How should we add BA's analysis task to sprint?

Last post 06:52 am December 1, 2021
by Balaji Dhamodaran
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05:00 am November 30, 2021

HI,

First a thank you. As I learn, I keep getting questions and forum members help in resolving those. I have query and I know many of you may not like it.

In our team, business analyst do most of the job of writing user stories, clarifying doubts etc. Before a story is ready it cannot be picked for a next sprint. This means that in current sprint BA also work on items for next sprint. To count all such efforts(efforts to prepare stories for next sprint,analysis etc) of BA, our manager says that BA needs to create stories and add those stories in current sprint. All such stories have nothing to do sprint goal of current sprint, but still we add such stories and their estimates to current sprint. Is this correct? If not , what is best way to track and handle all such efforts in scrum?

 

 

08:35 pm November 30, 2021

Why do you need to track this effort?

Based on the description, it seems like the vast majority of the work of the BA falls into "Product Backlog management", which includes "creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog Items". It can also fall into "Product Backlog refinement", which is "the act of breaking down and further defining Product Backlog items into smaller more precise items".

It doesn't make much sense to put this work on the Product Backlog, since the work of managing and maintaining the Product Backlog does not represent work that "is needed to improve the product". It also doesn't belong in the Sprint Backlog, since it's not the Sprint Goal or a Product Backlog Item selected for the Sprint (since it's not a Product Backlog Item), or part of the plan for delivering the Increment (it's about the backlog, not the product Increment).

The work of Product Backlog management and refinement should be made visible by observing the evolving Product Backlog. I'd want to understand what more is necessary and why before proceeding.

10:51 pm November 30, 2021

You have mentioned in other posts that you are new to the Scrum Framework.  This is a common misunderstanding of people that are in your situation.  The Sprint Backlog is not a time management method.  It will not include an item for everything that a Developer does.  There shouldn't be an item for "Team Meetings" or "PTO".  It is not used to make sure that each Developer has exactly 8 hours of work each day.  It is used to represent what Product Backlog items will be focused on by the Developers in this Sprint.  Since a Product Backlog item is a placeholder that provides insights into the modifications necessary to the Product to keep it viable then you can say that the Sprint Backlog is a collection of items representing work that is needed to keep the product viable that have been picked to be addressed during the current Sprint. 

The work that you mention being done by the Business Analyst is work to clarify the modifications necessary to the product in order to keep it viable.  That work must be done before a Developer can start working to address it.  In this instance your Business Analyst is helping to fulfill the role of Product Owner.  Since the Sprint Backlog is a plan for and by the Developers, there is nothing for you Business Analyst to include. 

The following is the first portion of the Scrum Guide section that describes the Product Owner Role.  (Notice it is a role, not a job description or title). 

The Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.

The Product Owner is also accountable for effective Product Backlog management, which includes:

  • Developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal;

  • Creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog items;

  • Ordering Product Backlog items; and,

  • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is transparent, visible and understood.

The Product Owner may do the above work or may delegate the responsibility to others. Regardless, the Product Owner remains accountable.

In your case the Product Owner is delegating some work and responsibilities to your Business Analysts. 

11:08 pm November 30, 2021

our manager says that BA needs to create stories and add those stories in current sprint. All such stories have nothing to do sprint goal of current sprint, but still we add such stories and their estimates to current sprint. Is this correct?

No, because a "manager" is telling the team how to do their own work, instead of encouraging them to manage such things for themselves.

06:52 am December 1, 2021

This means that in current sprint BA also work on items for next sprint.

Why BA is a separate role in your team ?, Functional analysis is a job of everyone in the team. Perhaps the person who you call BA as an expert in that domain can be mentor to others. In some teams BA also does testing. So break the role silos in the team. 

Addition of tasks and time tracking in each task to satisfy management adds more admin activities to the team. This is also an impediments on the way to deliver value I would say. Find out why management wants to track activities within the team. What they think as risk in not doing so ?