As organisations strive to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment, delivering data projects in an agile fashion is increasingly critical to business success. However, without proper guidance, this delivery approach can quickly become complex and challenging to manage. Traditional business analysts, who typically utilise a waterfall approach to project management, can exacerbate these issues, leading to slower delivery time and inefficient processes.
Instead, organisations need to look for business analysts with experience in agile methodology. In this blog, we’ll explore exactly what role these business analysts play in agile data projects, and how they can successfully deliver solutions that meet your organisation’s requirements. But first, what are the benefits of agile data projects?
The benefits of an agile methodology for data projects
The agile methodology is a project management approach that focuses on delivering a product incrementally through iterative development and continuous feedback. Instead of waiting until the entire project is completed for everything to go live – a due date potentially years in the future – smaller components can be put to use as they are ready, delivering business value faster.
The agile methodology also helps organisations to quickly identify and respond to change, ensuring that their project stays on track. When leveraged properly, this can save your business time, money and frustration. In fact, 70% of organisations that have implemented an agile methodology experience an enhanced ability to manage changing priorities and adapt to evolving business demands.
In summary, the benefits of employing an agile methodology in data projects include:
- Improved flexibility – an agile methodology allows your teams to be more responsive to changes, reducing the time and cost associated with project pivots.
- Faster delivery – the iterative nature of an agile methodology ensures that products are delivered more quickly.
- Better quality – frequent testing and feedback loops improve the quality of the final product.
- Improved collaboration – an agile methodology fosters better collaboration between your team members and stakeholders, resulting in more effective decision-making.
The role of business analysts in agile data projects
Business analysts are critical to the success of any project, but an agile business analyst brings a unique set of skills to the table. They have the ability to facilitate dialogue about customer value with your team while ensuring complete alignment between people, processes, and technology.
This is because business analysts who use the agile methodology are highly adaptable, able to pivot quickly when required, and have strong communication and collaboration skills. Underscored by a strong data-driven backbone, they are also highly analytical and continually look for gaps to fill with the goal of providing the greatest value and impact for both your end-users and customers. Here are some of the key activities where employing an agile business analyst can provide value:
1. Determine product owner priorities
One of the primary roles of a business analyst in an agile data project is to determine your product owner priorities. They work closely with the product owner to understand their requirements and confirm the development team is aligned and focused on the right priorities. By doing so, they ensure that the project is delivered on time, within budget and, most importantly, meets the needs of the end-users.
2. Continual gap analysis and communication
In the ever-changing business environment, even the best-laid plans will inevitably need updating. Thus, another essential feature of business analysts in agile data projects is their ability to provide continual evaluation. They consistently look for opportunities to provide the greatest value and impact for end-users and customers by analysing data, identifying gaps in the project that need to be addressed and actively communicating these changes as seen fit. This allows your team to quickly respond to changes, ensuring that your data project remains on track towards delivering the desired outcome.
3. Scrum ceremonies
An agile business analyst may also be responsible for running regular ‘scrums’. Some of the scrum ceremonies include sprint planning, sprint reviews, daily standups and retrospectives. This is a quick-fire way to ensure the team is aligned and focused on the right priorities. They also help identify any roadblocks that may be hindering the project’s progress and work with the team to address them. In this way, business analyst-led scrums can accelerate initiatives, break down data silos in your business and bring teams together to work collaboratively towards your project goal.
4. Manage fortnightly sprints
Another critical activity of business analysts in agile projects is managing fortnightly sprints. This includes grooming and managing product backlogs and conducting user story estimation and capacity planning. Sprints help to ensure that your project team delivers on time and meets the product owner’s priorities. They are more in-depth examinations whereby business analysts in agile environments continually monitor the progress of the project and make adjustments as needed to ensure that is on track.
5. Active project management
Finally, an agile business analyst is actively involved in project management which involves the ongoing input in capacity planning and estimating user stories. They are responsible for ensuring that the project remains on track and that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals. They continually manage requirements, priorities and stakeholder alignment throughout your data project and work with your teams to identify and address any issues that may arise.
Having strategic and specialised business analysts in your agile data project will improve your organisational data processes and help deliver value quickly and frequently. Their ability to facilitate dialogue about customer value with teams, determine product owner priorities, continually analyse for gaps, and actively manage a data project sets them apart from their traditional counterparts.
At Optivia, our business analysts help design and deliver agile data projects that align with your company’s goals. Thanks to a thorough understanding of both business and data, they can bridge the gap between your technical and strategic operations to deliver greater business value. Find out how our specialised business consulting services can help you access more meaningful insights today.
At Optivia, we’re seasoned experts in improving enterprise operational efficiency. We leverage real-time data to give you access to the right information to help you automate processes and optimise resource management. If you want to streamline your operating environment, build business agility and make data-backed decisions, contact us today.