ years of experience in the IT industry as a Senior Business Analyst and a Project Manager. He has been part of numerous large and complex initiatives with Wawanesa Insurance, University of Manitoba and most recently with Solvera client, Shared Health Manitoba.

Sunny is Agile Scrum certified, an IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP), a PMI certified Project Manager (PMP), a certified Programme Manager (MSP), a certified Portfolio Manager (MoP), PRINCE2 certified, ITIL certified, amongst other industry relevant certifications.

Active in the Business Analysis, Project Management and IT communities, Sunny is an Instructor of Business Analysis at the University of Manitoba as well as a mentor to a large group of aspiring Business Analysts across Canada.

For more information, connect with Solvera’s Consulting Services team, please contact us.