Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK ® Guide) is the ultimate guide to the business analysis art. Few analysts can really work without relying on it.
The guide is described as “a globally recognized standard for the practice of business analysis,” written with the aim of defining the skills and knowledge that a seasoned professional should display… and that’s just what it does.
BABOK® is a comprehensive guide that at the same time can be applicable to any industry or knowledge level.
With the BABOK®, analysts:
- will have an authoritative and concise encyclopedia of what they should know to be regarded as competent in every facet of their profession.
- will keep at the forefront and up-to-date in their field, becoming familiar with the latest business analysis practices.
- will gain access to a comprehensive list of techniques and concepts, along with details about how to implement them correctly.
BABOK® thus acts as a common denominator for the profession, providing a consistent standard of what is included in business analysis.
This guide outlines requirements, tasks, stakeholder and skills in a broad way that can be applied within any company.
Clearly, this is not to say that the BABOK® is intended to replace real-world experience or formal education programs, but it is nonetheless an essential reference guide that is comprehensive and covers virtually every aspect of the profession.
The content of this guide is structured in chapters, where each relates to the business analysis knowledge areas, including:
- Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring. This chapter covers how to decide what you need to do to complete an analysis; in short, how to plan your project. It will help you decide intelligently what stakeholders, tools, activities, and techniques you need to get the job done.
- Elicitation. This chapter covers the research process, i.e., how best to “extract” needs from stakeholders and how to recognize needs they don’t know they have. Techniques for doing this, such as brainstorming, are among the topics covered.
- Enterprise Analysis. This chapter describes the key process of keeping everyone up-to-date and on the same page throughout the project lifecycle. The chapter goes into details such as requirements review and approval processes.
- Requirements Analysis. Here it elaborates on how to write and state requirements that will meet business needs. Key sections include methods for prioritizing and organizing requirements, along with the most efficient techniques for presenting requirements, such as status diagrams, flow charts, and more.
- Solution Assessment and Validation. This chapter outlines in detail how to choose the best solutions for specific business needs, as well as assessing how the chosen solution has worked – or didn’t – after its implementation. Here you will learn about risks, dependencies, and limitations that must be identified before offering any solution.
- Requirements Management and Communication. This chapter covers how to identify the business needs, namely the reason for the project. This is a pivotal part of the analyst’s job. The authors include SMART measurement criteria, SWOT analysis, and other measurement factors that make the identification of needs objective and concrete.
Each of these domains is then broken down into a series of tasks that allow the analyst to accomplish the goals of each area.
Each of these tasks includes the following aspects:
- A description of why the task is needed and the expected outcomes
- Required inputs
- Support elements for the correct execution of the task
- Relevant techniques for successfully completing the task
- Stakeholders to be engaged in carrying out the task
- Expected outputs
Each of these topics and many more are thoroughly documented and reviewed, and best practices are defined.
BABOK® covers everything; any relevant business analysis topic is explored.
Furthermore, most chapters are accompanied by diagrams and charts to help the reader understand each concept.
BABOK®, as its authors highlight, is not a methodology for performing business analysis; here you will not find any detailed description of how to carry out the work of business analysis, but you will find a virtual encyclopedia of endless possibilities that gives you an idea of how you can get the job done.
BABOK® in project management
The boundaries between business analysis and project management, in particular, are thin, especially when dealing with organizational change projects.
Moreover, a project manager must be able to both interpret and assess the impact on the organization of the projects they are working on.
This is how the BABOK® can also become an important reference for any project manager.