Building the Foundation: The BOK on BA

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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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Laura Paton
Joy Beatty
Cheryl Lee
Sue Burk

Recent Posts

PMI's Newest BA Standard and the PMI-PBA Credential

An Update On PMI's Consensus Based BA Standard: The Final Phase

The Link Between Business Analysis and Project Management Processes

Party Like a Business Analysis Rock Star!

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

PMI's Newest BA Standard and the PMI-PBA Credential

Wondering How PMI’s New BA Standard Will Enhance the Value of the

PMI-PBA Credential? by Laura Paton

In my last blog, I shared with you that The PMI Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis) will be published later this year. Many business analysis professionals are eager to have a full consensus based business analysis standard they can use when preparing for PMI’s Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)® certification.

A common question I am asked these days is ‘How will the PMI-PBA exam change once this new standard is released?’. The quick answer is that PBA exam questions are always evolving to ensure the exam is relevant and reflective of the latest practices. Next year will be no different, as PMI will embark on another exam writing initiative; and a team of business analysis professionals will come together to write and refresh exam questions.  The reference list will be revised to include PMI’s newest standard as a resource that certification prospects can use to prepare themselves for the PBA exam. Don’t expect a specified ‘cut over’ date to be announced, because the PBA is an ‘experienced based’ exam and not based on any one source. That is all I will say on this subject, because the point of this blog is to highlight the value the PBA certification has in the market along with PMI’s newest business analysis standard.

Here is my take on the value proposition for the PBA upon the release of PMI’s newest business analysis standard:

PMI’s newest business analysis standard provides ‘equal’ guidance for performing business analysis regardless of the project life cycle chosen. This means, that in preparing for the exam your experience performing business analysis on agile projects and waterfall projects will be equally important!

How is this different? Well, PBA credential holders will be business analysis professionals who demonstrate a firm understanding about business analysis regardless of the delivery method being used to deliver the solution.

What does this look like? PBA credential holders will demonstrate knowledge and experience in the following ways:

  • Performing business analysis on projects regardless of delivery method used
  • Demonstrating experience with a variety of business analysis techniques  
  • Understanding how to ‘adapt’ business analysis performance to adjust to the methodology their organization or team chooses to use
  • Fully aware of how business analysis supports portfolio, program, and project management
  • Cognizant of a wealth of skills and competencies that can be mastered to help them perform better business analysis
  • Knowledgeable about a host of terms and the ability to understand the business analysis language regardless of delivery method. The vocabulary of a PBA consists of terms used by those who work on waterfall projects as well as those who perform business analysis on projects using agile.

What I am trying to demonstrate with this list, is that a PBA is a business analysis professional that has advanced, relevant, and dynamic skills that are applicable to organizations and project teams regardless of whether the individual is working on waterfall projects, transitioning from waterfall to agile, delivering following a hybrid approach, or has switched back and forth between delivery methods over the course of their career! PBAs may have experience on IT projects, but PBAs can also be professionals who have performed business analysis on BI projects, construction projects, process improvement initiatives, or a host of other initiatives where business analysis is performed.

As someone who has personally hired ‘a lot’ of business analysts over my years – I am going to look for the credential holder who can demonstrate a breadth of skills and understanding aligned to the most current trends in the industry. Let’s face it, if we only understand business analysis in the waterfall world today, we just aren’t going to have the skills organizations are looking for in the 21st century!

I am excited about  PMI’s newest business analysis standard and what the PBA is accomplishing for our profession. I believe PBA’s will demonstrate a breadth of experience and knowledge to their employers. Organizations require business analysis professionals that possess current and relevant experience and that demonstrate the ability to adapt their skills to projects of varying size, complexity, and delivery methods. I believed PMI has nailed it by getting ahead of the curve and credentialing professionals who can demonstrate the adaptability and flexibility in business analysis that organizations require. What are your thoughts?

Note: PMI’s Professional in Business Analysis Certification hit the market in 2014. Today there are over 1,500 PBA credential holders residing in over 80 countries and the certification is maintaining double-digit growth each year.

Posted by Laura Paton on: August 09, 2017 07:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (24)

An Update On PMI's Consensus Based BA Standard: The Final Phase

A Team Status: PMI's Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis

By Laura Paton

Believe it or not, it’s been over 8 weeks since we updated this blog! We apologize for the gap in our communication, but the team has been busy on our final phase of development work. The public review process was amazing. We received a ton of comments, and like the SME review process, the feedback was insightful, engaging, and very supportive.

The development team reviewed each comment and compared and contrasted the opposing viewpoints. We researched, analyzed, collaborated, and made final changes to the draft. One thing is for sure—PMI’s business analysis standard and guide is a true end-product achieved through the collective experience of business analysis professionals from around the world.

The PMI Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis) is undergoing final editing and later this summer will be heading for layout and publication. You will find the development team reaching out to PMI chapters and engaging in a number of venues to promote the soon to be launch of this “game changing” business analysis standard.

In case you missed our prior blogs where we highlighted the value proposition or if you saw them but have forgotten what makes this newest PMI standard so special, here are the top five value propositions that I enjoy sharing:

  • Provides a thorough exploration and description of business analysis that is applicable and usable for individuals and organizations regardless of the project life cycle in use.

