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Diane Zajac-Woodie

Erie Insurance

Diane Zajac-Woodie (@agilesquirrel) has spent the last six years redefining the business analyst role as more than a requirements dictator. Through open and honest conversations, Diane guides her business partners toward creative solutions that solve problems and eliminate waste. She shares this same approach with her technical teams, facilitating communication, cooperation, and continuous learning to ensure success. Diane craves knowledge almost as much as chocolate and would make question-asking an Olympic sport. Her recent passion is to free those mired in the status quo even if she has to pull them out one at a time. Diane’s alter ego makes her thoughts transparent on her blog.

Speaker Presentations
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - 2:15pm
Product Definition
How Agile Helped a Business Analyst Discover Her True Value

As companies introduce agile practices, the business analyst (BA) role is often left by the wayside. The BA title doesn’t exist in Scrum and other agile implementations, leaving many BAs wondering where—or if—they fit in. But fear not! The skills of a good BA are even more valuable in an agile environment. Diane Zajac-Woodie tells the tale of a  new and struggling agile team, with no formal training, a resistant corporate culture, and unwilling team members. Diane shares how this team benefited from the communication, collaboration, and facilitation skills of an experienced BA. She highlights some specific shifts—using story maps and writing executable requirements, just in time—that BAs can make to help their team’s transition. Embracing their new roles, BAs can encourage team members to cross role boundaries. This leads to new skill acquisition and a more cohesive team, which ultimately lead to higher quality software.