The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK 2.0) is literally the guide to the profession of business analysis. Every business analyst finds it useful, and none should be without it. The guide literally sets the standard for the practice of BA, and its value lies in the fact that it’s written exclusively for practitioners.
- Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring: This area explains how to effectively plan your project. Some of the items to consider are scope and which stakeholders, tools, tasks and techniques you’ll need to get the job done.
- Requirements Elicitation: This section describes the interview process and the best way to extract needs from stakeholders (and part of the challenge of a really seasoned BA is to help recognize needs that users don’t know they have!). Specifically, items such as metrics (tracking the time spent eliciting requirements) and elicitation techniques (prototyping and mind-mapping are just two) are among the topics covered.
- Requirements Management and Communication: This portion describes how to identify business needs (basically the “why” of the project. Requirements are the “how”) and state the scope of the solutions. This is a crucial piece of the analyst’s work. Examples include the SMART criteria of measurement, along with SWOT analysis and other measurement factors that make identifying this root-cause data objective and tangible.
- Enterprise Analysis: This part involves describing the crucial (and sometimes political) process of keeping everyone both in the loop and on the same page regarding your project’s direction and progress. The chapter delves into details such as the requirements review and approval processes (including record-keeping/scribing).
- Requirements Analysis: This area elaborates on how to write/state requirements that will meet business needs. There are specific criteria requirements you must meet to be considered valid. Key sections include methods for prioritizing and organizing your requirements and also describe the most beneficial techniques for requirements presentation (including state diagrams, prototyping, data flow diagrams, process modeling and more).
- Solution Assessment and Validation: This section explains how to choose the best solutions for specific business needs and assessing how well the chosen solution worked after its implementation, i.e., a post mortem. This chapter will help you understand risks, dependencies, and limitations that need to be discovered before proposing any solution.
There is also a methodology addition called the “Agile extension.” Although its purpose is to provide readers with an understanding of how business analysis can be performed within an Agile environment, there is some controversy surrounding it because it only mentions some Agile and hybrid Agile methods. Scrum, XP and Kanban are presented in high level summaries, and then business analysis activities from the BABOK are mapped to the main events that occur in the general Agile environment. Lastly there is list of techniques that can be applied to the BABOK activities in an Agile setting.
Becoming familiar with BABOK’s content is a key to your effectiveness and success as a business analyst. If you haven’t studied, now’s the time to start.