Project Management

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.

About this Blog


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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


BOK, Business Analysis, business analysis, business analysis BOK, business analysis BOK PMI-PBA, business analysis guide, business analysis standard, PBA, PMI-PBA


Viewing Posts by Laura Paton

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 (56)

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 (38)

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)

An Update on PMI's Standard in Business Analysis

Kicking Off 2017 – An Update on PMI’s Standard in Business Analysis by Laura Paton PMP, PBA

Happy New Year to all!  What better time to reconvene our discussions on this blog and to kick-off our year by providing the community an update on PMI’s business analysis standard. We apologize for going silent for a few months, but we have been so busy trying to hit our deadlines that we took a little time off from updating the blog. The great news is, the project is staying the course and is right on schedule!  I think it is safe to say you can continue to see more information about the project on this blog in 2017.

Let me step back to bring everyone up to speed on the journey so far. If you have been following this blog you would know that PMI approved a project to develop a full consensus based standard in business analysis last year. In fact, the project kickoff meeting occurred January 20th, 2016. The development team worked diligently in the spring and early summer months and delivered a draft in August. A call for subject matter expert reviewers was conducted through PMI’s Volunteer Management System and a team selected.

Subject Matter Expert (SME) Review

We invited over 30 SMEs to participate in a Subject Matter Expert Review process and the engagement was amazing. SMEs provided over 1100 suggestions and improvements   and the development team took several weeks to analyze the feedback and update the draft.   The contributions obtained from this very experienced group of SMEs have definitely helped to elevate the quality of this product. 

Public Review

 As PMI editing is cleaning up our adjudicated draft, preparations are being made to prepare for the public review process; after all this is a full consensus based standard. This process is an opportunity for the community across the world to review and provide feedback and suggestions back to the development team.

We anticipate more communication when we are ready to launch the public review process, but for now I can tell you that we are right on schedule to make this happen in Q1 of 2017.


Once the review window closes, the development team will be hard at work reviewing and considering the suggestions made by the community. The window of time needed to analyze and action on the public feedback is unknown until the team has a sense for the size of this effort, which is heavily dependent on how much feedback is received. Once the public review window is closed, the development team will be able to provide further information regarding next steps and associated dates. Based on the progress made thus far, the development team is optimistic of delivering the final product in Q3 so PMI can publish in Q4, 2017.

In Closing

If you are new to this blog, you may want to review PMI’s project announcement which is where this work all started. If you would like to know more about the value proposition of this product you can review that discussion here or feel free to review any of our past blog posts to follow the journey thus far!  We are excited for you to be part of our review team, so stay tuned for more information announcing the launch of the public review process.

Posted by Laura Paton on: January 12, 2017 10:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (20)

A Glimpse at PMI’s Upcoming Business Analysis Standard


I thought it would be fun this week to share further insight with the community around PMI’s business analysis standard. Many people have asked me how the project is progressing, what the end product will look like, and when the community might be able to be part of bringing this work to life. I thought it was a great time to provide you an update in these areas.

A Bit of History

In November of 2015, PMI announced plans to move forward with building a business analysis standard.  The decision to do so was based on the success of Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide and the tremendous amount of positive feedback PMI received about the guide. In late January 2016, PMI conducted a kickoff to begin the development work.  Today a mere six months later, there is much to share with the community!

Value Proposition

As I discussed in my May post, this new standard has a lot of strong value propositions, including…

  • Providing a common business analysis vocabulary for all portfolio, program, and project teams,
  • Focusing broadly on defining business analysis for all roles who share responsibility for performing business analysis activities,  and
  • Defining and explaining business analysis so it is understood by and relevant to all teams, regardless of the lifecycle chosen to develop and deliver the end product.   


Sue Burk discusses the “commonality of business analysis thinking” in her June post and explains why this broad viewpoint is so important today when speaking about business analysis.  

A Status and a Look Forward

I am pleased to share that we are ahead of schedule!  Tasked with setting vision and scope and developing the initial draft content, we are wrapping up the first round of writing. We are reviewing the draft internally and plan to share with an initial team of subject matter experts (SMEs) in late September. If you are interested in taking part in this initial review process and meet the stated eligibility requirements, consider applying for a role on the SME Review Team.  The application window opens today 7/14/2016 via PMI’s Volunteer Relationship Management System (VRMS).  The requirements to participate in the SME review process are posted there.

Once subject matter experts share their insights and guidance, we will begin incorporating suggested modifications to the content. This work will continue throughout quarter four of 2016.

Starting the year off with much momentum, the project progresses to the public exposure phase in Q1 2017. During the public exposure draft process, the public will obtain full access to the content revised and enhanced by the guidance provided by the SME review team.  The public exposure draft process is your opportunity to shape the development of this standard to ensure business analysis work is defined:

  • commonly,
  • globally,   
  • broadly, and
  • for any life cycle selected.

More information about the public exposure phase will be forthcoming as the project progresses.

What to Expect in 2017

You can expect that the business analysis standard will be of high quality and will be a highly valued product in the industry.  PMI will continue to bring much needed attention to this important work.  The thousands of talented professionals, who work in the business analysis field, will shape this standard into a pragmatic and usable description of business analysis that future product teams can leverage and learn from for many years.  

It is an exciting time for the core development team as we look forward to giving you the opportunity to further build upon what we started. Are you looking forward to having a glimpse of PMI’s business analysis standard? If so, please tell us what areas of business analysis you are most interested in checking out?

Posted by Laura Paton on: July 14, 2016 04:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (14)

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