How Agile & Lean Practices Affect Business Analysts

Over the last decade, organizations and businesses around the world have adopted agile/lean development practices, relying on self-organizing, cross-functional teams with the capacity to embrace continuous improvement and adopt a flexible response to change.

As explained by Lean Enterprise Institute, “The core idea behind lean principles is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. Simply, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources. A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to increase this continuously. The ultimate goal is to create value for the customer through a perfect value creation process with zero waste.”

Arguably, the very essence of the agile development process is adaptability. Business analysts can demonstrate adaptability by moving away from being mediators between stakeholders and developers to becoming communication mentors on project teams. Depending on the available communication options, BAs may mentor developers on business analysis skills, mentor project stakeholders on development skills, help to build bonds between developers and stakeholders by organizing joint sessions, sharing knowledge and adding value to project discussions.

Agile BAs are responsible for solving business problems. Developers in some cases, are too preoccupied with software problems to pay attention to the bigger picture. Stakeholders, on the other hand, know what their needs are, but can seldom come up with concrete and actionable plans of how to solve them. Skilled business analysts can change the direction of the agile development cycle by proposing innovative solutions that solve the right problem at the right time, thereby moving the project closer to a successful completion.

How to Become a Master Agile Analyst

It goes without saying that agile BAs should know and understand the principles and practices of agile inside and out, especially since businesses are integrating agile practices.

Agile business analysts should also master agile modelling techniques and learn how to use different analysis models to quickly produce clear and precise requirements. These requirements should then be approached with a testing mindset, which is, after all, inseparable from the agile philosophy. See Techniques Every Agile BA Should Know About - Part 1


The role of business analysts can be aligned with agile practices in a way that benefits everyone involved. BAs who have been recently thrust in an agile environment should familiarize themselves with the principles and practices of agile, and go the extra mile to develop competencies that go beyond what is expected of them on traditional or waterfall-based projects.