To fully understand the BABOK V3 business analysis framework, we have to go back to the previous version of BABOK® Guide – version 2. At that time IIBA® used a slightly different definition of business analysis:
“Business analysis is a set of tasks and techniques used to work as a liaison among stakeholders in order to understand the structure, policies, and operations of an organization, and to recommend solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals.”
In the previous post I mentioned that BABOK® Guide was created by professionals for professionals; it is based on the experience of experts in the business analysis field. The experts first identified all the tasks that a business analyst was responsible for. Next, they grouped them into the following 6 key knowledge areas:
-Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring,
-Elicitation and Collaboration
-Requirements Life Cycle Management
-Requirements Analysis and Design Definition
Figure 1 Business Analysis Framework
Strategy Analysis, Requirements Analysis and Design Definition and Solution Evaluation (depicted as an inner circle in figure 1) form the core of the business analysis work. To perform these activities effectively, the activities in the outer circle are required: Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring, Elicitation and Collaboration, and Requirements Life Cycle Management.
To successfully execute tasks, a business analyst can use multiple techniques. Each task in BABOK® lists a number of techniques that business analyst consider, when performing a task.
Also a skill set of a business analyst is important. BABOK® Guide has developed a competency scheme that addresses the essential skills for this field. The competencies listed by BABOK® Guide help in performing the task efficiently and effectively.
We can illustrate the above mentioned aspects in a following model:
Figure 2 Dependency between knowledge area, task, technique and competency.
Each task within a knowledge area is defined in more detail in terms of
-main activities that can take place when executing a task and help transforming inputs to outputs,
-stakeholders involved in the task,
-guidelines and tools that a business analyst shall consider when performing a task, and
-techniques that may be used.
This knowledge area focuses on preparing to and monitoring the execution of business analysis work. The old proverb says “Proper preparation prevents poor performance”; in this knowledge area we plan how to approach our activities, how to involve stakeholders, understand and document roles and responsibilities and define how to structure of the information we will obtain throughout business analysis assignment. Additionally, knowing that we will have setbacks, we also plan how to track the progress of business analysis activities and improve them or take corrective actions, when necessary.
Business analysts collaborate with stakeholders and obtain/elicit information required to understand needs and the organizational context to develop valuable solutions. In this knowledge area we prepare for elicitation, conduct it, and communicate results with stakeholders. We also try to keep our stakeholders involved and collaborative to what we do.
Requirements are rarely a one off activity. Therefore we have to manage requirements. The reasons are diverse, e.g.: an internal/external audit, a maintenance contract with the supplier. The tasks belonging to this knowledge area are: requirements prioritization and approval, setting up traceability, requirements maintenance, and changed control process.
This knowledge area focuses on defining the true business need that aligns with organization’s mission and objectives. It is about understanding what the required future situation is from the perspective of the key stakeholders. Knowing the current situation and the future situation allow us to define actions that have to take place in order to successfully achieve the required future state. In this area we also perform risk management.
This knowledge area is concerned with processing of business analysis information we receive through the elicitation efforts. This information can be divers, therefore we may use models to cross check the input and obtain sharpness on what’s required. In this knowledge area we define the requirements, verify them and validate them. Requirements feasibility is checked and we also start thinking about possible solutions. Solution analysis helps us to select one with greatest value for the stakeholders and organizations
As we develop a solution, we must also check whether what we deliver matches the stakeholders’ expectations. In this knowledge area we define relevant solution performance measures, execute them and analyse the results in order to determine what stands on the way to make the solution valuable to the organization. We recommend actions to remove these barriers either from the solution itself or the organization to ensure maximum business value is delivered.
In this post you gained basic knowledge of the BABOK® business analysis framework and its 6 knowledge areas. You understand the relation between knowledge area, task, competence and technique. The next post will provide you a deep dive into the first knowledge area: Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring.
If you wish to get more in depth information about these knowledge areas, competencies or techniques please consider buying the BABOK® Guide, or become a member of International Institute of Business Analysis. As a IIBA member you receive your own (electronic) copy of the BABOK® Guide for further study.
BA Coach also provides online workshops about the BABOK® .