This December, as planned, PMI has published its PMI Guide to Business Analysis.
This new body of knowledge and standard is added to those already existing in Project, Programme and Portfolio Management, and has arisen due to growing interest in the discipline of Business Analysis as a key factor for the success of programmes and projects. From the moment of its publication, this guide has naturally become the main study material for the PMI-PBA certification (although at the time of writing, this article is not included within the reference material).
Its purpose is to define the WHAT and WHY of Business Analysis, and is a guide on how to implement it, complementing, expanding and providing a reference framework to previous Practices Guides (Business Analysis for Practitioners and Requirements Management).
It offers a framework for Business Analysis at the Portfolio, Programme and Project level, which is flexible and adaptable to any sector, organisation and context, providing common terminology (around 500 terms defined in the glossary), processes, practices, techniques (around 100) and tools, and a set of skills (around 40) for the business analyst.
For the Guide, the value provided by Business Analysis is summarised in the following points:
- Identifying and providing solutions to business needs
- Managing risks and reducing reworking
- Minimising product faults and recalls, and loss of client confidence
- Achieving satisfaction of interested parties
As with the equivalent guide for Project Management (PMBOK Guide), this framework is organised into 35 processes grouped into groups of processes and knowledge areas.
The Groups of Processes refer to logical groupings of
processes depending on the type of work to be carried out within them, without having to correspond to phases of the lifecycle, without any sequence or timing being prescribed. They are as follows:
- Definition and alignment. Processes carried out to investigate and evaluate viability, define scope and align the portfolio, programmes and projects with the strategy of the organisation
- Initiation. Processes carried out to define the objectives of the portfolio, programme or project and assign necessary resources
- Planning. Processes carried out to determine the optimal focus of the BA activities, depending on the type of project and interested parties
- Execution. Processes carried out to obtain, analyse, model, define, verify, validate, prioritise and approve all kinds of product information (requirements)
- Monitoring and control. Processes carried out to evaluate the impact of changes on the product, evaluate the performance of the business analysis for the portfolio, programme or project, and promote the continuous communication and participation of the interested parties
- Releasing. Processes carried out to determine whether all or part of a solution can be released, and approval obtained to begin the transition to the operational teams that assume responsibility for the product.
The Knowledge Areas refer to fields or areas of specialisation commonly used when we carry out Business Analysis. They are as follows:
- Evaluation of Needs. Analysing current problems and opportunities of the business to understand what is needed to reach the desired future state
- Involvement/participation of interested parties. Identifying and analysing individuals or groups of people who have an interest in the result of the solution and determining how to collaborate and communicate with them
- Attainment. Planning, preparing, undertaking and confirming results of the actions of gathering information from different sources
- Analysis. Examining, deconstructing, synthesising and clarifying information in order to obtain better understanding, completion and approval
- Traceability and Monitoring. Tracing, approving and evaluating changes to product information to manage it throughout the business analysis work
- Evaluation of the Solution. Validating a full solution or segment of a solution that has been implemented to see to what extent it fulfils the needs of the business and provides the desired value
Finally, and even rereading, I would not compare this publication and the BABOK v3 Guide published two years ago, although at first they seem to be two different approaches towards the same function.
A positive factor of both of these guides existing is that they give greater prominence and importance to BA, allowing it to reach many more people. Hopefully this will result in greater maturity of business analysis in organisations.