I will diverge in this week’s blog about agile before writing Agile and the BA – Part 2. In trying to better understand the intention of agile practices, I thought it best to hear directly from the co-founders of Scrum, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. The most widely implemented of all the agile processes is Scrum. Due to its popularity, Sutherland and Schwaber are frequently asked to speak about their Scrum implementations and lessons learned to large audiences. No surprise here, but neither mentions the role of a BA as an integral part of an agile team. The possible reason is that with Scrum, there are very few roles identified. There are only three specific roles mentioned, the Product Owner, the Scrum Master and then the rest are Scrum team members. As part of a Scrum team, you get to volunteer for project tasks you want to do. Titles and roles don’t really matter, you will, however be accountable for the tasks you commit to complete. Every team member needs to contribute to the project goals and a variety of skills and motivation are far more essential than traditional titles and roles.

Schwaber differentiates Scrum from traditional methodologies and he asserts that Scrum is not prescriptive (Scrum does not describe what you should do in every circumstance). Sutherland and Schwaber admit they did not invent Scrum ideas. Both remind us that Scrum is a framework of best practices, which have been proven for years. Above all, keeping project work collaborative, honest and visible so that the team (and everyone else) knows exactly what is going on is representative of an agile self-organized team. Scrum and other agile processes focus on the practice of inspect and adapt allowing adjustments to be made as needed to keep the project moving toward the desired goals to produce business value with working software. Schwaber said more than once that Agile and Scrum rely on intelligent people doing the right thing at the right time. You can listen to Ken or Jeff talk about Scrum on You Tube. If you are interested in learning more about agile without leaving your desk, there are a number of instructional (and humorous) videos on You Tube about Agile and Scrum. Check it out. Please share your BA experiences on agile projects.

All the best,
Angie

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