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Getting ready for the Business Analyst Book of Knowledge (BABOK) version 3!

I recently was recently selected for the core team for the IIBA’s BABOK version 3. We are about to kick-off the process together in Toronto, so I figured I’d take some time to gather my thoughts in advance of going.

First of all, I am fortunate to have some good friends at EBG Consulting who could share their lessons learned from past BABOK work. In fact, Ellen and Mary did a retrospective with previous BOK committee members to learn their lessons learned and those can be found here and here.

In terms of the BABOK version 2, there were some areas that jumped out at me for improvement. To prepare for this effort, I did go back and reread the BABOK. In coming up with my list of suggestions, I actually used one of my favorite brainstorming and organization techniques – the affinity diagram.

No promises that these will be in version 3 at all, but these are the things that personally struck me as important.

1. Improve Usability

I recall the first version of the BABOK was a huge document that literally sucked all my system resources when I tried to use it. Now, it’s certainly orders of magnitude better now…and my system probably has more resources to support it, but I still think there is room to grow. The PDF format today is challenging for navigating and flipping around within it, so I would love to see the BABOK in an online structure, more like a wiki. We use a Sharepoint wiki for our internal methodology so I’m a touch biased towards this, but it’s so nice because I can jump back and forth around the content. But also, I can create different views of the data (one sorted by techniques, one sorted by tasks, etc.) and use them almost as tables of contents to find and jump into the content the way I need in the moment. It’s probably a long shot, but this would make it so much easier to use in my opinion.

2. “How-to” steps

I would love to see more content around how to actually execute some of the tasks and techniques. I think the BABOK has a great amount of detail around what to do, but less so about how to actually do it. As a few examples, I particularly think we can beef up the content in elicitation, UAT, and Vendor Selection.

3. Examples

I learn from examples more than anything. It’s great if you tell me about something, but if you can actually show me in context, I have a much better grasp of it. So with that, I’d like to see more examples throughout.

4. Enterprise Analysis

In general this section is pretty new and therefore seems less developed.  I think there is a lot to be added, specifically around using Business Objectives.

Outside that, I have a bunch of other ideas to improve the content, but this is what I was thinking when I was first interested in working with this team. Now mind you, there will be a very specific scope to the BABOK version 3 updates, so I really have no idea that any of my original observations will even be touched. But we’ll keep you posted as the team gets started!

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