Today I sat for and passed the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) exam issued by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). I sought this certification simply to communicate my experience throughout my career. I now list this credential as the first item in the list of my certifications. I found it easy to prepare for and found the test as annoyingly convoluted as the PMP exam.
The credential requires 7,500 hours of documented business analysis experience over the previous ten years (I could have listed a lot more, plus even more over the prior eighteen years), recommendations from two references (provided by the owners of the last two companies I worked for), and 35 contact hours of formal study with an approved provider (I took part in an online, interactive seminar series provided by Adaptive US), as well as the exam. The seminar provided by Adaptive was fairly well done and required a decent amount of interaction from the students, including needing to give short presentations on the subjects we were studying. I was able to leverage my experiences and resources on my website to demonstrate my experience very clearly.
Adaptive’s customer service was flat-out amazing. I’ve never encountered a company that does all the little things they do with such speed. Examples include paying your membership fees to IIBA and your exam fees, providing feedback, and forwarding information.
Adaptive’s training materials include a number of online question banks. I went through about 300 questions and reviewed the answers after each session. I skimmed through the BABOK Guide (v3) to get a feel for the structure of the material. I spent a few hours putting together a matrix of techniques used in the different knowledge areas as well as my own version of the outline grid. I noticed that Adaptive’s materials could used a bit of editing and cleaning up but, even more interestingly, I think I may have found an inconsistency in how one of the Guidelines and Tools is labeled in different knowledge areas (Requirements Management Tools / Repository in the Requirements Life Cycle knowledge area vs. Requirements Life Cycle Management Tools in the Requirements Analysis and Design Definition knowledge area). I plan to write to the IIBA to ask if this needs to be clarified.
Here is the two-sheet Excel file I made up to organize my thoughts. (Ignore the scratchwork to the right side of the first sheet.) I’m not sure the end result was useful per se, but the process of creating it got me used to the structure and vocabulary, which was probably helpful. I made up a similar study grid for the PMP exam in 2009, which is here. That actually proved to be more useful for me. I’ll update it some time after the new PMBOK Guide (Sixth Edition) is released in September.
I used this experience to extend my PMP certification out to 2021 and recently paid to have my Scrum certs extended to 2019. For my next trick I need to find out how to extend my Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification beyond early 2018.