Launching our Lean Business Analysis Manifesto

Explore Assurity 30 September 2015

At the recent AgileNZ Conference in Wellington, National Service Lead for Lean Business Analysis Luke Johnstone announced the Assurity Lean Business Analysis Manifesto during his presentation on ‘Why Traditional BA Practices Are a Blocker to an Agile Transformation’.

When developing the Lean Business Analysis Manifesto, Luke and team drew on their experiences of Agile Transformations as BA’s, as well as their experiences of working as BA’s following the Christchurch earthquakes. Naturally, there was a need for working at speed, with a minimum of waste due to the urgency and criticality of the situation.

They quickly learned that ‘traditional’ Business Analysis was a blocker, not an enabler when fast decision-making and rapid change was needed.

Characterising traditional Business Analysis by the following, Luke highlights that he once considered them as ‘best practice’ prior to the team developing the Lean Business Analysis Manifesto:

  • Doing all the analysis upfront
  • Writing verbose requirements documents
  • Conducting endless walkthroughs, reviews and sign off of Business Analysis artefacts
  • Baselining and freezing of requirements, long before development of the requirements commences
  • Handing over requirements to the delivery team and then leaving the team to it
  • Communicating only via documents

 “I used to think I’d be guaranteed of success if I did them. But I realised they would prevent success, especially when working in an Agile environment or when fast decision-making is required” says Luke.

“This really hit home during the initial response and early recovery phase following the Christchurch earthquakes. We worked on some very important projects for agencies playing a vital role in the initial response and early recovery phase such as SCIRT and CERA. Working at LINZ, we were tasked with providing recovery agencies, private construction firms and infrastructure service providers with visibility of the horizontal and vertical construction activity – both current and planned – to identify opportunities for collaboration and to mitigate the effects of clashing projects.

“We were working in a dynamic environment with people who had no tolerance for waste. So we had to deliver fast and deliver something that had never been produced before. We decided to use Scrum as our development framework and, out of necessity, had to come up with a new way of doing Business Analysis. The result was a tremendously successful product that resulted in many millions of dollars in cost avoidance”.

As the urgency of the situation lessened and more clients adopted Agile frameworks, it became increasingly clear that clients wanted to continue working in the most efficient manner possible – to realise value sooner and reduce costs.

“We had the opportunity to reflect on what we had learnt and to change. We needed to rethink how we provided our Business Analysis service – and that’s when we came up with the Lean Business Analysis Manifesto.

“Like the Agile Manifesto, the purpose of our Manifesto is to guide and encourage preferred behaviours. We aren’t saying that Traditional BA practices are all bad, they just need to be used with consideration”.

Find out more about our Lean Business Analysis service and the Lean Business Analysis Manifesto. For further background, watch the video of Luke’s presentation at AgileNZConference on YouTube and see his presentation on SlideShare.