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:
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.
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’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.
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:
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?
Adapting Business Analysis Processes for Adaptive vs Predictive Life Cycles
Categories: Business Analysis
As you’ve likely heard, the SME review is complete for PMI’s business analysis standard and we will soon be in the public review stage. With that we want to share a little more of what you’ll find under the covers. We have included a variety of helpful things in our attempt to come up with a product that is friendly to the adaptive, predictive, and the “anywhere in between” members of the community. One of the critical constructs we created to address this very topic is what we on the team colloquially call “the tailoring tables”.
Let me back up a moment and explain that for each of the processes, we certainly try to explain in text how the process might vary depending on whether you use an adaptive or predictive life cycle on the project, program, or portfolio. However, we wanted to also offer a tool for readers to quickly summarize the essence of how each process might vary, so it’s not buried in text – that tool is the set of tailoring tables. Within the guide, these tables describe three common aspects of how business analysis could be tailored based on your selected project life cycle:
Every process includes a table describing how the process is commonly tailored with regards to the topics above for adaptive versus predictive life cycles.
One key phrase in that previous sentence is “commonly,” which means this content is not a rule or policy, but rather a guideline. For example, if we said that in adaptive life cycles, requirements are typically represented in user story format, and your organization has reason to write them in use cases instead, then by all means you should produce use cases. Similarly, there is nothing in this guide indicating that user stories cannot also be used in predictive life cycles, even though we don’t explicitly say they can. I mention this because this is probably the most prevalent feedback we got about these tables. Some of the SME reviewers felt like the predictive tailoring suggestions might be helpful in an adaptive project or vice versa. We agree! We just had to also offer something more useful than saying “you can do anything in any life cycle” so we reflected on common practice and used the reviewer feedback to help tweak what we missed.
Here is an example of what this table might look like for the Define and Elaborate Requirements process.
©2017, Project Management Institute, Inc.
That is “tailoring tables” in a nutshell. Whether you love or hate them, we welcome your feedback. You can formally (or informally!!) share your thoughts in the public review process of course, too.
As Cheryl mentioned in her recent blog entry, business analysis is a competency needed across projects, programs and portfolios. She gave you a sneak peek at how we clarified the relationship between business analysis and project, program and portfolio management (which I’ll refer to as "management" for the remainder of this blog). But wait, there’s more! As the core team began to frame the content we were developing, we realized that we were delving into areas where we referred to work which is often considered part of management. And so we had to think hard about how we would distinguish, for example, how business analysis efforts figure into creating a project charter or deciding how to engage stakeholders. We were sure that the efforts were not overlapping in a redundant way, so how best to explain the differences? Certainly, the product focus of business analysis and the project/program/portfolio focus of management is one difference, but what else would we need to call out?
Two patterns emerged for us for situations in which there was overlapping effort, both of which were based on collaboration of business analysis and management:
All and all, thinking through how to present the relationship between business analysis and management reinforced for us the value of having PMI address business analysis: by looking at the nature of the relationship between management and analysis efforts, highlighting how some aspects of management efforts involve business analysis and also aligning the vocabulary between the disciplines, PMI will help improve the collaboration between management and business analysis that is so critical for successful projects.