Does Agile Software Development do away with Business Analysts?

I’ve been exploring career directions – and I must admit, this question has haunted me for a while. Fearing the answer to be “yes”, I forged ahead, wading through blogs, and meeting with colleagues to find out how they work.

My conclusion: Agile Software Development transforms the role of the Business Analyst.

But this is not surprising – one of the main things that happens when working Agile is a realignment of responsibility with accountability. Customers become responsible to state and prioritize their requirements – and Agile processes hold them accountable for these things. Development teams become wholly responsible for delivering the required functionality – and are held accountable for its quality.

The Business Analyst may find herself floating between these two responsibilities. She must navigate this territory with care – our old way of working often meant taking on accountability from these two groups, a step backward when working Agile. I believe that the BA can become a facilitator – enabling Customers and or Developers to get their jobs done. In some organizations, this role is called “Agile Coach”, and may be played by a BA, a Developer or anyone passionate about enabling the work of the team. While not every team needs a coach, it can be an important role – particularly when newly adopting Agile.

There is a balancing act required to do this… my blog covers a few scenarios derived from discussions with my Toronto colleagues.

A BA not interested in coaching could also retrain as a Developer or move into the Customer camp as a Product Owner or Product Manager. Fear not, there are still many ways to help build great software!


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