I came across these two great presentations about Agile on the Pathfinder blog, which is something I check from time to time being an Agile development shop in Chicago.
The first slide show is about integrating design in to the Agile process. Something that is not really addressed in the Agile Manifesto, and is something I have posted about before. It is critical area for Agile BA’s to address because the dive in and deliver functional code approach of Agile is great, but can lead to a very haphazard design with no clear vision.
The second one on Writing User Driven Requirements just really helped bring me back again to always thinking about the user. I am certainly prone to thinking about business needs, or developer/technology constraints only, but the user should always stay front and center.
I just read this article in Wired (love that magazine) and it got me all jazzed up and for a few minutes I couldn’t understand why. But then it dawned on me, it taps in to the very reason I sought out the role of Business Analyst even before I knew the role existed.
The article talks about the internet revolution resulting in a “good enuf” or lo-fi mentality. In particular it sites the MP3 revolution of the music industry. Music insiders scoffed at the thought of a lower grade music format when the whole industry had been striving for excellence in this area and was happily wallowing in the superiority of CD quality sound over vinyl. But the MP3 music file turned everything on its head. It tapped into an unknown or at least overlooked critical requirement of the music consumer. Shareability. All of sudden these inferior files were changing the face of music. One of the company’s that first realized this ground shift in user requirements was Apple and I can certainly argue that the very reason I am able to type this blog on my iPhone is because of the success of Apples MP3 business, iTunes and iPod.
This is what fascinates me about the BA role and why it is so important. Without a business focussed technology advocate committed to probing for user requirements the product can just end up being the baby of one of the internal groups, the developers, the designers/marketing or the business. Either way the most important group has been missed, the user. So unless you have someone pushing and asking the right questions you may just be missing an MP3/iPod type game changing product. That is what excites me about the BA role and why I think it is such a fascinating area, especially Agile methodologies and user centered design which I am learning more about now and will blog about soon.