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Business Analysts – Are you Agile?

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Are you an Agile Business Analyst? Are you well-versed in Scrum? If so, congratulations! If not, don’t get left behind! As more and more organizations transition to Agile Scrum, it is crucial for business and project professionals to “be Agile” regardless of their role.

Agile by the Numbers

According to VersionOne’s Annual State of Agile Survey, 88% of organizations practice Agile development, an increase from 80% in 2011. In addition, 30% of survey respondents reported having started using Agile within the last 2 years.

In particular, Scrum is the most popular Agile methodology being implemented, with nearly 75% of respondents using Scrum or a variation of Scrum.

Agile Business Analysts—Do They Exist?

Agile Business AnalysisRemarkably, the VersionOne report illustrates that business analysts are the least knowledgeable about Agile. According to the survey results, business analysts rank dead last in terms of Agile knowledge.

Mark J Owen recently blogged on this same issue, and he suggests that “there is quite an adjustment [for business analysts] to move into a change-driven approach.” In addition, IIBA only recently (2013) published the Agile Extension to the BABOK®. Their delay in publishing best practices may have contributed to the lack of Agile knowledge among BAs.

But Mark argues, and we agree, that there’s no excuse for a business analyst not to become knowledgeable in Agile. As we said earlier, don’t get left behind!

So What’s a BA to Do?

Fortunately, there are a variety of resources and opportunities available to help business analysts bring their Agile skills up to snuff—whether you’re an individual BA or part of an organization that wants to ramp up its BAs Agile skills.

Below are 5 ways to gain and demonstrate Agile skills as a business analyst.

1. Free Resources

Naturally, the first place to start your Agile journey is to familiarize yourself with Agile concepts. A plethora of resources are available on the Scrum Alliance, PMI, and IIBA websites. Some additional resources from around the web include ScrumGuides.org and Scrum.org.

Watermark Learning also offers tons of free Agile articles, blog posts, webinars, and additional resources that can get you started. Check out the webinar Defining to Delivering – Agile Requirements and Planning Processes.

2. Agile Workshops

Workshops provide hands-on experience with Agile that allow you to actively practice skills that you can immediately apply on the job.

Watermark Learning currently offers an Agile workshop created with the business analyst in mind. Our Agile Business Analysis Workshop provides the essential information needed for business analysts to be successful on Agile projects.

(We recommend that those who wish to perform a Scrum Master role should take our Agile Planning and Estimating course.)

3. Skills-Based Certificates

With Watermark Learning’s Agile workshops, you can get an accredited Agile certificate in just 5 days.  Simply pair our Agile Business Analysis Workshop (2 days) with our Agile Boot Camp Using Scrum Workshop (3 days) and you will earn a Certificate in Business Analysis from Auburn University!

4. Industry Certification

Maybe you’re already a CBAP or CCBA, but certification is always a great way to demonstrate mastery of industry knowledge.  Whether you already have a certification or not, you might consider adding the PMI-ACP credential to your signature.  Depending on your role, becoming a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) or Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) may also be useful.   Check out Watermark Learning’s PMI-ACP Cert Prep, Certified Scrum Product Owner, and Certified ScrumMaster courses for more information.

5. Agile Coaching & Mentoring

Agile coaching works well if you have a group that needs to brush up on Agile skills and would like an Agile expert on-site.

Not sure what Agile learning options are right for you?   Watermark Learning’s experienced Training Consultants can help you identify a solution that fits your specific situation. Contact a Training Consultant today!

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