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John P. Reiling, PMP: Agile Business Analysis – or Agile and Business Analysis?

Should you learn “Agile Business Analysis”? Or is it better to learn “Agile PM” and “Business Analysis”, separately. I would argue that the latter choice is better, and here’s why.

To be the most effective, you need to have a solid grounding in the basics. Unfortunately, too much specialization skews your perspective…and I wonder if that’s what “Agile Business Analysis” could do.

Let’s take a closer look at each – Agile and Business Analysis – and analyze what they are all about.

But first, let’s take a look at how they relate to project management. Here is the short version:

  1. Agile Project Management is at its essence merely the compression of project management lifecycles into many smaller sub-projects, all fully executed with the same processes as any larger project.
  2. Business analysis is the part of project management responsible for the requirements in all aspects – defining, documenting, managing, verifying and validating, and testing.

Now, back to Agile and Business Analysis separately.


Agile is all about the ability to move quickly and easily, to take advantage when opportunity presents itself, and to get better results sooner. And although it can be and is applied to software development specifically, it also applies to a whole lot of other things.

Business Analysis

Business Analysis, or, at a more “organic” level, is the idea of analyzing situations for commercial opportunities – new ideas, or better, more efficient ways of delivering old ones. In that sense, business analysis has been around as long as commerce itself…but has just gotten more sophisticated and formalized.

Agile Business Analysis – or Just Business Analysis and Agile?

So it seems that “Agile Business Analysis” is just a new way of re-packaging old things – things that have been around for a long time! I understand that Agile has gained a lot of momentum – and that Business Analysis is a key aspect of it.

However, if you really want to get to know business analysis, are you better off learning it specifically coupled with Agile methods, and as specifically applied to software development? Wouldn’t you then be better off being able to switch between agile and other approach you want, and bring the core best practices of business analysis with you?

Learn agile methodologies and business analysis separately – ideally after building a strong project management skill base. These are foundational skills in the field. Once you master them separately, you can adapt them to any workplace environment or challenges as needed.

This is the ultimate in being agile!

John Reiling, PMP
PM Training Online

See our Agile PM and Business Analysis training to learn moreSpecial Offer through August 31, 2014.

Keywords: Agile, PMI-ACP, ACP, Agile PM, Agile Business Analysis, IT PM, IT PM-ACP


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