Is the BABOK in the real world, still relevant?

BABOK in the Real World
Image Source: StockUnlimited

BABOK in the Real World

A comment that I heard today, at an Accelerated CBAP course, was “this is all fine, but in the real world things are different“.

this is all fine, but in the real world things are different

The sentiment was clear.

What IIBA’s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) presented didn’t actually align with what happened in the “real world”.

The Knowledge Areas (KAs) and Tasks were considered as being “theoretical” and didn’t reflect true life.  

Big Picture

I don’t think that people are seeing the big picture here.

Let’s look at the IIBA’s mission statement:

To develop and maintain standards for the practice of business analysis and for the certification of practitioners.

And the IIBA Certification Handbook lists one of the benefits of the CBAP as:

Competence in the principles and practices of business analysis

It’s a Framework

The BABOK presents these principles and practices in the form of Knowledge Areas (KAs) and Tasks.

It describes these as follows:

Knowledge areas define what a practitioner of business analysis needs to understand
and the tasks a practitioner must be able to perform.

The BOK goes further to make it clear that the Tasks can be performed in any order, and that:

Knowledge areas are not intended to represent phases in a project.

So … the BABOK serves as a baseline.

It provides structure and direction on a preferred way to do business analysis without being too detailed or rigid.

And it provides guidance while being flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions.

Essentially … it’s a framework (as well as acting as a baseline).

What does this mean?

So what does this mean?

To me, it means being able to be a business analyst and do business analyst stuff. Without being restricted to a “this is how we do it here” procedure.

It allows you to lift yourself above that.

Not just automatons

I’ve known of organisations that have employed “business analysts”.

When it comes to the actual practice of business analysis, however,  all it means is talking with the stakeholders and then writing up document A, followed by document B, and then, possibly, document C.

That’s what we use here

Documents A, B, and C are, essentially, based on something that someone once put together, and “that’s what we use here”.

Often in these organisations,it’s the Project Manager who tells the BA what they have to do next.

The real value of the BABOK

This is where I feel the BABOK, (and CCBA or CBAP) make a difference.

Although the BA might still need to do things “the way we do it here”, (and still interact with a PM) they are also able to look at it from a higher level.

They can introduce improvements.

And if you take that BA out of that organisation, and drop them into another, they can still perform the art of Business Analysis in a knowledgeable, professional, manner.

Praticing-the-ArtImage Source: StockUnlimited

Want to learn more?

Below is a selection of resources that I personally feel are relevant to this blog post, and will allow you to get more in-depth knowledge. I do earn a commission if you purchase any of these, and for that I am grateful. Thank you. (Important Disclosure)

    1. putchavn 18/03/2015
      • markjowen 18/03/2015
        • putchavn 18/03/2015
    2. Tony 24/04/2015
      • markjowen 25/04/2015
    3. Pingback: Eric's Business Analysis Reading List #12 - Eric the Business 21/03/2016

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