What is Agile? The Power of the Agile Business Analyst

What is Agile?

This book extract is taken from the new title by Jamie Lynn Cooke, The Power of the Agile Business Analyst, second edition – 30 surprising ways a business analyst can add value to your Agile development team.

All Agile methodologies share the same basic objectives:


Although there is a broad range of Agile methodologies in the IT industry – from software development and project delivery approaches to strategies for software maintenance – all Agile methodologies share the same basic objectives:

• To replace upfront planning with incremental planning that adapts to the most current information available (‘Apply, Inspect, Adapt’)

• To minimise the impact of changing requirements by providing a low overhead structure to accommodate variations to the originally identified requirements throughout the project

• To build in quality upfront and then relentlessly confirm the integrity of the solution throughout the process

• To address technical risks as early in the process as possible to reduce the potential for cost and time blowouts as the project progresses

• To entrust and empower staff to continuously deliver high business-value outputs

• To provide frequent and continuous business value to the organization by focusing staff on regularly delivering the highest-priority features in the solution as fully functional, fully tested, production-ready capabilities

• To encourage ongoing communication between the business areas and project team members to increase the relevance, usability, quality, and acceptance of delivered solutions

The last two bullet points in this list cannot be emphasised enough. Where traditional waterfall software development projects focus on using extensive upfront documentation to detail user requirements before development work can even begin, Agile approaches rely on shared communication between the development team and the business users throughout the project, with the business users’ highest priority requested features regularly presented to them as fully functional software to confirm whether or not the delivered solution meets their requirements. Some of the most common Agile methodologies (also referred to as ‘Agile methods’) include:

• Iterative strategies for managing software development projects, such as Scrum, Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Feature-Driven Development™ (FDD™), the Rational Unified Process® (RUP®), and the Agile Unified Process (AUP)

• Strategies for optimizing software development work, such as eXtreme Programming (XP™), and Lean Development

• Strategies for managing software development projects, as well as maintenance and support activities, such as Kanban and Scrumban

• Extensions of Agile methods to support large enterprise-wide teams and shared corporate objectives, such as the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®), Scrum of Scrums, Large-Scale Scrum Framework (LeSS), and Nexus These Agile methodologies have been (and continue to be) successfully used by thousands of organisation worldwide, most notably in the US and Europe.

The Power of the Agile Business Analyst, second edition – 30 surprising ways a business analyst can add value to your Agile development team is available to order from ITGP. Get 15% off when you order in June 2018 – enter discount code JULY15 at the checkout.

Free downloadable infographic here: What is Agile?