BA in an Agile World

Duration: 2 days Date: December 3-4th Location: ___ Categories: , , Tag: N/A


Product Description

Learn how to apply the agile Business Analysis toolkit to agile projects.

This is a hands-on course on implementing the Business Analysis function on an agile project. Working through a case study, you’ll gain a practical understanding of where the Business Analysis function fits into agile and Scrum and the value Business Analysis brings to the team and the business.  You’ll learn how to use your BA skills to shepherd an initiative from the strategic business level down to the ‘weeds’ of requirements trawling and analysis while keeping the team focused on business value. By the end of this course, you’ll have gained practical experience applying the BA function over the course of an agile project using an approach that integrates the best agile Business Analysis practices from Scrum, Lean Startup, Extreme Programming (XP), UML 2.0 and Kanban with some of the most effective agile analysis tools developed in the field.

In this course, you will learn how to perform ‘just in time’, ‘just barely enough’ Business Analysis on an agile project in order to incrementally develop a comprehensive understanding of business goals and requirements. As you and your team work through a case study project, you’ll gain practical experience in how to leverage the BA function and toolkit to help teams overcome some of the most vexing issues that confront agile teams today, including: how to help business owners overcome ‘prioritization phobia’ by guiding them towards an MVP approach to development; how to track dependencies between requirements and development teams; how and when to unbundle epics into manageable User Stories; when to ‘bend’ agile principles; how to apply UML 2.0; how to coordinate development across multiple teams and how to manage supplementary requirements such as non-functional requirements and constraints. You will also learn when and how to create persistent requirements documentation for communication with non-agile teams and for use after the project is over.


In the arguments over agile versus traditional approaches to software development, Business Analysis  (BA) has sometimes been ignored  – as the elimination of a formal BA position is sometimes confused with elimination of the practice of business analysis,  and a reduced emphasis on formal documentation is confused with the remaining need to perform the analysis behind it.  As a result, the product backlog is loaded with items that are noted inconsistently, are difficult to reconcile with over-arching business goals and difficult to estimate and prioritize.  The truth is – agile projects, with their increased emphasis on communication between developers and the business side, depend more heavily than ever on individuals (whatever their job title) who know how to structure their conversations with stakeholders for maximum benefit, individuals who are able to pull the right analysis techniques out of their ‘back pockets’ when they need them.

Many companies have concluded they need to find a way to adopt agile approaches because it guarantees at least minimum functionality in a short period of time, eliminates analysis paralysis, reduces technological risk, and minimizes wasted effort analyzing requirements that may never be implemented due to changing needs. But as teams have tried to implement agile approaches without people trained in agile Business Analysis, they have experienced the following challenges:

  • Difficulty keeping track of constant changes to requirements, additions, and continual reprioritization – especially when there is nobody trained in requirements processes and tools to manage the list

Challenges scaling agile – an approach that emerged from small companies – to large, highly regulated companies and organizations

  • Challenges transitioning the business to an iterative lifecycle, whereby implementation of requirements proceeds in small increments
  • Challenges applying agile – whose roots are in Product Development, where continual updates are made over a long period – to Projects, which have a beginning, an end – and scope, time and resource constraints
  • Challenges fitting significant User Stories into short iterations – resulting in repeated calls for changes to the cadence (iteration length) for the project
  • Challenges creating persistent requirements documentation from agile artifacts.

If you have been experiencing any of the above, or if your organization is relatively new to agile, this course will help you address these issues through training that clarifies exactly which business analysis technique or tool to employ based on the scenario, and how to carry out the BA function so that business interests are addressed and protected throughout the agile life cycle.


