In defense of business analysis

There has been much written about the role of a Business Analyst on agile teams recently. Some gently “question” the need for a BA. Others are outright hostile calling a BA “an additional monkey that’ll have to be subdued and sedated as your project moves on and the rest of your team starts doing some real work”.

I try to keep an open-mind when it comes to debates (I do love a good debate! Probably more than I should). But when I read such articles, try as I might, I come to the same conclusions. Either:

  • They have a narrow view of what “agile” is
  • They don’t really “get” what a BA does

Or both.

I can list a number of reasons why a BA is essential to the success of a project, be it in an agile or waterfall environment. But there are others, far more eloquent and knowledgeable than I, who have written about it:

The Agile Manifesto itself seems to be taking a direct swipe at Business Analysts when it talks about valuing “working software over comprehensive documentation”and “customer collaboration over contract negotiation.” Somehow, Business Analysts have ended up as a proxy for everything bad about the “Waterfall” development method…

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