The Agile IT Business Analyst as Mediator

The Agile IT Business Analyst as Mediator

The Agile IT Business Analyst as Mediator

In the past, advancements in information technology (IT) typically were a topic of discussion among high-level developers, project managers, and analysts. Analysts documented large complex requirements documents that sometimes took years to produce. It was difficult for systems development projects to adjust these documents to evolving needs and new priorities. This process is changing the Government’s broad adoption of Agile to deliver mission-critical software quickly to users.

Agile is a framework in which product owners organize high-level requirements into smaller, related pieces to create a portion of a system, software, or application that teams can develop, demo, and test quickly. The Agile framework is more adaptable to project changes and impediments than traditional software development methods, allowing all stakeholders to observe the adjustments and provide feedback throughout the process.

As Agile has changed the way that software is developed, the role of the business analyst has shifted to that of a mediator. The analyst works with both stakeholders and developers to discover how developers can plan for and support the business needs of a project. This requires skills in facilitation, communication, and empathy.

Agile IT business analysts must meet with stakeholders and developers simultaneously to understand both sides of the process – requirements and programming. Business analysts must be multi-skilled, and be able to test changes, present demos of the product, and train users.  Often, their responsibilities also require a high understanding of programming and coding.

Many Federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have adopted the use of Agile. This allows the Government to create, update, and deliver IT products in a quicker and more efficient manner. However, there still seems to be a scarcity of trained Agile IT business analysts, especially in the public sector.

As Agile appears to be the way of the future in Government and business, the need for well-educated and experienced Agile IT business analysts who are true facilitators and consultants is critical. DHS should actively hire Agile experts as coaches and provide training in Agile methods to their current business analysts.

In doing so, DHS will enjoy long-term cost savings and be better prepared to meet Federal IT requirements and needs. This means better systems for the users to address mission needs more quickly.

Contributors

Laura Gulledge | Laura is currently a Change Analyst and Consultant with a background in state government policy administration, program management, process improvement and business analysis. She is a leader amongst her team in embracing Arc Aspicio’s company culture and has a passion for communications, relationship building, and teamwork.

Confessions of a Chief Strategy Officer

Confessions of a Chief Strategy Officer

I’ll admit it, I was a little smug. After more than 20 years in the consulting business helping clients develop, implement, and integrate their strategies, I thought… “how hard could it be to do the same things for my own company – a company of consultants?” I had the commitment of my leadership, a group of talented people, and a plan and resources to grow the company. We had energy and we had a great process and tools to successful. What could go wrong?

Exploring Trends in Strategic Workforce Planning (Attract, Engage, and Retain)

Exploring Trends in Strategic Workforce Planning (Attract, Engage, and Retain)

Federal agencies have been undergoing significant transformation, requiring effective workforce strategies that can assist them in facing increasing challenges. As government leaders look for and implement initiatives to improve performance, Strategic Workforce Planning, (SWP) has become instrumental in assisting organizations to focus on their most important resource: their people

#Innovate Your Heart Out: We See an Innovation Day in Your Future

#Innovate Your Heart Out: We See an Innovation Day in Your Future

Innovation is difficult to harness for organizations of all sizes (Government and private sector alike). Replicating a process to encourage and produce innovation is even more challenging. Innovating in a structured space and time seems counter-intuitive, and begs the question: can thinking outside the box be a structured activity? Arc Aspicio recently held an Innovation Day to answer this question.

A Unified Brand Helps Serve a Complex Mission

A Unified Brand Helps Serve a Complex Mission

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created in 2003, undertook the most significant reorganization of federal agencies since the Cold War. It brought together federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies with a focus on securing the U.S. from threats in a collaborative way. DHS pulls together five complex mission areas: preventing terrorism and enhancing security; managing our borders; administering immigration laws; securing cyberspace; and ensuring disaster resilience.

Towards Preparedness and an Emergency Management Workforce of the Future

Towards Preparedness and an Emergency Management Workforce of the Future

Grit and determination. This is what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) workforce is known for. After what is arguably the most challenging year in its history, the FEMA leadership called on the agency to enable the workforce through four elements: build, empower, sustain, and train. A key factor in creating a scalable, sustainable disaster response workforce is to foster a proactive culture, one focused on preparedness. A proactive mindset can create an environment that asks the “what if” questions that lead to more prepared response efforts.