  • BAs and BSAs of all levels working on, or interested in working on, agile projects
  • Product Owners (POs) originating from the business side (Product Managers, SMEs) who need to acquire skills in agile requirements management in order to work effectively as POs
  • Proxy Product Owners originating from the IT side (BSAs, etc.) who need to acquire agile analysis skills
  • Product Managers, Program Managers who will be working on or with agile teams
  • Managers of BAs (PMs, BA Leads, etc.)
  • High-level executives


    • Be able to carry out the Business Analysis function on an agile project using an analysis approach that integrates best practices from Scrum, Lean Startup, Extreme Programming (XP), Kanban and Use Case 2.0
    • Be able to stage agile ‘Just In Time’Just Barely Enough’ requirements trawling: Know how much to elicit upfront and when to when to use which agile BA tools over the course of an agile lifecycle
    • Be able to shepherd an initiative from Vision to IT requirements while keeping the value chain intact over an agile project
    • Be able to use a Story Map to guide the timing of requirements analysis and feature rollout over the course of a project – and to help the team visualize dependencies and relationships between User Stories
    • Be able to help business owners overcome the tendency to view all requirements as ‘high priority’ and guide them towards an MVP/MMP (Minimum Viable Product/Minimum Marketable Product) iterative approach to development
    • Be able to integrate Lean Startup principles and practices into the product development lifecycle – from visioning through development to final validation in the marketplace
    • Be able to guide the business in agile planning at various horizons: Strategic, long-term planning; mid-term (next quarter, Release Planning); short-term (next 2-3 weeks)
    • Be able to guide the Customer to make effective choices for the iterative rollout of features in a way that maximizes business value early
    • Be able to help the team track dependencies between requirements
    • Be able to split epics into valuable User Stories by applying the Lawrence Patterns and INVEST guidelines
    • Be able to manage supplementary requirements such as non-functional requirements
    • Know how and when to create persistent documentation from agile artifacts using Use Case 2.0
    • Be able to apply the following agile tools and concepts in an agile context:
      • Lean Startup, MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and MMP (Minimum Marketable Product)
      • User Personas and Scenarios
      • Features
      • Themes
      • Epics and User Stories
      • Iteration/Sprint Goals
      • Functional Spikes
      • Backlog Refinement (Grooming)
      • 3 Amigos Meetings
      • Product Canvas
      • Vision, Objectives and Metrics
      • GO Product Roadmap
      • User Role Modeling Workshop (with Silent Brainstorming)
      • Story Mapping
      • Story Splitting
      • Lawrence Patterns
      • Walking Skeleton
      • Use Case 2.0
      • The Planning Game
      • Planning Poker; Delphi Estimation
      • Rolling Lookahead (Preview) Meeting
      • Kanban Board
      • Cumulative Flow Diagram
      • Funnel Metrics
      • Burndown Chart; Burnup Chart

    Retrospective Games


  1. Lesson 1: Business Analysis in an Agile World – The Value Proposition
    • Agile and Empirical Processes as a ‘fix’ for process challenges
    • Business Analysis as a ‘fix’ for communication challenges
    • The Myth that Agile and BA are incompatible
    • The Agile BA value proposition
    • Mapping BA to agile processes and roles
    • Overview of Agile BA Toolkit

    Lesson 2: Agile Strategic Planning & Product Visioning

    • Strategic Agile BA – Helping the Business Prepare for Agile
      • Expectation management
      • Team reorganization
      • Marketing changes
      • Impact on Human Resources
      • Impact on scope commitment and change management
      • Impact on QA
    • Helping the Business Prepare for Agile – Defining agile norms and artifacts
      • Selecting an agile process
      • Defining the Cadence
      • Defining ‘Done’
    • Creating the Long-Term Plan
      • Agile planning horizons
      • Agile ‘upfront’ planning: Rules of Thumb
      • Agile Strategic Planning and Product Visioning
      • Product Canvas
      • Information Radiator: Tips
      • Tips for crafting a Product Vision
      • Identifying Assumptions
      • Lean Startup and the Product Canvas
      • MVP
      • Leap of Faith Assumptions: Value and Growth Hypotheses
      • Metrics: Actionable vs. Vanity Metrics
      • Facilitation Guidelines

    Lesson 3: Creating a Long-Term Product Road Map

    • Crafting Business Objectives
    • Objectives and Story Themes
    • Stakeholder-centric Features; Features as Stories
    • Definitions: User Stories, Epics
    • Connextra User Story template
    • Agile Estimating at the Feature level
    • Non-functional Requirements and Constraints within agile
    • Planning multiple releases
    • Creating the GO Product Roadmap

