The modern Business Analyst is no longer ensconced in the traditional role of forming a bridge between two groups – developers and project stakeholders. Instead, as more projects now use the Agile approach, the existing BA needs to understand the various tools, techniques, skills, and knowledge required to make these agile projects successful. Rather than creating a specialized agile business analyst for agile projects, it is nevertheless important for the BA to effect a number of small changes in his/her approach to the job to ensure that each project is a success.
The first step is to have the BA become the communications coach on the project team. While most BAs are not necessarily the most effective communicators in the organization, an agile project represents a good opportunity for them to develop this indispensable skill. To ensure that this new role is a good fit is to incorporate a feedback loop that encourages communication.
The second step is for the BA to rethink the basic approach to an agile project. Rather than continuing to bridge the gap between developers and the project stakeholders, the agile BA should coordinate their meeting and facilitate their face-to-face interaction.
The third step is for the BA to carefully consider the physical organization of the team members before actually creating the project team. For example, will they be located in the same area or dispersed throughout the organization? While there is no right or wrong answer, there are advantages and disadvantages to each scenario and the overall communications role of the agile BA will differ drastically in each.
By taking these steps, the BA will capitalize on the traditional skills set already amassed, while also being more effective in his/her distinct role in an agile project.