Watermark Learning

Webinar Recap: BA Guide to Essential Agile Techniques

Posted on

Going Deeper

Comments on this post are closed.  To see questions and answers about this presentation or to ask you own questions for the author, please visit the Q&A post

In our February 13 webinar presentation, BA Guide to Essential Agile Techniques, we delved into following topics that are essential for an Agile team member with BA skills.

  • Vision
  • Acceptance Criteria
  • Lean Thinking
  • User Stories
  • Epics and Themes

For additional examples and more in-depth presentation, please see the recording of this webinar, now available on-demand.


(Note: While there is no business analysis role in Agile per se, a Team member with BA skills on an Agile project might work with the Product Owner and the Team on tasks such as defining the vision, defining user roles and personas, eliciting requirements from stakeholders and users, writing user stories and acceptance criteria, identifying themes for releases, etc.)

Vision – The Guiding Light

The vision helps set high-level expectations for the stakeholders and the team.   The product vision defines the overall scope of the product. In addition the vision statement becomes the “what we are trying to achieve” statement that the stakeholders refer to throughout the project.

Vision Statement Template

Vision Statement Template

User Stories

Defining User Roles

Vision - user storiesA user role characterizes a type of user and how they interact with the system. For example, if we are creating an appointment scheduler, user roles may include the customer who schedules appointments, the manager who assigns service providers to appointments, the service provider, and so on.

Writing User Stories

Product Backlog features are typically written as user stories that represent tangible increments of business value delivered in each iteration.

A user story is composed of:

  • Role – The user role
  • Goal – What the user is trying to accomplish
  • Motivation – why the user wants to accomplish it / the benefits of achieving the goal

Epics and Themes


Beginning with epics means starting with the big picture, because an epic enables a user to achieve a clearly identified business objective.

Epics are then broken down, not into tasks, but into stories.   So instead of breaking an epic down into a task like “build user interface,” we focus on stories (value increments). For example, a story might be, “As an appointment maker, I can select a service for my appointment…”


Themes are collections of related user stories, themes are typically are selected for a release rather than individual stories. Also called Minimally Marketable Features, each theme provides a discrete set of user-valued functionality.

agile pyramid

From the Agile Extension to the BABOK Guide

Lean Thinking

Keeping your product lean means defining priorities and maximizing the amount of work not done. According to Standish Group Survey, 65% of application features are rarely or never used.  So think simplicity, and prioritize accordingly. What is your Minimum Viable Product?

A good way to prioritize user stories is by using the MoSCoW rules:

  • Must have – features that are fundamental to the system
  • Should have – important, but workarounds exist
  • Could have – can be left out if time runs out
  • Won’t have – desires but won’t be included in this release

Acceptance Criteria

Acceptance criteria for a user story define the way the story should be implemented. Acceptance criteria provide the details behind the user stories. In addition, acceptance criteria must be defined in order for stories to be “ready” to be implemented in an iteration.

Looking for More on this Topic?

Watch the full webinar recording.

Also, be sure to check out our related course offerings!  Click to see upcoming class dates!

Agile Business Analysis

Agile Planning and Estimating

Agile Bootcamp Using Scrum

Comments are closed.

PMI, PMBOK, PMP, CAPM, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, PMI-PBA, The PMI TALENT TRIANGLE and the PMI Talent Triangle logo, and the PMI Registered Education Provider logo are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. BRMP is a registered trademark of Business Relationship Management Institute.