Re: Scrum and Business Analysts
- After completing a successful Scrum based development project our
team had a bit of an introspective about how and why Scrum worked
and out of this came some interesting thoughts.
Our organisation is of a similar composition to the one you describe
and we approached the project with a combined business
analyst/project manager, 3 developers with testers and business
domain experts supplied by the client.
One of the problems we identified was the inconsistency in how the
BA (and team in general) was utilised by having the Sprint planning
and analysis starting at the beginning of the Sprint. My blog post
) details this issue and a possible resolution - that of moving the
Sprint planning and initial analysis of the Sprint backlog to mid
way into the previous Sprint.
This allows the team to be better informed about the Sprint backlog
and make a better decision as to what items the team commit to
building in the Sprint. The BA's utilisation is more consistent as
they are busy all the time with 2 weeks of Sprint planning then 2
weeks of clarification and working closely with the development team
and business to resolve any issues.
Another point I must make is that it is all too easy to fall into a
waterfall approach within the Sprint - we fell for this in one of
our Sprints and it was terrible! We quickly identified in the Sprint
review that this should never happen again.
The prime reason I believe that we reverted to a waterfall in the
Sprint was because we poorly planned the Sprint, we had inadequate
analysis and understanding of the Sprint backlog items. This I
believe is a consequence of the pressure to get the team coding and
productive. Once our understanding of the work grew we realised we
had over committed ourselves but by then we were mid Sprint and
under vast pressure to deliver all this work (more as a pride
issue). Testing got pushed to the end of the Sprint as we continued
to code away and as a consequence the overall quality suffered.
So to summarise,
There is a role for BA's and I believe with a small adjustment to
how and when they are utilised they provide good benefits for the
team performance and ability to deliver consistently each Sprint.
I AM advocating the BA's understand the Sprint backlog items prior
to Sprint start at which point the TEAM can make a better judgement
on what they can acheive.
I am NOT advocating changing how you work within the Sprint, this
should remain a highly iterative Code, Test, Refactor affair - avoid
reverting to a waterfall pattern over the Sprint like the plague.
For those people that have responded to your initial question along
the line "start developing or find a new job" I would argue that
developers cannot replace the functions of a BA - and Scrum is about
adapting the best you can to solve a problem...in my experience
having the BA do the initial planning and discovery about the Sprint
backlog items is crucial to a successful Sprint, equally having them
available for the initial two weeks of the Sprint as implementation
starts to help the developer understand in detail what they are
doing is just as vital. I will be blogging about my experience with
Pair Programming - however with a twist, using a BA/Business Domain
Expert (BDE) paired with a developer and my belief that THIS IS THE
MOST EFFICIENT implementation approach possible.
Working for a consultancy does raise these questions as they are
tradionally aligned along fixed roles. Getting BA's to become
developers, developers to become testers and the general crossing of
roles is an adaptive process built on iterative attempts at projects
and inspection that this is right direction to take.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Arvind Sathyamoorthy"
> I work for an organization where we are starting to impletement
> scrum. We had a few of our developers go in for Scrum training and
> they came back with some very useful information.
> Being a business analyst, I have been huting around the web and in
> bookstores as to how a business analyst team would fit into an IT
> organization practicing scrum.
> We have an IT organization that consists of teams of Business
> Analysts, Developers, QA folks, Project Managers and Business
> I understand that scrum reccomends that the same person wear
> multiple hats, but that is really not possible here.
> In the past I have worked through an organization where we
> implemented XP successfully and integrated BA and QA by putting BA
> iteration ahead of dev and QA one iteration behind Dev. But withinsimultaneously
> scrum everyone stays in the same sprint. The BA, Dev and QA folks.
> So how could all three groups work within the same PB
> without someone having a good amount of downtime. Since you reallyyou
> cannot develop before analysis and design is complete, and since
> cannot QA before dev is complete.
- For the record: I am not acknowledging plariarism in XP's Planning Game
(nor am I asserting it in XBreed). I think the entire topic of plagiarism
is bogus, divisive, unproductive and wrong.
My sole mission in entering the Scrum != XP topic was to point out that
there is but one elephant here. It is not productive to choose practices
based on whether or not they are part of Scrum or XP or Crystal.
As for plagiarism,
"Not only does I deny the allegation, I denies the alligator".
You can observe a lot by watching. --Yogi Berra
On Friday, November 12, 2004, at 1:12:37 AM, Mike Beedle wrote:
> Thank you for your honesty and fairness in the acknowledgement of plagiarism
> from the XP community -
> this means a lot to us scrummers, since both, honesty and fairness are part
> of our core values.
> Honesty and fairness make the fertile ground that will allow us to get
> *unity* in the growing
> Agile Community of the future.
> Also, your ability to see from someone else's perspective; and your ability
> to understand "deep issues"
> without bailing out on bogus arguments is what convinced me of your
> leadership abilities.
> I only now get to really know and understand who you are - thank you, you
> have opened my eyes
> to a new level of "understanding",
End quotation from Mike Beedle, on Friday, November 12, 2004, at 1:12:37 AM