I am still a BA. I mostly work in Agile Teams or coach Agile Teams now and have found that there is a lack of Analytical thinking skills in some of the teams I work with. This is caused either by the lack of people in the team who have analysis as a core skill or worse, no one in the team with any previous experience in analysis at all, including the product owner.
When I look at the User Story and the Acceptance Criteria the "six honest serving men" jump out at me right away. Take a look at the picture below and see what I mean. Right there is the first 3 of the 6 serving men, who is this for, and thewhat do they want as well as the why. All right there in the Mike Cohn User Story format. This immediately allows me to choose the right analytical thinking tool for the job such as, stakeholder analysis or root cause analysis and so on.
Then for capturing the the details we have the when, where and how that can be exposed in the Acceptance Criteria for the user story. Answering questions such as when can payment be made? Where can the transfer occur from? These produce the tests and validations of the user story detail that is needed.
In Lean software development we have this principle of building quality in as early as possible. Surely then we need to make sure our User Stories are good enough, in a state of 'Ready' before we pull them into the sprint or onto the Kanban board. They don't need to be perfect but, just remember that rubbish in rubbish out.
The tools to do analytical thinking haven't changed, just when and how we apply them have. Everyone on an Agile team should have the basic skills of analytical thinking. That way we optimize as a whole (another lean principle) and maximize on the number of people who can help the product owner create and make ready the user stories for what we will build next.
Be excellent to each other :)
By Nick Foard
Agile Coach/CSM/Business Analyst/CSPO