ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis
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ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis

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ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis Document Transcript

  • ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis Contents - Introduction - ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis - Which certification is best? - The principles of certification - References - About the author Introduction Business Analysts face a bewildering variety of certification schemes. They can choose from - IIBA CBAP - ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis - Certification awarded by specific training providers after attending their courses (e.g. Villanovau Master Certificate in Business Analysis) . - Certification in specific methods (e.g. Six Sigma Black Belt) - Company certification (typically awarded by consultancy companies) - Software specific certification (E.g. SAP University). The problem is which is best? This article outlines the ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis in terms of what it is and how to get it. However, is the ISEB Diploma the best certification for a business analyst to get? The article goes on to discuss how to answer this question and concludes with some thoughts on certification in principle. ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis This diploma is certainly the most widely accepted professional accreditation within the UK and BCS are in the process of making it even more applicable outside of the that market (details below). The basic process that candidates must follow in order to be awarded the diploma is - pass four certificates in different subject areas taken with commercial exam providers who normally provide the course that must be taken as well. - pass an oral exam taken with BCS. The ISEB Diploma is currently in a period of transition to new curriculum. The reasons given for this are to make it relevant internationally whereas before it has been perceived as a UK accreditation. This is not a straightforward transition as some people will be part way through the old diploma programme. The old and new curriculums are described below together with the provisions being made for the transition. The source of the following text is http://www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/international-bsd- scheme-overview.pdf How does this affect existing ISEB candidates? There will be a greater choice of modules which can be taken and recognised within the BSD Scheme. The existing qualification will remain relevant and, as more overseas candidates obtain the qualification, will have increased international recognition.. Candidates will be able to attend oral examinations under the existing scheme until 28th February 2011. Any candidate who is in the process of taking modules following the existing scheme will be required to complete their oral examination by the end of February 2011. Please note that 28th February 2011 will be the final date for the existing oral examination. When will the new scheme be introduced? ©Guy Beauchamp/smart-BA 2010 Page 1 of 6
  • ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis The revised BSD scheme is available immediately with the new oral examinations being available from 1st February 2010. There is a transition period of 12 months, giving Exam Providers and their candidates sufficient time to adjust their programmes at their own convenience.. Candidates will be able to attend an oral examination using the existing format until 1st February 2011. Existing Diploma in Business Analysis (BA) The Original Diploma in Business Analysis Core Specialist Modules Modules Business Analysis Essentials Benefits Management and Business Acceptance Organisational Context Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis Requirements Engineering Modelling Business Processes Systems Development Essentials Systems Modelling Techniques 3 of the above 1 of the above The existing ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis is awarded following the successful completion of three core modules, one specialist module and an oral examination. The New International Diploma in Business Analysis (BA) Core modules Knowledge-based specialism Practitioner specialism Business Analysis Essentials Organisational Context Modelling Business Processes Requirements Engineering Foundation Certificate in Systems Modelling Techniques Business Analysis Foundation Certificate in IT- Benefits Management & enabled Business Change Business Acceptance Foundation Certificate in Project Systems Development Management Essentials 2 of the above 1 of the above 1 of the above The ISEB International Diploma in Business Analysis is awarded following the successful completion of two core modules, one knowledge based specialist module, one practitioner based specialist module and an oral examination. The modules. The following is a list of the courses in the above tables with descriptions and notes about the courses together with exam details. The “course descriptions” are extracts of the course descriptions on the BCS website at www.bcs.org. Module Course description Notes Benefits This certificate is concerned with the Arguably not core information for a Management and delivery of successful software solutions. Business Analyst and not much in the Business This includes the acceptance and way of the application of formal analysis Acceptance implementation of a software solution, techniques in terms or functional, plus a rigorous approach to benefits process or data requirements. management. There are three key elements to the Exam: The format for the examination is syllabus: a one hour written (open book) • Benefits management examination based on a business • Acceptance testing scenario with 15 minutes reading time. • Solution implementation Business Analysis There are two key elements to the Often mistaken as a the basics of Essentials syllabus: the development of a business business analysis, this certificate is more strategy and the exploration of a about the application of strategic thinking ©Guy Beauchamp/smart-BA 2010 Page 2 of 6
  • ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis Module Course description Notes business issue, whether a problem or to business analysis. opportunity. For the first element, candidates are required to understand a Exam: The format for the examination is range of strategic analysis and a one hour written (open book) performance management techniques. examination based on a business For the second element, they are scenario with 15 minutes reading time. required to be able to apply business analysis techniques within a defined framework. Foundation This certificate covers the broad range of Based on the book “Business Analysis” Certificate in principles and techniques within the published by BCS. General overview of Business Analysis sphere of Business Analysis. the subject area, no depth on anything in particular. Exam: The examination will last one hour and will consist of multiple-choice questions. The examination will be 'closed book', i.e. no notes or books will be allowed in to the examination room. Foundation This certificate is designed for anyone The subject areas are useful for a Certificate in IT- involved in or affected by the exploitation Business Analyst focused on why a enabled Business of IT for business benefit. project is being done, not just how. Change It considers the underlying concepts in the areas of business and requirements Exam: The examination will last one analysis, change management and the hour and will consist of multiple-choice consultancy skills necessary to ensure questions. The examination will be maximum value is achieved from the 'closed book', i.e. no notes or books will implementation of IT-enabled solutions. be allowed in to the examination room. Foundation The Foundation Certificate is designed The clue is in the name: Project Certificate in for anyone involved in or affected by IT Management! Arguably not a core skill Project projects; this extends to users, buyers set for Business Analysts, although they Management and directors. will need to be familiar with the concepts Candidates will be able to demonstrate they should not require any in depth an understanding of the principles of skills in this area unless they are hybrid project management, including planning, BA/PM. monitoring and control, change management, risk management and Exam: The examination will last one communication between all involved. hour and will consist of multiple-choice questions. The examination will be 'closed book', i.e. no notes or books will be allowed in to the examination room. Modelling This certificate focuses on the A set of core skills for a Business Business investigation, modelling, analysis and Analyst. Processes improvement of business processes. Candidates are required to apply Exam: The format for the examination is business process modelling and analysis a one hour written (open book) techniques and understand a framework examination based on a business for business process improvement within scenario with 15 minutes reading time. which these techniques may be applied. Organisational This certificate is concerned with the Arguably not core information for a Context business environment within which Business Analyst and not much in the organisations have to way of the application of formal analysis operate. techniques in terms or functional, ©Guy Beauchamp/smart-BA 2010 Page 3 of 6
  • ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis Module Course description Notes There are three key elements to the process or data requirements. syllabus: • the nature of organisations, their legal Exam: The format for the examination is basis, management and structures a one hour written (open book) • legislation of concern to the IS examination based on a business professional scenario with 15 minutes reading time. • business finance. Requirements This certificate is concerned with the A set of core skills for a Business Engineering Requirements Engineering approach to Analyst. requirements definition. Its focus is on using a systematic approach to eliciting, Exam: The format for the examination is analysing, validating, documenting and a one hour written (open book) managing requirements. examination based on a business scenario with 15 minutes reading time. Systems This certificate is concerned with the Arguably not core information for a Development fundamental skills of systems Business Analyst and not much in the Essentials development. Its focus is way of the application of formal analysis on systems investigation and quality techniques in terms or functional, assurance as it is perceived that these process or data requirements underpin all systems development. The certificate Exam: The format for the examination is also introduces the candidate to how the a one hour written (open book) systems examination based on a business development effort could be organised. scenario with 15 minutes reading time. The syllabus distinguishes between generic lifecycle types, methods and approaches. Systems Modelling The certificate is primarily concerned Some core skills for Business Analysts Techniques with modelling systems from a variety of covering training in UML based models perspectives. It requires candidates to or what BCS call Structured models. construct three main types of model reflecting these individual perspectives Exam: The format for the examination is and to describe the interactions between a one hour written (open book) them. examination based on a business scenario with 15 minutes reading time. The oral exam. There are no details on the oral exam content and structure on the BCS website but www.BusinessAnalystSolutions.com provides the following information: Once candidates have obtained the appropriate number of modules for a Diploma, they will be eligible to sit an oral examination. The Oral will test the communication abilities of the candidate, their ability to apply knowledge to their own, or simulated, work environment. The oral exam last for approximately 1 hour and will involve two examiners. It is recommended that a candidate take the oral examination within six months of completing the set of written examinations but no more than twelve months after the result notification date of the final examination. Candidates who do not take the oral examination within twelve months will not be able to attend the oral examination. ©Guy Beauchamp/smart-BA 2010 Page 4 of 6
  • ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis Which certification is best? The question cannot be answered until we know what “best” means. Best for what? How would we know it was “best” – i.e. what measures would we monitor in order to be able to say that one certification is better than another? If Business Analysis was a legally recognised profession this would be relatively easy to answer. A doctor – for example – cannot practice without holding a set of recognised qualifications and can be prosecuted if they practice without them. There are no such legal restrictions on Business Analysts. Anyone at all can claim to be a Business Analyst and practice as one and have no formal qualifications of any sort at all – and indeed they do! Without the legal restrictions to fall back on, how can “best” be measured? Do employers have notion of what “best” is? A brief survey of the job market will tell you they do not: a minority of jobs will ask for “relevant professional qualifications”, though rather more will ask for a “relevant university degree”. Almost none will demand that any candidate must hold a certain professional qualification – it will be ‘desirable’. So, finally, the answer comes back to the Business Analyst themselves: how are they going to define “best” and use it to select the “best” course? Uncannily like Business Analysis itself, in order to answer this the Business Analyst needs to analyse what their objectives for have certification are, and use that to define the requirements they have for certification, and so select the certification that best satisfies their requirements. For example: suppose the Business Analysts determines that they want certification in order to boost their chances of landing Business Analyst positions. They should then survey the job market to find roles they would like to be able to apply for and see which certification is most commonly asked for. In the UK this is likely to be the ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis if any at all are specified. The most sought after ‘qualification’ is relevant experience, followed by a relevant university degree and thirdly (and usually optionally) a “relevant professional qualification”. Another example: suppose the Business Analyst determines that they want certification in order to know more about Business Analysis. They need to find out which courses cover what material to the depth they want to go to: so they need to research the courses on the internet, canvass colleagues, look on www.ModernAnalyst.com, and contact the certification providers. The Principles of Certification If the objective of the Business Analyst for gaining the certification is to improve their education and ability to do Business Analysis, the question has to be asked about why bother with certification at all? Why not just read the books that are of interest and take relevant courses if it helps? Certification per se does not demonstrate mastery of a subject – the author of this article passed high school exams in maths that if he sat today would defeat him! All certification states is that on a certain day a certain person was able to answer enough of a certain set of questions in a particular way to allow exam markers to award a pass. Not really conclusive evidence of anything at all. Another thought – what is the motivation of the certification providers? Perhaps they just want to improve the standards of Business Analysis? If that was the case why would they charge for the certification? Ok, so maybe it’s not that they just want to improve the standards of Business Analysis, perhaps they want to make money too. Nothing wrong with that – except who gave them the mandate to set up these certifications? It turns out no-one, they just decided to. And some are not inspected or ©Guy Beauchamp/smart-BA 2010 Page 5 of 6
  • ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis audited by any independent authority. So these providers can make money out of something they have no mandate to do and are unchecked. And a final thought: remember that Business Analysis is not a recognised profession like being a doctor. In fact, because of this there is no agreed and accepted definition of what a Business Analyst actually is. Lots of different people and organisations have lots of different ideas and suggestions, but there are none that allow anyone to challenge a Business Analyst and say “if you are a Business Analyst, how come you don’t do x, y and z” or “how come you haven’t got such and such a qualification?”. Even the BCS has some of its Certificates for Business Analysts under different subject areas (e.g. all the details of the ISEB Certificate in Systems Modelling Techniques is not in the ISEB Business Analysis area of the website but the ISEB Systems Development area). Take all of the above and we are left in a situation where several groups of people (certification providers in all their shapes and forms) have taken it upon themselves to offer arbitrary certificates and qualifications to accredit Business Analysts for which some have no recognised mandate to do so, some are not audited by an independent regulatory body and charge the Business Analysts money for a certification in a “profession” (Business Analysis) which has no formally recognised and agreed definition! Conclusions. If you want certification to get a job, find out what you need before you apply for the job. Do the minimum to satisfy the job requirements. If you want it to get educated, save yourself time and money and just do the education without the certification. References 1. www.BCS.org for all the details of the ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis and all the other accreditation they offer. There are syllabi and sample exam papers on the site for each BA course. 2. www.BusinessAnalystSolutions.com for details on the oral exam that is required to finally get the ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis. About the author Guy Beauchamp is a business analyst (whatever that is!) with a mission: to debunk the jargonised illogical drivel in Business Analysis and practice what is - in essence - the simple process of analysis. The difficult part is in applying analysis to the real (frequently illogical and irrational) world - but if Business Analysts don't do it, who will? ©Guy Beauchamp/smart-BA 2010 Page 6 of 6