Mindy Bohannon leads off with the idea that the Business Analyst (BA) can do many things, including own products, help with design, and also help with testing. Being a BA allows for a lot of leeway as to what they actually do and when they actually do it.
I've often been curious as to what a BA actually does. They can bring a number of things to the table they can be:
- the Proxy Product Owner
- the User Experience Expert
- the Tester (or one of them)
- the Scrum Master
As well as the more typical roles of:
- Data Analyst
- System Analyst
- Process Analyst
Okay, that's neat and all but for those of us in the back... what is Business Analysis in the first place? BA defines what the need is and then recommends solutions that deliver actual value. They also define and validate the solutions that meet business needs, goals, and objectives.
The core focus of a BA? Communication, working with stakeholders, Facilitating conversations and work needs, prioritizing those needs, and defining/explaining the requirements and how they are implemented. An important skill to be emphasized is the ability to have a flexible mindset. The requirements as defined originally may change, and they may need to change rapidly and frequently. BA's will need to continually assess and adjust based on what they learned, as well as the fact that they may need to operate on more of a Just in Time development model for requirements. In short, Agile requires flexibility and a willingness to work on things up to and including the last responsible moment (and maybe the last irresponsible moment :) ).
The key to note here is that the BA is a much more versatile role than creating requirements. If we have them, leverage them.