Agile Analyst: “It’s all about collaboration and flexibility”

Agile Analyst

Agile Analyst: “It’s all about collaboration and flexibility

After 10 years in the software sector, Sjerk Van Riel made the leap as a freelancer to De Cronos Groep and EqualMinds, where he now works as an Agile analyst and SCRUM master. “Time and budget are almost always fixed, but as an Agile analyst you can help adjust the scope of the project.”

Sjerk Van Riel studied applied economics at the University of Antwerp and ICT management at the EHSAL Management School. At a software manufacturer he worked in very diverse roles: from developer to project manager. “But even then, I was already focusing on analysis,” he says, “and that continued when I got to know the Agile way of working.” Agile turned out to be a very logical step for Sjerk. “Agile ensures better collaboration between business and IT. In software development, this leads to a higher-quality solution.” But there are also challenges associated with Agile. “You must get the customer involved in the story. You do that by clearly highlighting the benefits of Agile.”

Time, budget, and scope

The Agile analyst plays a key role in this. He takes the initiative to ensure that business and IT work together optimally. “At EqualMinds, we always start with a clear vision,” says Sjerk. “We draw a broad outline and then continually make adjustments, always in consultation with all stakeholders. And of key importance is that we work just in time. We schedule the detailed analysis as late as possible. This way we avoid investing in the analysis of elements that we won’t need later on.”

The term ‘Agile’ refers to the agility of the methodology. “You can’t adjust time and budget,” says Sjerk. “The customer expects the result on time and within budget. What you can adjust is the scope of the project. You must be very open about that with your business partners: the value of the business is at stake, after all. But you know, this flexibility is exactly what benefits the customer! “

More than a bridge between business and IT

Typical for the Agile approach, with its short sprints, is the use of workshops. “This way everyone remains involved: the business owners, the developers, everyone,” says Sjerk. “We attach great importance to the visual aspect of the collaboration. That’s where the post-its come in, the drawings, diagrams, you name it.” The Agile analyst forms a bridge between business and IT. “That’s true, but it’s all about collaboration. As an Agile analyst, your job is to steer. You never do the analysis alone. Everyone is closely involved; you get to know a lot of people as part of the process. And together you pool your skills and knowledge. That makes a big difference.”

The cliché is that the traditional analyst — using the waterfall method — throws their analysis over the proverbial wall, without having any contact with the developers who then work with that analysis. “I’ve never experienced it like that,” laughs Sjerk. He has always an advocate for consultation, so he naturally prefers the Agile approach. “The big differences, of course, are the intensity of the collaboration and the short lead times of the sprints.”

Support Product Owner

As an Agile analyst, Sjerk sees supporting the product owner as one of his most important tasks. He does this through coaching and through his position as proxy product owner. He also partly takes over certain tasks from the product owner, such as developing user stories. Sjerk is currently working on a process for the digitization of dual learning for the Flemish government. “Companies can submit an application to the government to function as a workplace for dual learning,” he says. “We are currently building the applications that digitally support the entire process. The complexity lies largely in the combination of various data sources, including Flanders Education and the VDAB.”

Interested in joining our team as an Agile Analyst? Contact us!

Eager to know all about our services? Click here.

Gerelateerde artikels