Agile Extension – BABOK in agile world

“A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge®” (commonly known as BABOK) is beyond doubt a prime, comprehensive and respected source of knowledge and best practice in the Business Analysis domain. In my view, it should be the root of knowledge of every business analyst.

There are some critical voices raising an argument that BABOK is mostly concerned in traditional methodology of software development, and that it emphasizes stages and formalization, making it difficult to translate to Agile practice. This charge, however is not entirely justified, is addressed by issuing of “Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide”.

What is the Extension publication?

It is an extension of the BABOK’s content, edited jointly by the IIBA and the Agile Alliance. The involvement of the Agile Alliance indicates clearly the organization’s shift towards Agile methodology.

Agile Extension is not as massive piece of work as the main one (it is about 115 pages long, plus the appendices). It is reasonable in size and straightforward in content.

Why is it important?

It starts with an Introduction chapter containing a description of Core Concept Model (already known from BABOK) and its application to the Agile environment. There is also a description of what the Agile Mindset is, supplemented with presentation of the Principles of Agile Business Analysis.

Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide characterizes a business analysis from three perspectives: Strategy, Initiative and Delivery. There are also 27 different techniques discussed, which may be successfully applied to each of these perspectives in Agile business analysis. There is also a description of already established ways to handle Backlog Refinements, Reviews or Behavior Driven Development along with some of the less obvious ones, like the Kano Analysis or Real Options. Some of the techniques talked about in Agile Extension are based on the very popular in Agile development concepts of User Stories.

Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide – certification

Of course, along the extended BABOK issue, the IIBA has developed a correlated certification path – the Agile Analysis Certification (IIBA®-AAC). The exam itself consists of 85 questions and lasts 2 hours. An interesting feature is that it can be taken online – a computer and a web cam will do.

My recommendations

  • If you are a Business Analyst working in agile environment, make sure to check the Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide
  • Pay special attention to the Principles of Agile Business Analysis and various techniques descriptions