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An Agile Business Analyst’s Creed (Part One)

April 23, 2009

I have been working on a creed for business analysts in an agile project. The purpose of this is to help guide and give direction to the various business analysts we have working on a number of different teams in our organization. This has not been an easy process nor is it complete. I believe it is important that we follow the agile manifesto http://www.agilemanifesto.org, adapting to the individual and to the organization while still providing direction to encourage improvement.

If we look at the extreme roles from the c2.com wiki http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ExtremeRoles there are a number of places a business analyst could fit: The Customer, The Tester, The Doomsayer and The Manager. Based on my historical knowledge a business analyst will be more than one of these roles and this should be encouraged. Pigeon holing any one person into a clearly defined role assumes that everyone has the same skill set. When creating a creed we must ensure that it does not limit the role(s) the business analyst can perform within the team.

Every company has a different model, a different set of customers and issues that prevent the “ideal” agile management and development scenario. In our organization we have a customer base rather than a customer and a large number of stakeholders each with their own areas of expertise. The business analyst acts as customer proxy and is responsible for gathering information from a number of sources and writing the users stories (though not generating them). The process that we follow is as a result very different then if we had one internal customer that sits at the next desk over. When developing a creed it must be for a specific organization.

It seems clear that the creed needs to be dependent on the organization. It should be general enough to allow the business analyst to fill the best position for them in the team while giving enough direction to guide them towards making working software.

With all that in mind I give you our creed item number one:

A business analyst must be a subject matter expert for all user stories that are in development

By: James Townley

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