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New Post 7/30/2012 4:27 PM
User is offline ibtisam.jawad
15 posts
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Have you wondered (about the BABOK 2.0) ...  
Modified By ibtisam.jawad  on 7/30/2012 5:29:56 PM)

Have you read BABOK 2.0 and then wondered if it was written by a bunch of brain dead monkeys? If so you are in the same boat as I. Sorry for being harsh. Since BABOK 2.0 is copyrighted I cannot really copy any text from it on here. However, I believe I can refer to section numbers in it so those of you that have a copy can review it for yourself and then provide your feedback.

My main problem with BABOK is that it tries to over complicate simple things. Just look at the name of it. Who in their right mind versions a body of knowledge. BABOK claims that it contains the sum of knowledge related to the profession of business analysis. If so why is there a need to version it. Business analysis is not a dead profession so one can argue that knowledge of it will continue to grow. Will IIBA continue to version the Bok? It seems that the need to version is just influenced from how software is versioned. They tried too hard to make it look technical.

I don't believe it was ever edited by a professional Editor (do those exist?) There are several grammatical errors and often entire words from a sentence are missing. Some sentences have unnecessary punctuation and some even try to combine multiple un-related streams of thought.

Some sections contain information that does not have any bearing on the main topic. Where techniques should be discussed for Activity A, they list a bunch of techniques that can only be used to perform activities that use outcomes of A as an input i.e. those activities have no bearing on the task at hand.

They've come up with complex and arcane names for simple things. For instance it's usually well understood what a Process Flowchart means. BABOK's label of this is not that well known, although they do claim that it is.

Often they describe techniques that are not well-known at all or just plain wrong for their application. One example is Decision Analysis. It is a very complex system and is never really used to analyze available approaches early on in projects.

I would love to hear from everyone here. Please feel free to correct me and point me in the right direction. If everyone agrees that it is OK for me to reference section numbers, I can provide specific examples for my concerns above.

 
New Post 8/1/2012 3:23 AM
User is offline Kimbo
454 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Have you wondered (about the BABOK 2.0) ...  
Modified By Kimbo  on 8/1/2012 4:23:49 AM)

Mate,

Such vitriol. Have a read of this previous forum conversation: http://www.modernanalyst.com/Community/Forums/tabid/76/forumid/17/threadid/6853/scope/posts/Default.aspx

It talks about some of the things you have brought up. 

Really the BABOK is an attempt to formalise our profession. Its all we have, for better or worse. I confess that since the above conversation I've joined the IIBA and have started reading parts of the BABOK. Especially the Agile extension as I've just started working on my first agile project.

More relevant to me is how do BAs fit into agile? After day 1 of sprint 1 today I'm feeling pretty useless and irrelevant :(

Kimbo

 
New Post 8/1/2012 7:44 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Have you wondered (about the BABOK 2.0) ...  

Hi:

it is impossible to understand the flow of BA behavior advocated by the BABOK.   Notice how the BABOK is organized:  With extensive use of non-integrated input/process/output diagrams.   It is the non-integrated aspect of the BABOK that largely causes headaches to readers.  This is just another  way of saying that the doc is very disorganized.  And from Tech Writing 101, disorganization results in over complication.

For fun, I once tried to convert parts of the BABOK into INTEGRATED input/process/output diagrams (otherwise known as Data Flow Diagrams).   OOOhhhhh my God!   The amount of mental flip-flops that I had to do to with a formal approach to trying to integrate the doc was huge.   A person who trys to approach this document with out the aid of a formal analysis technique, i.e., a person who trys to just read the document, is gauranteed to fail at gaining other than a very disjointed understanding.

Besides being disorganized, the BABOK suffers from another tragic flaw:  It presents what is popular - not what logically makes sense.   BABOK statements like "data flow diagrams are for documenting system requirements, while BPMN is for modeling business processes DO reflect very popular notions.   Unfortunately, they are very incorrect.

Does anyone else see the humor of the BABOK?  A requirements spec largely specifies the behavior (of a system consisting or people and/or computers).   The BABOK trys to specify behavior (of BA's).  In other words, the BABOK attempts to be  requirements spec on how to create a requirements spec!   Can you imagine handing your boss a requirements spec so disorganized and containing behavioral recommendations that make no logical sense?

Tony

 
New Post 8/1/2012 5:14 PM
User is offline ibtisam.jawad
15 posts
9th Level Poster


Re: Have you wondered (about the BABOK 2.0) ...  
Modified By ibtisam.jawad  on 8/1/2012 6:18:35 PM)

Kimbo, I'm a business analyst who works in the Agile environment. My team sees value to the work I do. For a while the team worked without a business analyst. This caused problems identifying scope and requirements for huge projects, and also identifying what took priority.

Agile is fine for small projects, websites, mobile apps, flash games and such. It takes a nose dive when you have one team that works and supports an enterprise class product, or works simultaneously on several projects. One problem is that, for large projects, some features and functions cannot be implemented whole in one sprint. Some of these cannot even be broken into smaller features that will provide any business value on their own. Therefore, the classic Agile statement "if its too big, break it down" doesn't always work.

I can confidently say that the importance of your role as a business analyst will become aparent once your business asks your team for marketing drivers for the project, or if for some reason the project goes off track they may ask "why" that happened, or how stories evolved. Once you have a huge project, you will also quickly realize that backlog stories do not provide you with a complete picture of "what" it is supposed to accomplish. Stories often center around the "how" rather than what, and for some technical stuff the acceptance criteria doesn't really say "A should do B to be accepted". But without that technical detail, the requested feature cannot be implemented.

Also, would your team rather have your developers spend sprint time trying to figure out what a marketing person really wants (as opposed to what they say they want), or have someone do some leg work up front so the actual need is identified. The developers can then fiugre out how to do the what. This is a much more effective use of the developers' time. Imagine if your developers have to read a 200-page regulation in the middle of a sprint trying to figure out how to make the software comply. Would you consider this productive? Or would it make things easier if someone had already identified the gaps for them? I believe that the latter works better.

Agile does help with quickly reacting to changing business priorities. Place emphasis on change and risk management with agile or you will quickly start losing sight of the "what" and "why".

As for the BABOK, I do not subscribe to the "Its all we have". I think business analysis is something that anyone with an analytical mind can perform, without the need for frameworks and formalization. The BABOK does mention, though very obtusely, that do whatever works best for a particular situation. I also think that the BABOK and CBAP is a rather crude attempt at making money. If BABOK indeed is the sum of knowledge for our profession, then open its development to analysts around the world. Or at least to a subset of analysts who have some academic cred in the field. Why not make the development of the BoK an "open" thing rather than limit it to paid committee members. Do you think that the BoK for "Physics" or "Medicine" was developed by a closed group? No. These took ages to develop and required input from lots of members of the society as whole. I do not think that a select few can tell us what constitutes the body of knowledge, especially when they haven't put it through any peer review. Just my personal thoughts. Sorry for being so long winded.

 
New Post 8/2/2012 2:03 AM
User is offline Kimbo
454 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Have you wondered (about the BABOK 2.0) ...  

Hi Jawad,

Well I heard that IIBA is a not for profit organisation? Wonder if that's true?

With a young, poorly delineated profession, someone at least has had a go. Could be a better effort I agree but rather than whinge about it, why not get involved or come up with something better?

I have railed against it in the past but realised I was pretty much wasting my breath. They recently advertised for board members here in Sydney but I didn't match their criteria. Too short or tall or something I forget :)

Kimbo

 
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