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Author: Glenn Brûlé

The Agile Mindset – Are you Ready?

When I think of the Agile Mindset, I can assure you I don’t think of tools, techniques, methods, processes, or ceremonies. I think of people. I think of leveraging the strength of people.

It is unfortunate that many organizations that tag themselves with the prestigious badge of “Agile Transformation” lose site of the values and principles the moment the first project plan is captured and documented in a PowerPoint Presentation deck. 

To really drive home the agile mindset organizations MUST BE the following;


The agile values can be summarized quite simply with the following statement; “if you are spending more time mucking around with Jirra, processes, documentation, contract negotiation or updating a schedule, chances are you are NOT spending enough time with people”.”Yes, his stuff is necessary but it does not leverage the strengths or deal with the daily challenges that teams, managers and executives face.


There are 12 Agile Principles and upon close inspection 8 out of the 12 principles focus on customers & teams – the people doing the work and the people receiving the deliverables.


Satisfy the customer, embrace change for customer competitive advantage, business people and developers must work together daily, build projects around motivated individuals that inspire them to do great things, face to face conversation is the most effective form of communication, maintaining a constant sustainable pace of work is critical for all parties involved, self-organizing teams make awesome stuff, teams learn best by reflection.

Strength Deployment Inventory

The Strength Deployment Inventory is a personality assessment tool that does not focus on behaviour. It focuses on motivational values and as such is the world’s leading best tool to firmly cement into place an Agile Transformation that considers people first.

Consider the following questions:

  1. It’s possible to have a committed and engaged workforce — it starts with productive relationships. You need to know the priorities, strengths and
    performance gaps of your people. But how do you identify these components?
  2. Change is constant in today’s workplace and change communication must focus on engaging people in the process. You need to know what’s important to your employees and how to channel those values to achieve your goals. Want to learn how?
  3. Do you wish your manager or team or work connected with what makes you tick — what motivates you to do really great work?
  4. To improve employee performance, you need to understand your employees. But how do you identify and tap into the needs and preferences of different people? How do you shift behaviors to match individual, team and organizational goals?
  5. Faulty assumptions and misunderstandings happen. You can probably think of a few related to your work right now. Do you know what causes them, as well as how to prevent or eliminate them?

But the most important question to ask is, “What are you doing to answer these questions?” The conversation that results is an opportunity to introduce powerful learning, address your concerns and also establish yourself as an indispensable resource to the leadership team. This translates into a full calendar, packed with consulting, coaching and training work that allows you to do what you love — inspire the best in people and help teams accomplish great things


Business Analysis is the most misunderstood and undersold profession in the world today. If this were untrue, then why are Business Analysts not fetching top dollar on daily rates or annual salaries.

Why are Business Analysts not being invited to the boardroom to ensure strategy drives solutions and in turn requirements drive strategy. Why is it when I speak to Business Analysts they often lack the courage to challenge the link between requirements they seek out, the solution they are told to build and worse than that, why is this not openly shared with them? Why are we not being promoted to Enterprise Architecture Positions, Solution Designers, Chief Innovators and so much more?

The International Institute of Business Analysis has defined business analysis as

“Business analysis is the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders”

You’ll note by this very definition of the defacto global standard that nowhere in it are words relating to stakeholder management, stakeholder engagement, communication or facilitation. While I am of the firm belief that these are critical to the success of the profession, I don’t believe for one moment they are the very fabric by which a BA should be borne of.

Let’s suppose you were Chief Operating Officer for a day. Let’s suppose your sole purpose in life was to increase the overall efficiencies of the organization and by association increase the profitability to shareholders, or in the case of not-for-profits and public agencies, to protect the coveted budget allocation for your practice. Finally let’s suppose you are a firm advocate of quality business analysis practices and within your organization that role has been neglected or minimum budget has been put aside for investing in the profession. What would you do?

Like any executive you’ll likely want to put a business case forward to hire or invest in the BA Practice. Like any good BA you’ll want to be sure that you have examined the current state, define a future state, examine risks and put together a change management program. Then, you’ll want to attach a dollar figure and an expected return on investment.


I can assure you, you’re going to have a very difficult time demonstrating financially that stakeholder engagement and better communication will lead to better requirements and better requirements will lead to less defects and less defects will lead to quality products etc. In fact there are far to many BA’s out there, writing notes on flip charts who don’t have the courage to really engage stakeholders in a productive collaborative manner. As a result stakeholders are disengaged, and BA’s find themselves writing requirements and filling in the blanks based on assumptions. How do we measure that?This only represents a fraction of the deliverables a GREAT BUSINESS ANALYST can produce even when they are great and engage stakeholders.

brule 06092018Your sales pitch might consider this;

“Identification of poor processes, outdated or inadequate business rules ARE going to be identified. If we can define products and services that meet customer demand, or improve processes, and or update business rules, we can therefore increase revenue, profit, brand, compliance and any other facet that would sustain the the business”

The key is to focus on quantitative financial outputs – that is the selling point for investing in great Business Analysts or selling the worth of what we do.

We as Business Analysts need to reverse our thought process and stopping leading our value proposition with “As a great facilitator and manager of stakeholder expectation we can drive better results” and instead lead with “As a great Business Analysts we drive efficiencies, to increase profit margins, identify gaps that need to be addressed to improve compliance and thus avoid costly fines or a decrease in market share. We can increase revenue expectations by identifying the right solution options through great requirements practices”

To ensure that we accurately identify areas of potential financial gain we will engage our stakeholders in a manner that is appropriate given the type of project environment we work in.

