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last update : 12/02/2016

Agile for Business Analysts: Driving out requirements, managing expectations



Agile for Business Analysts Background

Agile software development relies on collaboration, teamwork and active stakeholder participation. Many business and IT professionals slip naturally into effective ways of working in agile teams, others — especially business stakeholders used to a project governance approach based on document sign off, or IT professionals coming from a structured methods background — find the transition less straightforward. In this workshop we offer practical support for business analysts, both those new to the role and those with previous experience, who want to understand the way agile methods will affect their role and accelerate their learning.


Benefits of attending this training course

This workshop – the second in our series of compact, one-day Agile Essentials courses – looks at Agile from a business analyst’s perspective. The workshop is delivered in participative style with many short interactive exercises based on real-world situations. Agile evangelists sometimes get bogged down in theory, and tend to over-complicate; in this workshop, the emphasis is very much on ‘what works’.


The workshop is relevant to new-to-projects business analysts; to experienced project teams members moving into business analysis from a development or test background; and to experienced business analysts coming from a ‘structured methods’ background, with ISEB, Prince2 or similar training / practical experience.


By the end of this workshop delegates will be able formulate their own answers to the following frequently-asked questions:

  • What type of project is an agile approach suited to?
  • How do I prepare a Business Case for an agile project, where the requirements are not defined ‘up front’?
  • What is the role of a business analyst on an agile project? Does it overlap with developer? test analyst? user?
  • How is requirements gathering different? Do I still need to produce a functional specification?
  • How do we know when we are finished? What about getting ‘sign off’?
  • How can we estimate accurately when requirement are evolving?
  • What are the common issues and risks I will need to deal with?


Topics Covered in Agile for business Analysts

What is Agile?

  • Evolution of Agile
  • Agile principles
  • Popular current Agile methodologies
  • Waterfall vs. Agile – similarities and differences


Where does Agile work well?

  • Project type, size, criticality
  • Corporate culture and ethos
  • People considerations


The Agile Project Team

  • Typical Agile team structure
  • The role of the Business Analyst
  • User engagement
  • The role of the Product Owner
  • Business Analyst as ‘proxy’ user
  • Potential overlap with the role of the Test Analyst


Requirements gathering

  • Engaging with the customer – building customer involvement
  • Approaches to agile software development
  • Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD)
  • Using the Scrum Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog
  • Prioritisation – MoSCoW vs. forced ranking
  • Documenting requirements
  • User Stories: Epics and Feature
  • Reviews and demonstrations
  • Mini-waterfall vs. ‘true’ Agile (and everywhere in between)
  • The use of Kanban boards and other agile tools



  • When, and what, to estimate
  • Estimating techniques


Transitioning to Agile

  • Preparing for change
  • The first agile project
  • Common issues faced by business analysts — and how to overcome them



Who should attend?

  • Team roles on an Agile project
  • Business Analysts
  • Project Managers
  • Programme Managers
  • IT Directors
  • Software Development Managers
  • Software Managers


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