Knowledge Areas of BA

Business Analysis is all about tasks and techniques followed to qualify the business needs and finding the business solution. The solution may include the system development, process development or improvement and change in the organizational structure. It is about the process to complete the tasks with quality and those who follow these processes are known as business analysts. In some organizations, these business analysts are referred as system analysts, SME (subject matter experts), business process analysts, business system analysts and many more.

The tasks followed by business analyst require specific knowledge areas and a business analyst should focus on them while performing the activities. Many writers have defined these knowledge areas by different names and in different formats. BABOK (Business analysis body of Knowledge) has also defined these knowledge areas which group together related tasks and techniques.

Knowledge areas define the set of techniques which a BA should understand and try to practise during the routine activities. There is no arrangement for these knowledge areas and the tasks from all these knowledge areas can be performed in rapid succession depending on the pertinent inputs from the business owners.

As per BABOK, the list of these knowledge areas (KA) is as below:

  1. Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
  2. Requirements Elicitation
  3. Requirements Management and Communication
  4. Enterprise Analysis
  5. Requirements Analysis
  6. Solution Assessment and Validation
  7. Underlying Competencies

BA-knowledgeareas

  • Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring

This knowledge area covers the activities which a business analyst should follow to determine the efforts involved in the future steps. It mainly covers stakeholder analysis, managing risk, issues and requirements. It also covers the techniques to manage the requirements and the track of the project progress. This knowledge area is also called as the lead to all others as it governs the processes in the other knowledge areas.

  • Elicitation

Requirements are the most important aspect of the project and understanding them correctly is of utmost importance. It’s not only important to gather the requirements from the available sources (sources may refer to stakeholders also) but also to elicit from them. And the techniques of requirement elicitation are covered under this knowledge area. There are several elicitation techniques followed by BA practitioners like brain storming, prototyping, interviewing etc to collect the most precise information and thus the ambiguity in the requirements can be mitigated. The actual purpose of the elicitation is to record the correct requirements of the stakeholders to avoid unwanted and superficial demands in future.

  • Requirements Management and Communication

There is no surety on the fact that the requirements which are elicited will not change and the business owners have got full rights in this world to change it at run-time. Now it becomes important for a business analyst to understand the severity of the requirements and manage them in such smart ways that the agreement on the elicited requirements remains on the same page and the conflicts, issues and changes can be minimized. This Knowledge area (KA) also covers the communication techniques of these requirements to all stakeholders. This KA is all about communicating requirements, resolving conflicts, gaining formal approval, base-lining and tracking requirements through to implementation.

  • Enterprise Analysis

So till now the requirements are elicited and managed well but do you think the new business need will not impact the existing system in anyway? Enterprise Analysis is all about understanding the business need, comparing it with the existing functionality and finding the gaps in it. The gaps are also found in those areas which may stop the new business need which can stop its implementation. The gaps can be in any field starting from the available resources, infrastructure, techniques, tools etc. This KA thus, is all about managing those gaps, business case development and defining the solution scope.

  • Requirements Analysis

The requirements gathered so far need to be prioritized and elaborated to the stakeholders in order to enable the development team to implement the same. This KA covers the documentation of business, functional and non-functional requirements, business process modelling, designing the use cases, work flow diagrams, flow charts and other activity diagrams to analyze the requirements. The validation and verification of the requirements are also covered under this KA.

  • Solution Assessment and Validation

This KA covers the assessment of the available solutions which can help the stakeholders select the most appropriate solution to implement the requirements. Once the best solution is selected the BA makes it sure that it meets those requirements throughout the lifecycle of the project. This KA also covers the assessment of the alternate available solutions, quality assurance process, pre and post implementation processes.

  • Underlying Competencies

Last but surely not the least comes the competencies which supports the BA to cover all the above mentioned KAs. The personal skills of a BA viz. Leadership, problem solving, communication skills, conflict management etc are covered under the umbrella of this knowledge area.