Business Analysis Agility
Better business analysis for traditional and agile projects 

Business Analysis

Business analysis is changing – for the better. Whether you work in a traditional environment, or as part of an agile team, your business analysis approach today can be more flexible, more nimble, more effective, more focused on solving the right problem and delivering real value. 

Despite all our technological advances, our biggest problem is still the human one: How to ensure you know your customer’s real problem, and how to ensure that your solution is correctly solving that problem. 

Business analysis agility means using an adaptable approach to challenge assumptions, to make better use of feedback, to iterate, to use more flexible tools, and to understand the customers’ value when discovering their real, underlying needs. For it is only by addressing the right needs and solving the right problem can you deliver real value to your customer and your sponsor.

This course gives you a different approach to business analysis. This one provides a business analysis framework that works regardless of whether you are part of an agile environment and need to provide stories for iterative development, or whether you are in a traditional environment and need to produce a requirements specification suitable for more formalized environments and outsourcing.

This course gives you a vision of the modern business analyst, one who understands the role is much more than writing requirements.

Learning Objectives

By attending this two-day course, you will learn:

  • How to discover your customer segments 
  • How to know what they value 
  • How to write a value proposition that clarifies the intention of the business change 
  • How to discover the real problem
  • How to ensure your solution solves the right problem 
  • How safe-to-fail probes can establish that your solution delivers value 
  • How to find more innovative solutions 
  • How to see the bigger picture of business processes and business needs
  • How to make use of continuous feedback
  • How to respond to changes in the world
  • How to determine the best way to improve your client’s business 
  • How to be a better business analyst

Who Should Attend?

Business analysis is a universal task, but it normally falls to skilled people with a job title such as:
  • Business Analyst
  • Product Owner
  • Systems Analyst
  • Project Leader
  • Requirements Engineer
  • Product or Program Manager
  • . . or similar job titles

We also find Business Stakeholders, Users and Software Customers benefit from learning advanced  business analysis techniques, and how they can contribute to the organisation’s wellbeing. 

Special Features 

'Very good explanations when questions aired.  Lots of real life examples too.' — Claire Pearson, Business Process Analyst, AQA

  • Teaching chapters are reinforced with hands-on workshops
  • The course is run interactively with lots of opportunity to discuss issues with the instructor, and with other participants
  • You are shown how the course applies to your own work situation
  • Participants receive a copy of Business Analysis and Leadership, edited by Penny Pullan and James Archer
  • Your instructor has real world experience, and is willing to discuss how you can be most effective doing business analysis in your organisation 

What will I learn?

agile Business Analysis
We explore business analysis and show you how you can be more agile, more adaptable in your business analysis activities. 
We take you through a framework for changing the business from its current way of working to the desired future state, and discuss the role of the business analyst in today’s organisations.
Do You Know What Your Customers Value?
Here you identify and prioritise the customer segments. Customer segments are groups of people with the same characteristics, or the same needs. By isolating each segment, you can produce a value proposition for each of them. The value proposition sets down what it is that you must deliver to provide a business solution the satisfies the customers’ business needs. This value proposition is the foundation for what is to follow. 
You also ensure that it is worthwhile to provide value to the customer segments by looking at the value this brings to your organisation. 
Are You Solving the Right Problem?
Having identified the customer segments and what it is they value, the emphasis now shifts to the problem. Simply put, the business problem is how might deliver that value. Your team generate multiple candidate solutions. Rather than stop at one, the team always discover that each subsequent candidate offers some improvement. 
To prove that a candidate is solving the right problem, each one is the subject of a safe to fail probe. This is a quick experiment to determine the viability, the suitability and the outcome of a solution. This outcome is fed back to the customers to ensure that it is solving the problem and that it is the right problem to solve. 
In due course, the probes reveal the best candidate solution to investigate further.
Investigate the Solution Space 
The solution space includes the people, software and devices used to fulfil the needs of the customer segments. When you are investigating this space, you are looking at the necessary business processes, and perhaps building process and data models of them to help with your understanding. You also scope the space so that the team can agree on the extent of the solution. 
The solution involves, and is used by humans, so the investigation studies the culture and characteristics of the people involved in the solution. The investigation is quick, but thorough enough to prevent any nasty surprises for the development team.
Designing the Solution
Anything worthwhile is designed. You now know what your solution does, and you have proved through investigation that it solves the customer’s problem. Now you must make the solution usable and convenient. The designing business analyst uses elements of the problem, the desired impact of the solution, the behaviour of the target customer segments, and the value proposition to craft the best possible solution. 
Any valuable solution will be innovative. This section looks at some innovation techniques, especially in the areas of providing better information, and making the solution more convenient for its users.  
Jack Be Nimble Jack Be Quick
This section reviews the course and points out how by being agile, business analysis can be done quickly. We also look at other aspects of business analysis, how to break down silos, the minimal amount of effective documentation. 
We take a good look at lean thinking, and how the agile business analyst can avoid waste, unevenness and overburden. 
While you can do your business analysis in an agile way, some organisations require a traditional requirements specification – so we show you how to build one from the results of your agile analysis. 

Why Attend?

Our businesses thrive or flounder on the effectiveness of their business processes, both automated and manual. Businesses with good processes provide a better service and are more responsive to their customers. The converse is true.

Business analysis is the craft of enlightened improvement to business systems and processes. Moreover, business analysis gives you ways of identifying the areas where improvement projects will yield the highest value. 

This two-day course in business analysis gives you the skills and tools to discover your client’s real business, and to determine and demonstrate the best ways of improving it.

This course is a natural companion to Mastering the Requirements Process, where we teach the art of requirements writing. The models and understanding from Business Analysis Agility are the foundation for your requirements process. 

Instructors — learning from experience

James Robertson is a consultant, teacher, author, project leader whose area of concern is the requirements for products, and the contribution that good requirements make to successful projects. His work in the area of business analysis and requirements gathering is valued by clients in many parts of the world.

He is co-author of Mastering the Requirements Process (Addison-Wesley 2012), Requirements-Led Project Management (Addison-Wesley 2005), Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies (Dorset House, 2008) and the Volere techniques for requirements.

He is co-author of Mastering the Requirements Process—Third Edition, Getting Requirements Right (Addison-Wesley 2012), Requirements-Led Project Management Addison-Wesley 2005), Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies (Dorset House, 2008) and the Volere techniques for requirements.

He is also a founder of The Atlantic Systems Guild, a think tank known for its innovative systems engineering techniques.

James Archer is a business analyst, consultant, teacher, writer and innovator. James is co-editor and contributing author of Business Analysis and Leadership (Kogan Page, 2014). He identifies the key to great business analysis as an inclusive leadership style, innovative thinking, working collaboratively, to help people discover their real requirements.

James is one of the founders and organisers of the Business Analysis European Conference. In 2009 he was awarded Business Analyst of the Year. He has a Masters with Distinction in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership (Minnov) from City University.

James is an associate of the Atlantic Systems Guild and has contributed to the development of and taught the Volere approach to requirements and business analysis for the last decade.

For more information ...

For information about in-house or public courses, consulting or other services, contact us or your nearest agent.   Scheduled public courses are shown in the Volere events column of the Home page.

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