What PMI-PBA Certification Is and How to Get It

ladywomanbusinessProjectMYF031I’m sure the first question coming to mind is, “What is PMI-PBA certification?” Its full name is PMI® Professional in Business Analysis certification, and it was (probably obviously) developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Based on its research, PMI has decided to put significant emphasis on the practice of requirements management. In fact, they recently launched the Requirements Management Knowledge Center of Excellence (CoE). As part of this CoE activity, they will develop and roll out a Business Analysis Practice Guide later in 2014 that links business analysis (BA) practices with the Requirements Management section of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge—Fifth Edition (PMBOK® Guide). In 2015, they will release the Practice Guide in Requirements Analysis.

To drive this initiative forward, PMI has developed the PMI-PBA certification. To qualify, you do not need to have the title “business analyst,” but you must have real-world experience in BA.

PMI is defining BA work as “the evaluation of an organization’s needs—followed by the identification and management of requirements—to arrive at a solution.” In short, it is the discipline of working with stakeholders to “define an organization’s requirements in order to shape the output of projects and ensure they deliver the expected business benefit.” (PMI Professional in Business Analysis [PMI-PBA] FAQ, 2014)

The first step in the development of this certification is the pilot phase, which starts May 12. That’s when PMI will start taking applications for certification. Part of the certification process is an exam; the exam for the pilot will run through August 4.

It takes five days for an electronic application to be reviewed, so to be assured an opportunity to take the exam during the pilot, you will need your electronic application submitted by July 28. A paper application can take up to two weeks, so it must be in by July 14.

These timelines assume you will not be audited. Audits are random, and if you’re audited, you must present a higher level of detail related to experience. You have 90 days to fulfill the audit requirements, and PMI reviews audit materials in 5–7 days.

If you are interested in more information about the pilot, email businessanalysis@pmi.org. If you make the pilot cutoff, you will be refunded 20% of your fees after the pilot period.

The two other critical things you need to know about are eligibility requirements and how much it costs to take the exam.

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*If you have a PMP or PgMP, you do not need to show any project team hours, because your credential covers the hour requirements. Also, you can overlap your BA experience requirement with your project experience requirement, if applicable.

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**Paper-based retake is not available during the pilot.

To Achieve PMI-PBA Certification:

  1. Complete and submit your application.
  2. Wait for review of your application.
  3. If audited, fulfill audit requirements.
  4. Pay fees if application is accepted.
  5. Schedule exam.
  6. Pass exam.
  7. Recertify on CCR after three years.

In a future post, I will provide more details about PMI-PBA certification, including:

  • Resource materials
  • Length of exam (time given and number of questions)
  • Domains and tasks covered
  • Knowledge and skills covered
  • Recertification process

About the Author
David Mantica is president of the ASPE, a division of Fortis College, family of professional training companies. His career as a business leader in the training industry spans almost twenty years. As a specialist in business-to-business continuing education, David brings deep experience to roles in executive, product management, marketing, and operations capacities. He has led or conducted product management efforts around more than 300 training courses.


This post originally appeared on the ASPE SDLC blog.

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