Business Analysts – the hard reality is simple – all roads lead to money, and while we stand on the side of the road at a rest stop facilitating great conversations or managing stakeholders the money train is passing us by. Sell the value of our profession on the merits of financial gain, elimination of financial waste, compliance to avoid fines and loss of market share, and or efficiencies in realizing quality requirements.

In short –


– and before you know it, you’ll be invited to the board room to have a cold hard discussion about how you and your team can contribute to the value of your organization.


A 3-D View to Understanding the BABOK

As a business analyst practitioner and facilitator, I often find myself cautioning those individuals who are embarking on certification to pay particular attention to 2 key things when studying for either the CCBA Exam or the CBAP Exam.

  1. Do not read the BABOK from front to back or put another way, do not read it in a linear fashion!
  2. Rely heavily on your experiences and pragmatic approach to business analysis.

Here is how I start off the conversation with BA Certification candidates;

“If you had to choose a Knowledge Area or Task outlined in the BABOK, which one would you start with?”

As you can imagine responses are wide and varied some respond with Strategy Analysis, others with Elicitation and Collaboration while others are adamat that all business analysis activities must start with Planning and Monitoring.

brule 06272018a

The truth is ALL business analysis activities must start with a business need. All business needs must consider validity to the business and feasibility.

The sixty four million dollar question now becomes how do we go about doing this?

The answer quite frankly is not an easy one, and this is where the 3-D approach comes into play.


Consider This Business Analysis Exam Study Tip

In order to understand the business need it is likely we are going to want to engage with stakeholders, this means we would need to a. identify stakeholders and b. conduct some sort of elicitation activity to do so. In order o identify stakeholders we may have to undertake some sort of current state analysis by modeling out the organization or developing a context diagram.

And there you have it! To simply understand the business need we have evoked activities from the Planning and Monitoring Knowledge Area, Eliciation and Collaboration, Strategy Analysis and Requirements Analysis and Design Definition, all these activities have collided together for the sake of on task – understanding the business need, and we have yet to begin to understand what the solution may look like, if in fact it is feasible!

sullivan 06272018b


For exam preparation I would strongly suggest that you consider reviewing the input and output diagrams as this will paint the 3D story of how knowledge areas and tasks are closely inter-related here’s a classic example.

brule 06272018c

Note all tasks that use the output from task 3.1 Plan the Business Analsyis Approach

brule 06272018d

There certainly are a great deal of tasks dependent on the output for task 6.2 Define the future state!

Would you like a copy of a comprehensive map that demonstrates all the relationships between knowledge areas?

Check this Out >>> The New IIBA Business Analysis Core Standard

Yeahbuts & Whatifs

When organisations decide to adopt agile practices the very first point of failure is a clear understanding of language from the top down.

When language and intent of languageis understood, “yeabuts and whatifs” are minimized.

A Scrum Masters Perspective of Adoption Aversion

Here is a list of Agile Adoption Best Practices to consider;

  1. Agile is not a method, framework or life cycle – AGILE is a way of “BEING”
  2. Manifesto – Declaration of intent – the Manifesto consists of 2 elements – VALUES and PRINCIPLES
  3. Values – a set of long lasting beliefs
  4. Principles – “the rules”
  5. Method – “a structured, tried tested and true set of instructions to accomplish a set of tasks.

Agile Language

brule 0524208aThinking about Scrum consider this – there are 3 pillars upon which this light weigh project management METHOD rests.

Scrum Principles – “The rules”

Scrum Aspects – “elements of Scrum to consider”

Scrum Phases & Processes – “The Method”

Principles are non-negotiable and must not be considered as constraints. Every decision we make should be leaned up against the principles and if the principles are to bend or break we must ask ourselves “Are we truly being agile?”

Scrum Principles

brule 05142018bPrinciples are the disciple of scrum. Consider Empirical Process Control and its elements of transparency, inspection and adaptation. When combined with Time-boxing – what we are asking of the team is at regular time-boxed intervals the elements of transparency, inspection and adaptation, must be achieved.

The second tenant of the Scrum Light Weight Project Management method are the aspects. Aspects are NOT iron clad! You and your teams are free to do with them what you want – provided they do not impose upon the principles.


brule 05142018cPerhaps the most popular questions I get when I introduce teams to the Aspects are;

Where is the BA, where is the PM?

Should a BA be a product owner?

How can my PM be the Scrum Master?

Can we combine the role of BA and PM?

The answer hands down is “Absolutely why not” followed by my question;

Will your decision contradict any of the principles?

For example: “Will appointing a project manager prevent teams from being self organizing?”

Another Example – “will implementing your own quality control practices inhibit Iterative Development?”

The final tenant of SCRUM are Phases and Processes, again you are free to do with them what you want, shrink em’ or expand em’ – I promise there are no scrum police that will arrest you for doing otherwise. Before you go changing the processes and phases, once again ask yourself – will our changes contradict the Scrum Principles?


Scrum Phases & Processes

brule 05142018dbrule 05142018ebrule 05142018fYou may be surprised to know that where phases and processes are concerned there are the fewest “Yeahbuts and Whatifs”. Perhaps customers are looking for the structure, the tick boxes and and step by step approach to working better. This concerns me.

Not unlike the aspects Phases and Process to can be massaged in a manner that best reflects an organizations practice. If this is the case – once again I’m going to remind you I’m cool with this, provided you don’t bend the principles.

Scrum is a light weight project management method, it was designed specifically to be light weight, to do just enough to get high quality, high value products and services to our stakeholders.

Asking “yeahbut” and “whatif” should be asked not about aspects, phases and processes, but about how you can work more pragmatically…

“Whatif “we found a more efficient way to engage stakeholders…”yeahbut” would it affect our principles?