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BABOK Guide v3: Whats New?

Now, its finally come true as of September 30, 2016, the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) launches their new certification program based on BABOK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) Guide Version 3. The new BABOK version first appeared eighteen months ago in April 2015, but through all that time (till September 22, 2016), you could be certified based on the old certification program. What has changed?

Now, its finally come true as of September 30, 2016, the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) launches their new certification program based on BABOK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) Guide Version 3. The new BABOK version first appeared eighteen months ago in April 2015, but through all that time (till September 22, 2016), you could be certified based on the old certification program. What has changed?

First of all, now there are four certification levels:

IIBA Certifications

Source: http://www.iiba.org/Certification-Recognition/certification2016.aspx.

However, the knowledge and skills requirements for the and levels actually remain the same as before. But to be admitted to the certification you may need more Professional Development (PD) Hours 35 PD hours instead of 21 PD hours, as it was before and remains true for (according to information received from IIBA, but not officially confirmed on the web site yet).

 Level  Experience      Required knowledge and skills
 ECBA  Little or absent   Knowledge and understanding of business analysis and the BABOK Guide
 CCBA      2-3 years Practical knowledge and skills of solving typical business analysis tasks. Recommends actions in small and understandable projects. Adapts and applies rules. 
 CBAP   Over 5 years Advanced knowledge. Directs actions to solve business tasks, including new and badly structured ones. Creates rules. 
 CBATL   Over 10 years Business analysis expert, actively involved in expertise development. 

And how has the BABOK Guide changed in comparison to Version 2? Even a glimpse at the new version would be enough to see that the changes are significant: the volume is much bigger over 500 pages, while Version 2 had around 300. But the size is not the main thing. What is really important is that the new version could be called more mature: it offers a new business analysis concept model, clearly and fully defines different areas of its application, gives an added list of business analyst competencies, and describes more techniques.

The Business Analysis Core Concept Model (BACCM) defines six core concepts which form a well-structured and comprehensive foundation of business analysis:

  • Change
  • Need
  • Solution
  • Stakeholder
  • Value
  • Context

Because each knowledge area is described as an interaction of a group of such concepts, and the provides a full picture of their relationship, the structure of business analysis tasks and actions becomes more comprehensible, logical, and interconnected.

By the way, the new version offers a much more detailed analysis of the concept of "Change". Change is defined as a controlled transformation of an organization in response to needs. It also describes the business analysts responsibilities with regard to defining the feasibility of changes and preparing the organization for such changes. The new BABOK Guide gives so much importance to change that it even defines business analysis as a practice that helps the organization to change (unlike the definition given in the BABOK Guide v2 according to which business analysis is intended to help the organization to achieve its goals).

For successful implementation of changes, the BABOK Guide v3 extends the business analysts responsibilities (previously centered around requirements) to solution design. This complies with real-life projects in which the business analyst may act as the designer of a solution or its part (for example to design business processes, organizational structure, policies, etc.) or take part in the designing process.

The definition of requirement has also changed and become deeper. The BABOK Guide v3 defines requirement as a representation of the customers need based on understanding what real value the need can bring to the customer.

Another interesting inovation in the BABOK Guide v3 is the description of so called perspectives different business analysis approaches to various subject matters and various types of projects, such as Agile development, information technology, business architecture, business intelligence, business process management. These specialized business analysis approaches can help novice analysts master the BA profession, while expert analysts may use the perspectives as a road map or checklist. The previous BABOK version assumed that a business analyst was related to an IT project one way or another.

Furthermore, the BABOK Guide v3 provides a substantially revised list of recommended techniques: there are a dozen new techniques, and the names of some techniques mentioned in version 2 have been changed.

It should be noted that all these changes have emerged and will continue to appear in the BABOK Guide not randomly but as a reflection of the practices and trends accepted in business analysis. IIBA plans to update the BABOK Guide every 3-5 years to keep it up-to-date and practical. When developing each new version of the Guide, IIBA relies on the experience and expertise of the large community of BA professionals who discuss the BABOK content and suggest changes and necessary additions to the Guide.

The structure of the knowledge areas mentioned above has been also changed in the new BABOK Guide some of them now have different names and content, and some new knowledge areas have been introduced. This, of course, has led to certain changes in the structure of our BABOK courses. The table below shows the comparison with the courses that were conducted for the BABOK Guide v2.

 Topic  BABOK v.2 Course      BABOK v.3 Course  Duration, hrs
Introduction to BA      ---      REQ-050  8
 Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring      REQ-021      REQ-051  8
 Elicitation and Collaboration      REQ-040      REQ-052  16
 Requirements Life Cycle Management      REQ-043      REQ-053   8
 Strategy Analysis       ---      REQ-054*  16
 Requirements Analysis and Design Definition      REQ-049      REQ-055*  16
 Solution Evaluation       ---      REQ-056*   8

* The course is currently under development or is updated.


We have reviewed all the courses, and assigned sequential numbers to them to help you easily plan your movement through courses. Besides, a new separate course covers the introduction to business analysis, helping participants learn about the BABOK, IIBA, and certification (levels, examination mechanisms, requirements, etc.), and presenting the BA basic concepts and definitions, including the core concept model (BACCM). Passing this introductory course (REQ-050) is required for admittance to other BABOK v3 courses listed in the table.

Dmitry Priymak
Business analysis expert

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