Building a Business Analysis Center of Excellence (BA COE) in an Agile Organization

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Building a Business Analysis Center of ExcellenceA recent question came up from an organization implementing an agile methodology: What does it mean to put a business analysis (BA) Center of Excellence (BA COE) in an agile organization? Do you still need one? If so, does creating one require different activities?

I do think you can mate a BA COE and an agile environment. And I could argue that it’s even more important to have a BA COE in an agile organization because most BAs are less experienced in agile and therefore need a good set of practices to adopt. They probably need help understanding and explaining what it means to be a BA in an agile environment!

For example, some BAs still think you have to have lots of documentation always and some non-BAs think that BAs can only do just that – heavy requirements documentation. But in fact, there are best practices around doing the right level of requirements documentation in an agile environment. I think that in creating a COE in an agile environment, you need to think about things like:

  • How experienced are the BAs at agile
  • What skills do they have and what skills do they still need
  • How can they acquire those skills?
  • If the organization is new to agile, what from non-agile best practices works and can carry forward
  • Who are the best BAs at agile practices in the organization – make them mentors
  • Can the BAs in the organization serve as product owners in agile (this is very dependent on the organization and the products they are producing)

So yes you can and should still think about building a BA COE in an agile organization. Hopefully the questions above will give you some ideas to consider if you are doing this!

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