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  • Zdjęcie autoraKarolina Zmitrowicz

IIBA BABOK Guide, IREB, BCS - do not mix guides with methodologies

Sometimes I meet people deeply disappointed with BABOK Guide, IREB, standards.... People who say that these sources are completely useless, unusable, do not tell you how to do business analysis step by step.... Wait, BABOK Guide, IREB, etc. are not methodologies or instructions for installing equipment - they will not tell you how to achieve the goal on a step-by-step basis. So what are they?


BABOK Guide by IIBA, IREB CPRE, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT Certification Programs, standards, process frameworks – they are not to give you ready to use methodology

Aspiring and seasoned business analysts often turn to industry-standard resources like the BABOK Guide, IREB (International Requirements Engineering Board), and BCS (British Computer Society) certification programs for guidance and direction in their projects. Unfortunately, just as often their expectations of these sources are completely unrealistic.

One common misconception is that these certification programs and guides offer a ready-to-use, step-by-step methodology for conducting business analysis. This belief leads to the mistaken notion that simply adhering to the prescribed guidelines will guarantee success in any business analysis endeavor. However, this couldn't be further from the truth.


The BABOK Guide, IREB, standards are not intended to provide a one-size-fits-all solution or a set of detailed instructions to follow blindly. Instead, their primary purpose is to offer information about best practices, methodologies, and tools that business analysts can use in their work.


Each business analysis project is unique, influenced by various factors such as the industry, organization, project scope and complexity, and stakeholders involved. Consequently, applying a rigid, predefined methodology without considering the specific context and requirements of the project can lead to complete failure. As an outcome, people complain that the BABOK / IREB are out of step with reality, do not fit the current world and generally question the value of the knowledge contained in these sources.


You need to understand that these resources serve as toolboxes rather than ready-made solutions. They present an extensive array of techniques, approaches, and methodologies that analysts can choose from based on the particular demands of their projects. Business analysts are expected to apply their critical thinking and analytical skills (one of key skills of a BA, by the way) to evaluate and select the most suitable tools and practices for each scenario.


To be successful in the field of business analysis, you must understand that the responsibility lies with you to identify the objectives of your business analysis projects, determine the appropriate actions needed to achieve those objectives, and decide how to carry out those actions effectively. One of IREB RE principles “problem – requirement – solution” fits perfectly to plan our activities - first define your problem, goal, aspiration, then define the requirements for the process / resources, only then think about solutions (methodologies, tools, etc.).


The true value of BABOK Guide, IREB, BCS certification programs and similar sources lies in empowering business analysts with knowledge and insights, providing a platform for continuous learning, and fostering a deeper understanding of various business analysis practices.


So, the next time you delve into these resources, remember that they are not a panacea for all your business analysis challenges. Instead, treat them as your toolbox offering a repository of practices and tools that can be customized and applied thoughtfully to address the unique demands of each your project.

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