    Lesson 4: Planning the Release – Part A

    • ‘Just in Time’ guidelines for agile upfront planning
    • Release Planning Meeting, Agenda
    • Stakeholder analysis
    • Stakeholder Impact/Influence matrix
    • Stakeholder Lists, Roles and Responsibilities
    • Agile User Role Modeling Workshop with Silent Brainstorming
    • User Role Refinement: User attributes
    • User Persona Analysis
    • Agile requirements prioritization and sequencing
    • Planning Game: Rules of the Game, BA tasks
    • Story Mapping
      • Creating the Backbone: User Activities and User Tasks

    Lesson 5: Planning the Release – Part B

    • Creating the ‘Ribs’
      • User Story 3 C’s
      • User Story Card – Format
      • Managing Spikes, Bug Fixes and Technical Tasks as Stories
      • Story Mapping: Map Stories to 1st Iteration (Walking Skeleton, MVP)
      • Lean Startup considerations for Story Mapping
      • MVP process and examples
      • Selecting Stories for the MVP
      • Crafting the Sprint (Iteration) Goal
    • Defining Conditions of Satisfaction (Acceptance Criteria)
      • Rules of Thumb: How many criteria per story?
      • Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) format

    Lesson 6: Estimating and Splitting Stories

    • Agile estimating
      • Negotiate estimates and acceptance criteria concurrently
      • Estimating rules of thumb for User Stories
      • Estimating methods: Ideal Developer Days (IDD), Points, and ‘No Estimating’
      • Velocity
      • Fibonacci
      • Delphi Estimating
    • Story Splitting
      • Adjusting Stories to fit into the iteration
      • Splitting Stories using the INVEST criteria
      • Applying the Lawrence Patterns for Splitting Stories
      • When and how to define Functional Spikes

    Lesson 7: Completing the Story Map

    • Selecting Stories for the remaining iterations
    • Assessing Criticality: Factors to consider

    Lesson 8: Completing the Analysis over the Agile Release Lifecycle

    • Sprint (Iteration) Planning
    • Using the Sprint Goal
    • Sprint Planning Topic 1: What can be done this iteration?
      • ‘Yesterdays’ weather’ guideline
      • Agenda
      • Output
      • Sprint Backlog
      • Kanban Board – with Lean Startup
    • Sprint Planning Topic 2: How will the chosen work get done?
      • Agenda
      • Output
      • Developer Task Board
      • Planning BA Tasks for Functional Spikes
    • Rolling Lookahead (Preview Meeting)
    • Daily Scrum
    • Monitoring progress towards the goal
    • Daily Burndown Chart
    • Cumulative Flow Diagram
    • Requirements Trawling during the Sprint
    • Specifying Behavioral Business Rules in agile: When and how
    • Specifying tests with Test-Driven Development (TDD)
    • Product Backlog Refinement
    • Pruning and Ordering
    • Preparing Items to be Ready
    • Negotiation during 3 Amigos Meetings
    • Cancelling a Sprint: Impact on Stories
    • Sprint Review/Demo:
      • What?
      • BA tasks
      • Tools for gauging progress
      • Burnup vs. Burndown Chart
      • Validating Business Value
      • Split (A/B) testing
      • Funnel Behaviors and Metrics
    • Sprint Retrospective:
      • What? How long? BA tasks
      • Sailboat Game
      • Circles and Soup
    • Hardening (Release) Sprint
      • What? When?
      • Hardening activities
      • Persistent requirements
      • Persisting User Stories as Use Cases with: ‘Use Case 2.0’, Process Models
      • Persistent Constraints and Non-functional Requirements
      • Tracing Requirements to other artifacts
      • Light-weight Agile Tools for Tracing Dependencies
    • Release Retrospective
      • Agenda
      • Lean Startup considerations: Pivot or Persevere
      • Collaborative Games
    • Scaling the Agile BA Process
      • On-line tools for agile requirements management
      • Scaling Teams
      • POs and BAs on large agile projects
      • Scrum of Scrums
      • Scaled Release Planning Meeting: SAFe guidelines
      • Release Open Space
      • Big Room Sprint Planning
    • Further Reading


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