If you’ve not seen my announcement on LinkedIn, I have been very busy developing a course called Preparing for the Agile Analysis Certification Exam. It has been published on the Udemy platform, so it is available to everyone. This is a self-paced version of the course I have taught to Business Analysts across the US in association with the Bluegrass chapter of IIBA.
This covers the entirety of the Agile Extension to the BABOK Guide with over 3-1/2 hours of videos and several quizzes. The quizzes are intended to help foster the “Agile Mindset” and help you grow in understanding of the concepts presented in the Agile Extension.
If you are interested in learning more about Agile, becoming certified as an Agile Analyst, are curious about whether there is a career path for Agile Analysts, or just need some ideas on how to improve your projects – this is a great course to cover everything.
Coming into Delivery, the Strategy
has identified a need to be met, and the Initiative Horizon has identified a
solution and its features. When working as an Analyst in the Delivery horizon,
the key is to expend the least effort to discover information and support
informed decisions about the solution.
I’m sure you realize it is not easy.
It requires a great understanding of what information is useful for decisions
on the solution, as well as how to find quickly, and present it in a timely,
Someone introduced me to the concept
of “Planned Spontaneity” That is where the person has things set up so
that if they want to go on various kinds of excursions, they always have bags
and supplies packed and ready to go. It takes a lot of planning to be
spontaneous. Or, as Rod Stewart used to sing, “Her adlibbed lines were well-rehearsed.”
So when this “Challenge” involves the least amount of effort, I think that also consists of a lot of planning to make it happen, so that the work at the time it’s needed is minimal. To do this, the Delivery horizon addresses two questions. First, looking at the unfinished but defined backlog, the Analyst asks what has the highest value. Then the delivery team asks how to deliver value most efficiently, with the least waste.
A Ready Backlog
In the Agile Extension, there is a
discussion of how to know when a requirement is ready, as well as when do you
need to have it available. On the first of these questions, the Extension
talks about “Invest” criteria. For now, we’ll say Invest stands for
“Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Sized Appropriately and
Testable.” I intend to get to the techniques later and will elaborate more at
Whether you are talking about User
Stories or other formats for requirements documentation, the INVEST criteria
work well. The point is that the requirement is well constructed with
Clear and Concise acceptance criteria and is achievable and Desired as shown in
For the second question, sometimes
the requirements should wait and be ready in the near future. Agile suggests
having things prepared for near term development. If something has to wait,
then having it ready now is wasted effort, which takes away from the closer
Additionally, some frameworks offer suggestions for how far ahead to finalize requirements, so that you don’t rewrite the requirements as better understanding surfaces.
Prioritization and Sequencing
The next element of the Delivery Horizon is Maintaining the Backlog. Here we work with the Product Owner to Set priority and sequence to deliver value quickly. The purpose is to support near term development, and the outputs are decomposed features and refined requirements.
The Agile Analyst’s efforts prevent
obstacles in several different ways, such as facilitating a better
understanding of dependencies, coordinating efforts with other groups, and
How do Analysts remove Roadblocks?
This question requires an
understanding of the Analyst’s role versus other leadership roles on the team.
Then, within the Analyst role, what are the roadblocks that can occur.
The first one is a lack of
understanding. If the team does not understand, it will cause churn or will
prevent the story from being worked.
Another is the interrelationship
between features internal to the solution. Without these
interrelationships being understood so that proper sequencing can occur, you
may be trying to develop against something that doesn’t exist. So when
it’s delivered, there’s no way to know if it works. Remember, we’re
delivering working software.
Another is external dependencies,
which are much like what was just discussed.
Ensure Learning Happens
Next, there is Ensuring Learning
Happens in the Agile Context, and in this, we first are talking about
Processes. By Processes, we are talking about how the team works, not how
the process works, or the stakeholders will use whatever is being
The team is observing how well they
are working, and can they work better. These observations include
feedback to the Initiative or Strategy Horizons because they need to know how
to help Delivery better.
The other learning involves the product itself. Constant feedback determines whether the value is being delivered and the expected results met. This feedback may affect prioritization and also other horizons. Here is one of the distinctions between Agile and Waterfall – that feedback from Delivery can affect the other horizons. Waterfall would say, Delivery is the result of planning, so there’s nothing that goes back in time to fix what has been done. Perhaps that’s a bit oversimplified. The Agile Mindset recognizes this project is not performed in a vacuum. The speed of delivery affects resource availability for other initiatives and other needs.
Focus on Vision and Value
Finally, there is Maintaining Focus on the Product Vision, Customer, and Value. The Agile Analyst’s work continually promotes a shared understanding of how the work achieves the vision. Focusing on value means the most valuable things are prioritized and delivered early.