Business Analysts in Scrum

What should you do with those business analysts now that you’re practicing Scrum? The Scrum guide makes no mention of them and as such you may be wondering where they go. Here is some advice:

TL;DR

  • Integrate BAs into Development Team
  • Recruit them into a PO SWOT team
  • Ask them to evangelize the product
  • Offer a role shift or a career transition 😉

Business Analyst is the new Developer

Some BA’s may do very well taking on the Development Team member role. If they were involved in constructing/gathering a requirement they could verify/test that a solution is fit for purpose. Before that, they could pair or mob during the actual coding to guide an implementation of a feature to be fit for purpose with great efficiency. They could also help produce any artifacts e.g. documentation that are part of the Definition of “Done” for a Product Backlog item. Remember, just because you can’t program (yet) doesn’t mean you can’t be a developer in Scrum :D.

Product Owner SWOT Team

A Product Owner needs support to do their job well. Consider recruiting some of those analysts into a team dedicated to finding new value for the product, constructing product experiments (read: new features that get verified scientifically), scouting out competitor threats, and in general provide marketplace analysis. A product owner well supported in this way makes decisions scientifically. Without it, the PO may be left gazing into a crystal ball for predictions. In short, you want Isaac Newton not Nostradamus. Slide deck credit goes to Mark Noneman and Madison Henry Group.

The Power of [Product] Compels You!

Even the best products may need a bit of talking up. This is not advertising per se but rather advocacy. They could produce documentation artifacts e.g. blog updates, how to articles, video demo’s, or interact directly with customers who are having trouble using or understanding the product. Really any such thing that is necessary for a product or feature to be well utilized.

So What Would You Say…Ya Do Here?

If it’s unclear that they are bringing value in their current role, calmly assure them that their position is safe but their role isn’t. Kindly ask them to consider one of the above roles or collaborate with them to create a new way they can either assist or be part of a Scrum team. If they don’t budge, it may be time to assist them with a career transition if you catch my drift.

jknight

Jason is a developer, Scrum Master, writer, teacher, aspiring agile coach, husband, father, and community leader out of Tulsa Oklahoma. He's been delivering software since 2007 and absolutely loves the values and principles of agility especially as given form by the Scrum framework.