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
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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 (43)
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