The other day a discussion moved towards the -changing- role of Business Analysts in an Agile environment. I referred to the Business Analysis Manifesto. Created by and for Business Analysts, but never published. I realized I could share it with ‘the world’ and wrap it in blog-paper.
So, this Business Analysis Manifesto is not entirely my own product, but the result of a shared effort of about 35 Business Analysts. In two workshops we did the same exercise at different occasions with a different group. We created this all back in 2012, but I still find it valuable to share.
The Business Analysis Manifesto
We actually created 2 separate manifesto’s. Even, each version itself is a merge of the results of the subgroups we defined in the workshops. In this blog I merged them, and it reads as follows:
Let me share some notes to explain these sentences a bit further.
Business Value over Continuity
The wording of this principle came up after a discussion on delivering fast and improve versus delivering sustainable solutions at once.
Time to Market and Value for Money over Quality and Scope
This principle reflects the importance of time to market in current market conditions. Sometimes we offer quality in the sense of product quality and product features to enable early market introduction. Also, we continu development as long as the investment is worth the expected benefits. This means we are not managing on completing the scope anymore.
Flexibility over Role Dedication
As Business Analysts preferable are part of team, they share the team responsibility to deliver the sprint commitments. At the same time, business analysis activities are no longer the exclusive domain of the Business Analysis. Being flexible and doing every that is needed to perform best as a team counts for the Business Analyst as much as for any other team member.
Connect over Ego
Business Analysis is about connecting the right people together and use their powers. Collecting and sharing information together is where it is all about. Many business analyst possess the broadest overview and deepest knowledge on specific business domains or processes. This is less requested anymore. Make sure that knowledge is shared within a group of people is more important.
Converse and Visualize over Write Specifications
In an Agile environment Business Analysis is a Face2Face game, in contrast to writing down details behind a desk. Having the right conversation, or better, assure that the right conversations take place, and having excellent visualization skills are expected to be in the Business Analysts toolbox.
Be ahead over Follow
Business Analysts are more on the Product Owner side of the game, should be ahead, have a vision, be aware what the (near) future will bring.
Ask Questions over Design Solutions
In an Agile environment where Business Analyst collaborate directly within the team designing the solution itself is considered less important than asking the right question. The Business Analyst will turn focus from How to What and Why.
How to use?
I refer to this manifesto when discussing the …. Business Analysts role. During my coaching assignments and in my trainings. The interpretation of this role is one of the returning questions in my Product Owner trainings. Of course just showing the manifesto is not the way to get it ‘between the ears’. I use it in different exercises, like (work in groups of 3-4 and report back to all):
In your opinion, what is the key principle, and why?
What principle do you miss or is understated in the Business Analysis Manifesto?
Can you give a personal, real-life example of left-side behavior. How would this case look like in a right-side situation?
We had a lot of fun and created a lot of energy in defining these Business Analysis manifesto’s. They turn out to be very useful to explain the expected role of Business Analysts in an Agile environment, and to start people journey in changing their behavior.
* The Business Analysis Manifesto is available in Dutch as well. So if you are tempted to translate it, consider sending me an email instead.