Let’s face it—many teams are moving from predictive delivery models and are faced with understanding what business analysis looks like in an adaptive life cycle. Whether your team is using waterfall, agile or any delivery framework in between, this guide explains business analysis using language that supports your work.

  • Makes full use of the extensive PMI research conducted when developing PMI’s professional certification in business analysis (PMI-PBA®) and leveraged when developing PMI’s Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide. The end result is a standard based on common practices and community input, and one that is thoroughly aligned to other PMI business analysis products.
  • Utilizes a similar design as A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), which provides an opportunity to draw relationships and comparisons between project management processes and business analysis processes. A great way to explain how business analysis relates to project management!
  • Leverages the beloved Collaboration Points that were first showcased in PMI’s Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide. Collaboration points are concise snippets of advice focused on bringing awareness to various opportunities that business analysis professionals can leverage to work with other product roles and stakeholders for improved performance and success.
  • A robust glossary of over 500 business analysis terms and definitions that provide foundational context to understand the business analysis language, regardless of the delivery method used within your organization.

Our team is excited that the product launch is fast approaching (Q4). Keep following us for highlights and news. Lastly, thanks to everyone in the community who has contributed and made PMI’s full consensus based standard in business analysis possible.

Posted by Laura Paton on: July 11, 2017 02:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (27)

The Link Between Business Analysis and Project Management Processes

Check out the discussion on Project Management.com entitled: “Is Business Analysis Properly Linked to Project Management within the PMBOK® Guide?".   The PMI® Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis), slated for publication later this year, will be a great resource to identify and clarify the linkage between business analysis and project management efforts. The upcoming guide to business analysis also speaks to the relationship between business analysis and program and portfolio management.     

We’ve offered a lot of entries in this blog which let folks know that that the business analysis guide and standard will cover the relationship between project management and business analysis efforts and the collaboration between those responsible for them.   For example, please see Laura’s recent blog entry PMI's Business Analysis Standard - What You Have to Gain  and Cheryl’s entry  How-Business-Analysis-Compares-with-Project--Program-and-Portfolio-Management, just to name two. 

But, if you don’t have time to go back through all of our blogs, here is quick summary of some of the ways The PMI Guide to Business Analysis and the included Standard will provide the link:

  • It presents business analysis thinking organized by business analysis process groups and knowledge areas, a structure which will be familiar to anyone who has spent time with A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (PMBOK® Guide). At the same time, the business analysis process names are clear enough that those business analysis practitioners who are less familiar with the PMBOK® Guide will be able to see the linkage as well.
  • It reminds us that the business analysis thought process can be undertaken by anyone who has responsibility to help an organization identify and define problems and opportunities and think through potential solutions, not just by someone who has the title or role of business analyst. Indeed, some of the work which project managers do requires business analysis thinking, and the Guide and Standard point out PMBOK® Guide processes which align with business analysis processes.
  • It reminds us that while some business analysis efforts are totally focused on business analysis, others are complementary to project, program and/or portfolio management tasks and still others support project, program and/or portfolio management tasks.
  • It points out the necessary collaboration between those who are responsible for project management and those who are responsible for business analysis.

It’s been absolutely necessary and important for The PMI Guide for Business Analysis to articulate the link between business analysis and project management.  And, do keep in mind that the Guide is more than a linking document; it will provide an understanding of business analysis which applies to all delivery lifecycles, from predictive to adaptive.  It will stand together with its previously published companion volume, Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide as a great resource for learning about business analysis practices and business analysis thinking.

 

 

Posted by Sue Burk on: April 21, 2017 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Party Like a Business Analysis Rock Star!

The PMI TORONTO chapter is proud to be home to the first business analysis community within a PMI chapter. We have seen the community steadily grow over the last 3 years and its success represents additional proof that a need exists for project management and business analysis to be under one roof as there is a strong correlation between these professions. The PMI TORONTO chapter hosted a public review party titled “Party Like a Business Analysis Rock Star” at the Hard Rock Cafe within the public review window. Dave Bieg, Program Manager for Business Analysis and Requirements at PMI, came in to co-host the event with me. Here are a couple of photos from the event, the first is Dave and me partying like a BA rock star!

Highlights of the presentation included:

  • Insight on PMI’s latest products/services supporting business analysis
  • An overview of the layout and components of The PMI Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis)
  • Tips on applying this new standard in your organization on projects of varying size/complexity and of different project life cycles, including agile

I had used the cooking analogy I blogged about last year to illustrate how to use the upcoming publication and provided many examples from the guide, including collaboration points and tailoring tables that Joy recently blogged about. Folks were super excited about the idea that this upcoming publication will be one stop shopping – all in one standard!

We received overwhelming support and positive feedback from the crowd of about 200 project professionals that attended the event and are being encouraged to throw a second celebration when The PMI Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis) is launched later this year, and I invite you to do the same at your local chapter! We have many resources that we can share with you if you’re interested, just send me a note!

After witnessing the excitement and enthusiasm for the guide and standard from the folks here in Toronto, I was pumped to see the comments from the public review! The core team jumped right into adjudicating the responses the day after the public review window closed. We are so grateful and impressed with the effort and insightful feedback provided by the community! Thank you!

Did you participate in the public review process? What aspect of the new standard are you most excited about? 

Posted by Cheryl Lee on: April 07, 2017 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)

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 (26)
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