Q&A: The Impact of IIBA’s New BABOK Guide and PMI’s New Business Analysis for Practitioners Guide

BABOKImpactWebinar497358343The release of both the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®)’s A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® Guide) v3 and the Project Management Institute® (PMI®)’s Business Analysis for Practitioners has given business analysts (BAs) a lot of information to process. To help make sense of things, Global Knowledge instructors Cheryl Lee and Adam McClellan joined forces to educate attendees on the differences between the two guides, how both guides compare to the previous version of the BABOK ® Guide, and where all this might be going.

It’s all here in our webinar, “The Impact of IIBA’s New BABOK® Guide and PMI’s New Business Analysis for Practitioners Guide.”

Not surprisingly, attendees had some great questions for our instructors. So great, in fact, we decided to share them here, along with the duo’s great answers.

Q: If I am planning to take the CBAP certification exam in 4Q 2015, I should concentrate on BABOK® Guide v2, correct?

A: Correct, the exam isn’t expected to switch over until Q1 2016. I would caution against leaving it until the last minute, as the differences between v2 and v3 are significant enough that you would have to start preparation almost from scratch if you didn’t make the cutoff. As mentioned during the webinar, the content has doubled between v2 and v3, and there were many terminology changes, so it can get confusing if studying both versions.

Q: Does IIBA have an edge over PMI?

A: The comment we made on the webinar regarding the polling results and how we were surprised that there was an even split between those wanting to pursue the CBAP and PBA was because the IIBA has been in the BA certification space longer than PMI. We were surprised at how quickly the PBA has gained traction in the BA community. It will be interesting to see where this will go in the near future. We wouldn’t be surprised to see PMI have an edge over IIBA in the BA certification space, given the sheer size of PMI and the investment PMI has made in business analysis and requirements management.

Q: Why would someone want both?

A: I suppose it really depends on your career goals. The IIBA focuses on a more strategic perspective on business analysis, where PMI focuses on business analysis within the realm of projects and programs. If your focus is on both areas, then you may want to pursue both certifications.

Q: I’m an existing CBAP. When it’s time to recertify, will I need to take a BABOK® Guide v3 exam?

A: According to the current CBAP recertification handbook, you would not need to take a BABOK® Guide v3 exam. You would, however, need to obtain 60 continuing development units (CDUs) within three years to maintain your certification. As mentioned during the webinar, IIBA is looking to launch a new certification road map around the time the exam switches over to reflect BABOK® Guide v3. We highly doubt the recertification requirements will change, but we really aren’t sure at the moment. The IIBA has advised that current CBAPs/CCBAs will be mapped over to the new certifications and people looking to pursue IIBA certifications should still continue to do so. We should have more information soon.

Q: So, I’m assuming existing CCBAs will need to take BABOK® Guide v3 for CBAP certification?

A: It would depend on when they take the CBAP exam – whether it’s before or after the exam switches over to reflect BABOK® Guide v3.

Q: What is the difference between PD hours for CBAP certification and PDUs in general?

A: IIBA labels them continuing development units (CDUs) and PMI labels them professional development units (PDUs). Conceptually, they are the same: One hour of business analysis education = a CDU or a PDU. However, a project management course may qualify for PMI PDUs, but it obviously would not qualify for IIBA CDUs.

Q: Do you believe the business architecture perspective in BABOK® Guide v3 is sufficient coverage for business architecture concepts? Or do you view this as a separate, but complementary, discipline with the Business Architecture Guild and A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge® (BIZBOK® Guide)?

A: The business architecture perspective is a relatively high-level overview and by no means the last word on the subject. For now, I’d continue to think of the BIZBOK® Guide and BABOK® Guide v3 as complementary.

Comment: Innovation Games and Tasty Cupcakes are also good collaboration game sites. In addition to Gamestorming.

A: Good to know. Thank you for sharing!

Q: I see a lot of crossover between v3 to be more inclusive of other disciplines, e.g., change management, project management, training and development. Was this the intent of BABOK® Guide v3, as often on projects there is grey area about who has accountability for certain tasks? What is your opinion on this?

A: I think it’s natural for business analysis to cross over to these other disciplines. You see this in PMI’s Business Analysis for Practitioners as well – especially between business analysis and project management. This is actually why the collaboration points are so great. It clears up a lot of the grey area.

Q: So for business analysis, should we pursue the BA certification at PMI or IIBA?

A: It really depends on your area of focus. Generally, if you are a pure BA who works more on strategic initiatives rather than projects, the IIBA certifications are probably a better fit. If you work mainly on projects or are a hybrid project manager (PM)/BA, the PMI-PBA would likely be a better fit.

Comment: I love that collaboration point as well. This is what I was referring to earlier that is missing from v3 for me.

A: Agreed! Absolutely love these in the PMI business analysis practice guide. According to the 2014 PMI Pulse of the Profession Requirements Management Report, more than 50 percent of organizations want to see an increase in integration between business analysis and project management professions. Furthermore, almost 70 percent of organizations indicate that role collaboration between PMs and BAs are essential for project success. Unfortunately, most of the time, PMs and BAs are unsure of how to collaborate, and there is still a lot of role confusion on what the BA actually does. It is definitely a step in the right direction to fill this gap.

Comment: I feel like the workforce is not ready yet for the direction the IIBA is going with v3. That’s why the PMI-PBA is more appealing – because it’s more relevant to today’s work environment.

A: Interesting point. Most of us who are BAs do work on projects. There are, however, folks out there who perform strategic analysis for organizations, which is by definition business analysis, but these more senior professionals aren’t typically titled BAs.

Q: I am a CBAP and also certified in training and development and change management. Is there value in getting the PMI-PBA certification?

A: Again, it depends on your career goals. The IIBA focuses on a more strategic perspective on business analysis, where PMI focuses on business analysis within the realm of projects and programs. If your focus is on both, then you may want to pursue both.

Comment: I do hope Global Knowledge will be hosting a certification prep class soon – online or in person.

A: Global Knowledge currently offers prep courses for both certifications: CBAP/CCBA Certification Prep Boot Camp and PMI-PBA Certification Boot Camp.

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