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The BABOK Ate My Laptop

I was doing some research to gather various industry opinions on a topic. So like any good requirements person, I thought I would check the BABOK! I headed out to the IIBA website to open it. I opened it online and remembered it was 329 pages, so I saved it to my hard drive, thinking that would be better for performance. And while it might have been “better”, it was far from usable.

I had to quickly jump into the document to get what I needed and close the PDF so that I could actually do other things on my laptop again. I checked my system resources and it was using 88% of my CPU and about ½ a gig of memory! And what should have taken about 2 minutes, took me 15 minutes.

This is my primary issue with the BABOK – usability. There may be fantastic information in it, but it’s so hard to find it, that I’m completely resistant to do so. The irony is that I think we all know how unusable 300 page requirements documents are. And we know how important it is to understand how your user will use a product in writing the requirements. Are we the shoemaker’s kids here? If you are going to have over 300 pages of “how to” data, surely there is a better representation of that than a flat file. For example, a navigable wiki-site would be more easy to use. It could be more of a tree-like implementation that allows varying views of the data and fast paths to get down into the details.

Now all of that said, I’d hate to just complain and not try to help fix the problem! The BABOK version 2 is coming out end of March for review, and so I hope to be able to provide my input if this has not been improved.

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