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Thursday, 21 January 2016 01:48

The Agile Business Analyst

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“It's not the technology that's scary; it's what it does to the relations between people that's scary”

- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Everything Changing:

We are all aware that we are living in a period of unprecedented disruption where everything that we thought as being the status quo, business as usual, is changing rapidly.  Technology ‘disrupts existing markets and value networks, displacing established market leaders and alliances’.  Popular examples are Uber which is challenging the taxi industry model. Then there is AirBnB challenging the accommodation industry model and 3D printing which is challenging the manufacturing model.  

However, in a recent interview Jay Scanlan and Paul Wilmot from McKinsey, posit that unlike a pure play disrupter such as Uber, “our incumbent organizations and our incumbent clients have a broader range of concerns that they need to address. And they have a broader range of customer needs and consumer demands that they want to fulfill.”

Unlike start ups, incumbent organizations hold valuable assets like people, finance and data, etc. Scanlan and Wilmot pose the question as to how incumbents will strategically use these assets to defend themselves against aggressive competition, as digital disrupts their industry.

 

agile cycle 300pxAgile... The New Norm:

In the face of this change, the adoption of Agile approaches to project management is growing.  It is expected that in 2016 the US Federal Government General Services Administration will solicit bids for a number of major agile projects.  This follows the piloting of agile projects last year by 18F, an agile development consulting arm, within General Services Administration.

A recent survey of development and IT professionals, shows that Agile is now the norm. The majority of development teams and projects now embrace the methodology, while pure waterfall approaches are in the minority. The study conducted by HP in 2014 consisted of an online survey of 601 software developers and IT professionals  representing over 600 organisations,  where 400 + described themselves as “pure agile”.

According to Gartner “Digital business will require application leaders to explore development outside of traditional IT and to ensure fast-paced incremental releases in order to be competitive.”  Just as digital transformation is changing role of application leaders such as the CIO, so too it is impacting the role of the Business Analyst (BA) in the private and public sectors.

 

The Agile Business Analyst:

The BA has traditionally embraced the rapids of change much like a canoeist. Using the IIBA Body of Knowledge (BABOK) as both their map and compass, they engage the volatility and uncertainty of change. With an innate capability they navigate successful transits, piloting by their experience and understanding of the different currents and hazards.  

Agile presents great opportunity for the BA.  In the process of connecting people and engendering understanding, improving product quality and increasing customer satisfaction, they have the potential to play many roles, to become the consultant.

A key finding of the HP survey was that the majority of participants agreed that “the primary motivators for Agile adoption are associated with improving team collaboration and increasing software quality and customer satisfaction.”

Becoming increasingly involved in Agile projects and addressing the growth in the variety of concerns of the stakeholder (the Customer) will require that the BA leverage the use of Agile tools.  This technology will enable the BA to help their clients find ways to make Agile work for them.


BABOK  3.0 Reference Model - an Agile Approach:

babok mindmap shotRecently, through a collaboration agreement between International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) and Sparx Systems, a BABOK 3.0 Reference Model has been developed in Enterprise Architect.

This Reference Model provides case studies covering every knowledge area, task and technique in the BABOK Guide. Each case study contains hundreds of examples utilizing diagrams, matrices, charts, documents, and a plethora of tools.  This functionality with many others is combined with the power of Enterprise Architect.

The Reference Model links the BABOK 3.0 to a rich and complete User Guide that provides help and guidance with every aspect of using Enterprise Architect.  Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is the control center supporting real time collaborative Enterprise Architecture planning, building, testing, deployment and communication across all domains and stakeholders.


Enterprise Agile Adoption:

As the constraints of the traditional enterprise architecture approach are replaced by the force of digital convergence and transformation, executives seek agile enterprise architecture approaches and technologies that are fit for purpose.  The tools deployed to manage that architecture are critical to the success of digital transformation.

Detailed descriptions in the Reference Model will teach the Business Analysts how to use the tool to complete tasks and perform techniques including process modeling and requirements management. Videos, slideshows and white papers add to the rich set of guidance that will help BA's become an Agile Business Analyst assisting organizations to become more purposeful in how they choose to adopt Agile.

Seeking customer feedback and quickly improving the product, fuels the success of many disruptive technologies.  This is the approach of Sparx Systems to the ongoing development of Enterprise Architect. As Sparx Systems CEO, Geoff Sparks notes, “Agile development provides a shared and flexible team experience through complete transparency, iterative development and constant feedback - it has been the essential design goal of Enterprise Architect for over a decade and it will remain just as valid today.”

 

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sparxsystems

Sparx Systems


99 Albert Street
Creswick,
Victoria
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Australia
P: +61 3 5345 1140
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Sparx Systems specializes in high performance and scalable visual modeling tools for the planning, design and construction of software intensive systems. A Contributing Member of the Object Management Group (OMG), Sparx Systems is committed to realizing the potential of model-driven development based on open standards. The company’s flagship product, Enterprise Architect, has received numerous accolades since its commercial release in August, 2000. Enterprise Architect is the design tool of choice for over 380,000 registered users world-wide.

Website: community.sparxsystems.com
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