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Saturday, July 30, 2011

What is the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK)?

The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge is the sum of knowledge within the profession of Business Analysis and reflects what is considered currently accepted practice. As with other professions, the body of knowledge is defined and enhanced by the business analysis professionals who apply it. The BABOK describes Business Analysis areas of knowledge, their associated activities and tasks and the skills necessary to be effective in their execution.

The BABOK provides a basic reference for anyone interested in the profession of Business Analysis. The primary purpose of this guide is to identify the Business Analysis Knowledge Areas that are generally recognized and accepted as good practice. The Guide provides a general overview of each Knowledge Area and the list of activities and tasks associated with each.

The BABOK is intended to describe and define business analysis as a discipline, rather than define the responsibilities of a person with the job title of business analyst. Business analysis may be performed by people with job titles such as systems analyst, process analyst, project manager, product manager, developer, QA analyst, business architect, or consultant, among others.

Knowledge Areas A knowledge area groups together a related set of tasks and techniques. The Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge is not a methodology. While it defines the activities, tasks and knowledge that a business analysis professional needs to know, it does not do so from the perspective of prescribing an order or sequence.
Specifically, the knowledge areas do not define a business analysis methodology. They do define what the BA needs to know to work within any analysis process or overall so-utions development methodology. While the flow between tasks and knowledge areas may appear to follow a well-defined and progressive sequence, this structure was primarily developed for pedagogical purposes. In reality, business analysts are likely to find themselves performing tasks in all knowledge areas in rapid succession, iteratively, or, in the case of a requirements workshop, simultaneously!

Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring is the knowledge area that covers how we determine which activities are necessary to perform in order to complete a business analysis effort. It covers identification of stakeholders, selection of business analysis techniques, the process we will use to manage our requirements, and how we assess the progress of the work in order to make necessary changes. Business analysis planning is a key input to the project plan, and the project manager is responsible for organizing and coordinating business analysis activities with the needs of the rest of the project team.

Elicitation describes how we work with stakeholders to find out what their needs are and ensure that we have correctly and completely understood their needs.

Requirements Management and Communication describes how we manage con-flicts, issues and changes and ensure that stakeholders and the project team remain in agreement on the solution scope. Depending on the complexity and methodology of the project, this may require that we manage formal approvals, baseline and track different versions of requirements documents, and trace requirements from origination to implementation.

Enterprise Analysis describes how we take a business need, refine and clarify the definition of that need, and define a solution scope that can feasibly be implemented by the business. Here we will talk about problem definition and analysis, business case development, feasibility studies, and the definition of a solution scope.

Requirements Analysis describes how we progressively elaborate the solution definition in order to enable the project team to design and build a solution that will meet the needs of the business and stakeholders. In order to do that, we have to analyze the stated requirements of our stakeholders to ensure that they are correct, assess the current state of the business to identify and recommend improvements, and ultimately verify and validate the results.

Solution Assessment and Validation covers the role of business analysis once the pro-ject team is ready to propose a solution. It describes how we assess proposed solutions to determine which solution best fits the business need, identify gaps and shortcomings in solutions, and determine necessary workarounds or changes to the solution. It also describes how we assess deployed solutions to see how well they met the original need in order to enable businesses to assess the performance and effectiveness of projects.

Underlying Competencies describes the behaviors, knowledge, and other characteristics that support effective business analysis.


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