How to be an agile business analyst
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How to be an agile business analyst

About the Book

How to be an agile business analyst is about applying your business analysis skills in an agile manner. You’ll still see the term agile business analyst, but the agile here describes how you approach business analysis.

This book helps business analysts be an effective member of a team working in an agile fashion. It explains how to add value to your team and how to apply your business analysis skills. It will help you understand how you can use your business analysis skills to make sure your team builds the right thing.

Read the book to discover the five characteristics of an agile business analyst and how to adopt those characteristics: You are an agile business analyst when you consider your context so that you use appropriate techniques. You are an agile business analyst when you help your team focus on outcomes over outputs and use that outcome to define success and measure progress. You are an agile business analyst when you use tried and true business analysis techniques to build and maintain a shared understanding of the problem your team is trying to solve. You are an agile business analyst when you make sure decisions get made, whether you have the responsibility for deciding or not. You are an agile business analyst when you use short feedback cycles to learn about your users needs and adjust your product accordingly.

How to be an agile business analyst also explains the roles and responsibilities you may experiences and explores the impact an agile approach has on a common business analysis process.

How to be an agile business analyst helps you demonstrate to teams in your organization why they should have you on their team. At the end of the day, isn’t that really what matters?

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    • Agile
    • Product Management
    • Project Management
    • Business Analysis
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About the Author

Kent McDonald
Kent J McDonald

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has IT and product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft as Content Curator at Agile Alliance and provides just in time resources for product owners and business analysts at When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.

About the Contributors

Book cover design

Jeff Rains
Jeff Rains

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Laura Brandenburg
Laura Brandenburg


Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction
    • Whom is this book for?
    • What context does this book apply to?
    • How to use this book
  • Chapter 2 - Agile is a mindset
    • What an agile mindset looks like
    • Adopting an agile mindset
    • Approach business analysis with an agile mindset
    • There’s more to agile than Scrum
    • Analysis is still relevant
    • Agile alone will not get you better, faster, cheaper
    • Writing and slicing user stories is not the whole story
    • Final Thoughts
  • Chapter 3 - What is an agile business analyst
    • Consider context
    • Focus everyone on maximum outcome with minimum output
    • Build and maintain shared understanding
    • Make sure decisions get made
    • Operate in short feedback cycles to learn
    • A recent example
    • One time we can talk about how
  • Chapter 4 - Context: Your Organization’s Strategy
    • Key assumptions about strategy
    • Understand the strategy
    • Use strategy as a filter, not a bucket
    • Explore the continue/change/stop decision regularly
    • An example of using strategy for decisions in a not-for-profit
    • It’s about honest conversations
  • Chapter 5 - Context: Consider your organization’s structure
    • Organizational functions
    • How to organize product people
    • How to structure product teams
  • Chapter 6 - Context: Consider your product
    • Defining internal products
    • Some different contexts
    • Your product is a big part of context
  • Chapter 7 - Context: Customers, users, and stakeholders
    • Customers
    • Users
    • Stakeholders
    • Why it’s important to understand these different perspectives
    • It does depend
  • Chapter 8 - How to Deliver Maximum Outcome with Minimum Output
    • Identify the need to satisfy
    • Define success in a measurable fashion
    • Use outcomes to decide what to do and what not to do
    • Organize your roadmap based on the needs you’re satisfying
  • Chapter 9 - How to Build and Maintain Shared Understanding
    • Feature Injection - from outcome to output to process to input
    • Understand the need
    • Identify options
    • Converge on items
    • Prioritize and select delivery
    • Deliver, reflect, and adapt
    • If You remember nothing else
  • Chapter 10 - How to make sure decisions get made
    • What decisions
    • Who decides
    • When to decide
    • How to decide
    • Evaluating your decision
  • Chapter 11 - How to use short feedback cycles to learn
    • Product feedback
    • Methodology feedback
    • How to learn things when you need to
  • Chapter 12 - The Business Analysis Process Through an Agile Lens
    • Step 1 - Get oriented
    • Step 2 - Discover the primary business objective
    • Step 3 - Define scope
    • Step 4 – Formulate Your business analysis plan
    • Step 5 – Define the detailed requirements
    • Step 6 – Support the technical implementation
    • Step 7 – Help the business implement the solution
    • Step 8 – Assess value created by the solution

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