Introduction to Agile Business Analyst
Similar to the role of a Business Analyst, the Agile Business Analyst is tasked with the responsibility to assess performance of the organization and at the same time help improve processes and systems within an organization while adhering to the Agile practices. The Agile Business Analyst should have deep understanding of the Agile frameworks and concepts such as Scrum, iterative development, incremental delivery, lifecycle of an Agile project and the Agile principles.
According to the AgilePM®, which is a registered trademark of the Agile Business Consortium (previously known as the DSDM Consortium), the Agile Business Analyst is both active in supporting the project-level roles (PLR) and it is also fully integrated with the Solution Development team (SDT). The Agile Business Analyst holds an important role that facilitates and supports the communication between the PLR and SDT, the business analyst needs to ensure that the business needs (typically coming from the PLR) are adequately analysed and effectively communicated to the Solution Development Team in order for them to deliver the “right solution”.
Picture 1: DSDM Project Management Roles and Responsibilities
Being an Agile Business Analyst not only requires the knowledge of Agile practices and excellent communication skills, it also requires expertise in business management models and analysis tools to help an organization assess and understand the business environment. There are many existing analysis tools that can help to analyse the internal and external factors that can affect the business, however, in this article, we will only focus on two analysis tools which are the PESTLE and SWOT analysis.
PESTLE Analysis (External factors)
The PESTLE analysis which is an abbreviation from the 6 factors – Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental. It is usually used as a tool to help the company understand the macro factors that can affect the industry and business environment related to the company. Below are the simple examples of how we can conduct the analysis:
What is the political situation of the country that the business is operating in, how can it affect the industry? And how will it affect the business?
This is to analyse the economic factors that relate to the broader economy such as employment rates, inflation and the general economic health.
Social factors include examples such as the demographic, change of consumer behaviour and lifestyle trends that are important or can affect the industry.
Technology plays an important role in today’s business. The analyst needs to assess how technological factors can impact the industry such as the rapid adoption of automation solutions, cyber threats, technology infrastructure (5G) and many more.
Some of the examples of environmental factors are the carbon footprint, climate change, and natural disasters that could potentially affect the operation of the business.
Any business is legally bound by the rules and regulations of the country in which it is operating in. Thus, proper analysis and understanding of legal factors such as the industry regulation, employment laws, contract laws and others are crucial.
When making important business decisions, the Agile Business Analyst needs to take into consideration the above external business factors that could either negatively or positively impact the company.
SWOT Analysis (Internal and external factors)
The SWOT Analysis, short for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat can be used to assess internal factors (Strengths and Weaknesses) and external factors (Opportunities and Threats) that can affect the business. The table below illustrates how you can list the factors and analyse them objectively.
Picture 2: SWOT Analysis
The column on the left (Strength and Opportunity) are factors that can be HELPFUL for the business objective and the column on the right are those that can be HARMFUL for the business objective. By listing all of the factors, it allows the team to have a holistic view and thus able to develop effective strategies to mitigate those risks coming from the “Harmful” column and develop strategies to utilize the Strengths and Opportunities to help achieve the business goals.
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