Kent McDonald shares his thoughts on what it takes to succeed as a Business Analyst in an Agile environment.

Show Notes

To be successful as a Business Analyst in an Agile environment, you need to apply your same traditional skills and techniques differently.  Kent McDonald characterizes an Agile Business Analyst as those who take on the perspective of product people having the five characteristics below.

  • Understand your context and use that information to determine what kind of techniques to use (and what not to use). The context is the structure of your organization, how the team is organized, and the nature of your product.
  • Focus on figuring out what problem you’re trying to solve and finding ways to solve that problem (your outcome) with the least amount of work (output).  We want to minimize outputs (documents, lines of code, etc.) while maximizing outcomes (the business goals and objectives).
  • Look at the traditional business analysis techniques as a way to build a shared understanding with the team and others with whom you’re working.  Instead of using many of the techniques simply for your own understanding, use them to get the entire team aligned and on the same page.
  • Making sure decisions get made.  If you are the decision maker, you need to make the right decisions at the appropriate time.  Otherwise, help decision makers make timely decisions.
  • Always learning through short feedback cycles and use the feedback to adapt.  Shortening the feedback loop allows you to get input sooner so that you can adjust as needed and build the right solution while minimizing risk.

“It’s not a thing or a methodology, it’s a way you can approach knowledge work.”

Kent McDonald

Being Agile is about solving a problem as quickly as we can (or at least small bits of the problem as quickly as we can) and learning from our experiences and adjusting going forward.

Listen to the full episode for all of Kent’s tips and advice on being successful as a Business Analyst in an Agile environment.


Make sure you have a clear understand of what problem you’re trying to solve. Implementing project X isn’t the problem. What is the underlying problem that project x is intended to solve?

Links mentioned in this episode

How to be an agile business analyst book

Get Kent’s Book and Save 15%

Go to and use coupon code MasteringBA and get 15% off the cover price.

This book helps business analysts be an effective member of a team working in an agile fashion. It explains how to add value to your team and how to apply your business analysis skills. It will help you understand how you can use your business analysis skills to make sure your team builds the right thing.

Kent McDonald

Kent McDonald

Kent McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has IT and product development experience in a variety of industries. Kent is the author of multiple books including Product Ownership in the Wild, Beyond Requirements, and his latest book, How to Be an Agile Business Analyst. He also provides just in time resources for product owners and business analysts at

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