Search This Blog

Friday, September 25, 2015

Update on the PBA

I got a few questions lately about the status of the PMI Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide which I helped write last year.  The primary question was whether the PMI-PBA exam was now based entirely on the Practice Guide.
The practice guide was released electronically in December 2014 and in print in January 2015. It was available for free download from PMI through June of this year. As far as I know, the guide is still just one of 11 books on which the PMI-PBA exam is based. Although, each of the five writers of the guide, including myself, submitted 50 to 100 questions to be included in the question bank for the exam. So there may be some bias in the questions toward information in the guide. Additionally as we wrote the guide we were aware of the books in the last (for example several of the sections I wrote were based on my book, which is a natural thing to do of course).
I advise anyone taking the exam to read the guide because for the most part it is a very good summation of all of the books. However I don't know whether just reading the guide will be enough for someone without a lot of experience as a business analyst. I have not taken the exam, even though I have the certification. But remember that the exam was given for six months during the pilot before the guide was released so the first set of questions were based solely on the BA reading list.  
In general, after talking to many business analysts who have taken, and passed, the exam, a solid understanding of the general aspects of business analysis will likely suffice although all the books on the list are certainly worth reading even if they weren't part of the PBA exam.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Business analysts in Scrum - one company's view

I am asked continually whether business analysts have a place in agile, and in particular Scrum where there is no explicit role for a business analyst.  I always answer yes and set about to describe the possibilities and how business analysts are being used in Scrum.  
For example, here at a global financial company in New York they are bringing new graduates into the company to be business analysts, and to work in Scrum (their flavor of Scrum).  The business analysts were just told yesterday that their primary duties in Scrum will be to write and decompose user stories, working with both the business people on behalf of product owners and with the developers, and to write test cases and perform testing along side the QA analysts.  However, they are being trained in classic business analysis functions. None of the graduates are IT specialists or programmers.  A couple, for example, have advanced degrees in economics and finance. So they are in fact "business" analysts. And they will be working in Scrum.