BABOK is all well and good – but in the "real world"…?

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This post has been updated to include further detail on the way the BABOK presents information.

One of the main comments I heard today, at an Accelerated CBAP course, was “this is all fine, but in the real world things are different“.

The message was that what IIBA’s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) presented with regards Knowlegde Areas (KAs), and Tasks, didn’t actually align with what happened in projects.

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The BA is the least knowledgeable about Agile

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According to VersionOne’s 2013 State of Agile survey, Business Analysts rank as the least knowledgeable about Agile.

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Today I read …"How to Use Enterprise Architecture to Deliver the Right Solution"

Enterprise Architecture This is the another post in my “Today I read …” series where I aim to summarise. or recapitulate, excellent, and educational, articles that I have read
Previous: BA Practices in a Virtual World

Today I read an excellent article on the IIBA site: “How to Use Enterprise Architecture to Deliver the Right Solution“, authored by Sergio Luis Conte.

For me, this was an excellent article.One that really helped me get a better understanding of Enterprise Architecture, especially from a Business Analysts point-of-view.
Sergio pulls relevant information from the EABOK (Enterprise Architecture Body of Knowledge), the BABOK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge), along with other relevant sources, to detail:

  • What Enterprise Architecture is,
  • Why it should be used,
  • When it should be used, and
  • How it should be used.

The “What”

Sergio provides a quote from Gartner to answer this one:

a discipline for pro-actively and holistically leading enterprise responses to disruptive forces by identifying and analyzing the execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes. EA delivers value by presenting business and IT leaders with signature-ready recommendations for adjusting policies and projects to achieve target business outcomes that capitalize on relevant business disruptions. EA is used to steer decision making toward the evolution of the future state architecture. (Gartner Group 2013)

He goes further by describing how Enterprise Architecture consists of several independent, but cohesive architectures: Business Architecture (BA), Application Architecture (AA), Technology Architecture (TA), Security Architecture (SA), and Information Architecture (IA).

The “Why”

Sergio explains that Enterprise Architecture is a way of thinking about the Business from a system management theory perspective. He also ties this nicely in with information presented in the BABOK (under competencies).

The “When”

Enterprise Architecture is used when a business needs to transform itself – when a desired future state is recognised.To identify the gap between the current state, and this future state, a gap analysis is performed, and appropriate steps are taken to make the necessary transformations,

Image “In search of problem situation to solve” – Sergio Luis Conte (IIBA)

This is a repeating cycle. Businesses attempt to adapt to an ever changing environment.

The “How”

For the “How”,Sergio mentions that there are several models available for working with Enterprise Architecture. The one he concentrates on, though, is “The McKinsey 7S model” that focuses on, and analyses, seven elements – strategy, structure, systems, staff, skills, and shared values.

Sergio explains each of these seven elements in further detail, including listing references for further reading.


All-in-all, a great article that helped me lot, and gave me enough information for further reading.

The link to the full article is:

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Thanks for reading.

As a BA, be aware of your motives


This is the first in my “Today I read …” series where I aim to summarise. or recapitulate, excellent, and educational, articles that I have read

Today I read a great article on the IIBA site: “Discover Your Motivation“, authored by Ahmad Khalifa.

The article asks the question “What motivates a BA?“. It then states that the simple answer is that “the BA seeks to provide their organization with best value through change“. Which is correct.

However, it’s not that simple. A BA is also an employee, as well as a person. And employees, and people, have different forces that influence them. To  explain this diagrammatically, the author presented a three tier pyramid:

Motivation Influence

Essentially, the motivation of the lower tiers influences the tier above it. In trying to determine what motivates the BA, it is important to understand the drivers behind the Employee and person layers.

While this is a difficult question, the article turns to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to try and shed some light on this, and also highlights that each layer presents different supporting, and opposing, forces that influence decisions, and actions taken. (An example given is that of an elicitation interview – the way it’s conducted can be influenced by a BA’s need for creativity or problem solving, and might also be influenced by the presence of risk for the organization or simply by job security.)

Image: "Discover Your Motivation" - Ahmad Khalifa

Image: “Discover Your Motivation” – Ahmad Khalifa

The article describes, further, the mental forces that apply to decision making (and the motivation behind it) – Bias, Prejudice, or Preconception. Biases can be based on successful experiences, or negative experiences, creating prejudices. Either way they can still distort the decision making process. Preconception occurs when a notion,or idea, is brought into the decision where that notion was not formed consciously such as an argument from a figure of authority where you regard it as fact straight away.

The author points out that the motivation of a BA can impact the solutions and the value that they deliver, and can occur at different levels of involvement:

  • Tasks – the smallest contribution that a BA can make
  • Facilitation of solutions
  • Stakeholder Interaction

Further to that, phases that a BA’s motives are activated intensely are: the Selection Process, the Start of Execution, where the BA begins an undertaking of organizational impact, and Start of Maintenance where the BA begins an undertaking that was previously executed and which has organizational impact.

The authors describes a way to identify and handle one’s motivations.The trick is to RELAX: Recognise, Eliminate, Learn, Acknowledge, eXercise.

Recognise – this is where the BA has to slow down, and try and be objective. Question why they are making certain decisions, and identify the influences behind it.

Eliminate – Having identified the influences, the BA should rethink some of the decisions while eliminating the cause of the influnce.

Learn – Ask colleagues for unbiased advice. Take on board how they would have handled something. Learn about new thinking processes.

Acknowledge – Don’t blame yourself for having made a decision. “Acknowledge that you made the best decision at the time and that even if you would make different decisions the next time, you still made a great decision in the past based on the knowledge you had.”
(I have quoted this directly from the article because I think that it is so perfect!)

Exercise – After learning what motivates your decision making, and ways of overcoming them, actively apply this in real-live situations.

The link to the full article is:

If you like this post, feel free to share. If you have comments that you’d like to make, please go ahead and use the comment box below.