Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts


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INTERVIEW QUESTION:

How do you define Agile?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 38448 Views // 2 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Agile Methods, SDLC, Process, and Methodologies

ANSWER

Agile is a general term and conceptual framework used to describe a number of “light-weight” methodologies, such as Extreme Programming (XP), SCRUM, and Rapid Application Development (RAD), which exhibit a series of common characteristics.    Some of these characteristics include:
  • Iterative analysis and development
  • Time-boxed iterations of a predefined length
  • Delivery of the most critical features and functions first
  • Delivery of a complete build with an initial set of limited features within a few months (often 1-2 months)
  • Small cross-functional teams usually of 6-9 team members.
  • Daily team communication meetings
  • Reduced levels of documentation
Most Agile methods begin with a prioritized feature list where features are group together into deliverable chunks and assigned to a particular iteration in which they will be developed and delivered.  Using small teams and daily communication among all team members the Agile team can achieve a high level of efficiency.

Agile methods are intended to overcome or circumvent many of the recurring challenges that are encountered during software development projects.  The iterative nature of these methods, along with the desire to deliver smaller sets of defined features per iteration, help mitigate risk due to evolving requirements, unclear project stakeholder direction, and unforeseen project complexities that typically arise during the latter stages of analysis and development.    Some of the most salient advantages of Agile methods include:
  • Availability of working software much sooner which allows for more immediate feedback from application users.
  • More immediate, and therefore larger, Return on Investment from software features that are developed in short iterations and release to production immediately.
  • Less project overhead due to smaller team sizes.
  • Avoidance of large schedule overruns.
  • Avoidance of large budget overruns.

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Chris Adams
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ADDITIONAL ANSWERS / COMMENTS

Stewart F posted on Friday, June 7, 2019 2:34 AM
Chris's answer is very good, and those unsure how to answer the question should read this carefully.

One thing to add. As a BA Manager, I regularly interview people. Some clearly have experience and others, certainly don't ! I like to see BAs in interviews ask me lots of questions, after all, it is a key part of the BA role. This is one of those questions that is a really good for asking a question back to the Interviewer.

So in an interview, when you are asked "Describe agile to me and its benefits" Chris's response above is your main answer, however also turn the question around:

"Do you work in an Agile fashion here at …."
"I know that many companies work Agile in a different way, can you go through your methodology for me"

Questions to that affect show two things -
1. You appreciate that Agile is not a definitive thing
2. You are showing an interest in how you will work (assuming you take the job). You may be able to have a side conversation about how you have done similar things in previous roles etc.

As an interviewer, I will know fairly quickly if you are interested in the role or not, and may well potentially base my decision on that (it wont be the only reason but it does form a part of it). If you show a keen interest then I know you wan the role and you are liking what you hear.

Be careful though. I had before a guy (in his 50s I would guess) who was, to put it mildly, a bit too keen. On walking him to the interview room, he stopped, looked at a 'In Case Of Fire' safety message and proceeded to talk, in the corridor, about it for 5 minutes. Not really a good start !

So in short, this answer from Chris is good. Try to relate it back to instances where you have worked Agile, if you have, and use it as an opportunity to ask a question back.
Brian Megilligan posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 5:20 PM
I know of a few agile coaches who would insist that the "what is agile" question has less to do with the framework and more to do with the mindset. The framework is a means to achieve an outcome through a flexible approach prompted by an agile mindset that requires it. If I were asked that question, I think I would frame it in this way rather than jumping straight into examples of Scrum, XP, etc.

Just my two cents.
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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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