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PMI’s Business Analysis Standard – What You Have to Gain

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A new collaborative blog featuring the contributions from the core team members of PMI's Foundational Standard in Business Analysis. This blog will provide the community with insight into PMI's development of the standard to generate professional discussions about the content in advance of the scheduled reviews.

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PMI’s Business Analysis Standard – What You Have to Gain

PMI’s Business Analysis Standard – What You Have to Gain

By Laura Paton

If you are reading this blog chances are you are interested (dare I say passionate) about business analysis. Whether you have been following our blog or not, it’s worth re-announcing that something really BIG is on the horizon. Later this year, PMI will be publishing their full consensus based standard on business analysis - The PMI® Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis).

Why should you care? Well there are a lot of reasons, but here are my top 3…

  1. Our profession deserves a standard - a body of knowledge that helps us discuss the work we do and the value we provide; this standard can serve as the start to those conversations. 
  2. Many professionals have been super excited about PMI’s business analysis credential, the Professional in Business Analysis or PMI-PBA® and have been eager for PMI to publish a body of knowledge to back the credential. You asked and PMI is delivering.
  3. Despite many years of preaching the need for PM/BA collaboration at our chapter events, many project teams still don’t understand how business analysis supports project, program, and portfolio management. This in turn continues to impact the level of success and value achieved on our projects. The answer to your questions lies within the pages of this newest standard!

But there are other standards in the market, so how will this product be different?   Let me provide you the top 5 reasons.

  1. PMI’s standard is new and fresh, developed from extensive research and the time to market has been quick. This means you are receiving the ‘latest’ thoughts and practices making this product timely and relevant, especially if you work on agile projects. 
  1. Speaking of agile or adaptive life cycles, the development team made sure adaptive life cycles were equally considered as were predictive life cycles when this standard was written. Not only will you understand what business analysis looks like on agile projects but you will receive a clear comparison of business analysis work between life cycles helping you quickly gain the knowledge needed to apply your business analysis skills  regardless of which life cycle is being used.  One stop shopping – all in one standard!
  1. If you hold other PMI credentials or if your organization has adopted the PMBOK® Guide as your organization’s core standard to quality project management practices, you will find PMI’s BA standard a perfect fit. That’s because business analysis is described in terms of process groups and knowledge areas; taking on a similar structure to the PMBOK® Guide. By defining the business analysis processes in this manner BA work can easily be compared to project management, which this guide does beautifully.  You know those conversations you have heard regarding who is responsible for stakeholder analysis, planning, or risk management - the PM or BA?  Confusion be gone!  This new standard makes the connections and clears the air on areas of overlap between the PM/BA roles.
  1. If you are a fan of PMI’s Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide (and chances are that many of you are since the product has been very well received) you’ll love the synergy and compatibility the new BA standard provides. Many practitioners are turned off by hard to follow academic publications, and I feel your pain. The easy to follow and understand language provided in PMI’s business analysis practice guide has found its way into this newest standard making your reading pleasurable not laborious.
  1. Lastly, PMI is known for quality in the areas of research, standards development, and certification. If your organization or you personally are confused about how to get started in business analysis, how to discuss this important work, or how to establish standard business analysis processes on your projects - PMI provides a suite of business analysis products and services to support you. Check out the list of tangible PMI member benefits for those interested in learning more about business analysis:

We often talk about defining the ‘value proposition’ when we perform business analysis. Perform your own analysis about business analysis and determine what is of value to you.

Think new, think fresh, think PM and BA synergy – there is a new BA standard coming to the BA community in 2017! How will you leverage the value?Let us know we would love to hear from you!

Posted by Laura Paton on: March 26, 2017 05:06 PM | Permalink

Comments (27)

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Nice explanation and comparisons, Laura!

Thanks Elizabeth!

Thanks Laura

This is a very good one Laura.
And welldone...

Thanks Laura! Nice to see rising of a BA role in PM(I) field :)

thanks for this post, can't wait to see the Standard (since i am a great fan of the practitioners guide ...;) ) .



Thanks everyone!

As a consultant, I often have to flip between business analysis and project management. I feel each one has a different perspective and goal. I feel that PMI is straying out of the project management field to get unto the BA bandwagon.

I'm not convinced that this fits their overall envisioned goal: "Worlwide, organizations will embrace, value, and utilize project management and attribute their success to it."

Hi Stephane. Requirements has always been a focus for PMI. The Collect Requirements process is not new to the PMBOK® Guide. PMI has made a strategic decision to provide more support to organizations and project, program, and portfolio managers simply because business analysis is a critical competency for success. The motivation behind this increased investment in business analysis is very clear in PMI’s 2014 Pulse of the Profession® report - Requirements Management: Core Competency for Project and Program Success.

Like you - there are many professionals who find themselves in a hybrid role responsible for project management and business analysis activities. The benefits of having both disciplines/professions covered under one PMI umbrella is synergy, alignment, and common language. For members, they love the idea of gaining access to project, program, portfolio management, and now business analysis standards as part of one membership. Locally – I have been enjoying the collaboration occurring at the chapter level between PMs/BAs. I see it as extremely positive for the community and completely needed for successful project management.

Thanks Laura

I've have thought of getting a BA certification, Laura. I would probably go for the CBAP, rather than the PBA. I know that the IIAB's focus is primarily business analysis..

Correct, IIBA is solely business analysis. Each person has to evaluate the pros/cons individually when deciding. There are a lot of factors to consider such as size of the professional organization, growth rate of the certification, brand recognition in your industry and with your employer etc. If you become a member of the professional association, then you want to compare value for money spent -> products and services offered for your investment. You should look at the size of the chapter in your area and the value the chapter brings the professional. This is just a sampling, but it takes a bit of analysis to ensure you pursue the best path for yourself. Those that pursue the PBA appreciate the one stop shopping covering portfolio, program, project management and business analysis under one umbrella. Lots to think about. :-)

Hi, Stéphane.
Will you let us know about your main points to pursue CBAP instead of PBA? I for myself decided lately to go for PBA - because of the fit with PMP ("on-stop shopping" as Laura named it). Public exposure versions of the standard and guide were a good hint for that - and the current push of PMI to spread the certification.
I read also the material for CBAP - and disagree with some of the critics who see it as "academic" and not easy to read: I found it very logical and well structured, but missed the connections to PM discipline. Thats where PMI standards are better organized as a "one-stop" solution.

To summarize my points, Rolf:
1. I want the best available certification in project management. That to me is PMP.
2. I want the best available certification in business analysis. That to me is CBAP.

I do believe everyone has the ultimate right to choose whatever certification or provider they deem fit, but i struggle with Stephane's position when he said "CBAP" is the BEST available certification for Business Analysis.
To fully understand my point, let me give you a little background.
I have PMP from PMI and PRINCE2 from AXELOS. I have CBAP from IIBA and another BA certification from BCS. I would rather you say IIBA is more popular (and not necessarily the BEST) for Business Analysis.
Secondly, it depends on your area of specialisation and discipline. I particularly think, until recently, that IIBA's CBAP was too IT-Inclined.
And for the records, i am gonna take a shot at PBA sometime in the very near future (before end of this year or Q1 2018).

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