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Waterfall to Agile: The Role of BAs in Agile Projects

When BAs Become Agile BAs

Consider the potential confusion that a Business Analyst might feel at the switch from a traditional work environment to an agile one. Previously, the BA would work between the client (documenting requirements and sending them off to the team), but now the environment has moved to agile—how does a traditional BA deal with such a change?

This blog post on Business Analyst Learnings discusses just what the BA’s role is in a new agile model. Not surprisingly, the BA needs to become a bit more flexible with how they approach gaining requirements from the client. BAs need to “observe” the requirements needed and use trail-and-error to determine what is needed before development begins. While this is certainly a change, it’s not the end of the road for the BA:

In a typical organization, not all projects can be performed the “agile” way. That is, not all technology projects involve specifying and building software from scratch.
Software may be bought off-the-shelf or leased in which case, the contribution of business analysis in whatever form is critical. Organisational improvement does not always involve the use of technology. Projects can range from business process improvement, organisational reshuffling to outsourcing – all endeavours in which the role of the BA is critical.  

The New Role of Agile BA

The blog post then explains a few new ways of working that the BA in an agile team needs to embrace, including:

  • Producing and exploring requirements at a different level
  • Identifying missing requirements
  • Working with users to develop acceptance criteria
  • Mentoring developers
  • Assuming the role of product owners
  • Working ahead of the team to gain clarity
  • Standing in for users when they are unavailable
  • Wearing different hats (designer, tester, facilitator)
  • Creating a shared understanding of what a product is supposed to do


To read the full article and to learn the way forward for the BA in an agile team, read the full link:

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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