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.

LeadersNest Names Lynn Ann Casey a FedFem Award Honoree

LeadersNest Names Lynn Ann Casey a FedFem Award Honoree

Washington, DC, October 19, 2018 — LeadersNest named Arc Aspicio CEO Lynn Ann Casey a FedFem Award Honoree. The FedFem awards salute high-impact women executives and leaders of the government contracting community. FedFem Award Honorees blend their entrepreneurial courage and Federal government support that effectively impacts the industry, national economy, and the local marketplace. 

Boosting the Mission: Developing Acquisition Requirements Guidance

Boosting the Mission: Developing Acquisition Requirements Guidance

To keep up with the fast pace of change in the field of Government acquisitions, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components are developing their own acquisition requirements (AR) policies. However, without specific timeframes to finalize these policies, DHS agencies often lack guidance on how to develop ARs. Among DHS agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard is leading the way with their own formal policy to describe this process. To compliment the U.S. Coast Guard’s policy, DHS created the Joint Requirements Integration and Management System (JRIMS) to offer direction for agencies—to review, validate, and suggest solutions for capability gaps and requirements.

Top Qualities of Design Thinking Leaders

Top Qualities of Design Thinking Leaders

Design Thinking is on the rise in the business world. Design Thinking leaders focus on creating the best product for their clients and working with the experiences and insight of fellow coworkers. Some of the key characteristics of Design Thinking leaders present themselves in individuals who are open and subject themselves to vulnerability with clients and coworkers. These qualities help leaders to connect and build relationships with others. They also create an open flow of communication that allows for others to better share their knowledge to align with and understand the company's mission.

Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications

Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications

I spent the early years of my career in the United States Navy as a Naval Flight Officer on the E-2C Hawkeye, the Navy’s aircraft carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Command and Control platform. The various missions of the aircraft demand that aircrew monitor up to ten radio frequencies, and actively speak on three or four of those, at any given moment in flight.

How Can Communities Ready Themselves for a Major Power Grid Event?

How Can Communities Ready Themselves for a Major Power Grid Event?

Communities are often the foundation for an expedited recovery following major events. But how can communities strengthen their response to, for example, a major cyber-attack or natural event, such as an Electronic Magnetic Pulse solar flare? A United States electrical grid failure could destroy a number of the nation’s high voltage transformers causing widespread outages for several weeks, even months. A public health emergency could quickly ensue particularly among the vulnerable as the ripple effects cause significant societal disruption. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) strategic plan encourages and empowers communities to prepare for the inevitable impacts of future disasters. How can communities prime for major events?

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?