I mentioned in a previous blog post that certain techniques in the BABOK® (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) only apply to one BABOK task. That may seem like they are not as important or not as likely to be tested on the CBAP® (Certified Business Analysis Professional) exam. My guess, though, is that you’ll get questions on some of the 15 task-specific techniques in the BABOK.
You’ll probably also get tested on some of the 34 general techniques, too. That means there are 49 various techniques in the BABOK you could be tested on during your CBAP exam. That’s a lot to study!
My focus lately has been on the CBAP exam and helping people to pass it. With that, I’m planning on featuring every one of them in a separate blog post over the next year. Some of the techniques can be combined into a single post because of their simplicity or relatedness to other techniques. My intent is to focus the most on techniques that my colleagues and I at Watermark Learning feel are more practical or important.
Reader alert: even if you’re not planning on obtaining your CBAP, I invite you to read on. The techniques are widely applicable for anyone who works on projects, not just CBAP candidates! I’m also interested in your feedback on how well these tools and techniques have worked or not on your projects.
I want to highlight the RACI Matrix to get us started. It’s a technique that has wide applicability on project work for both the Business Analyst and Project Manager. It also helps with ongoing roles and responsibilities for functions or processes outside of projects.
A RACI chart helps with assigning and documenting roles and responsibilities. It is widely used, and focuses on the major task and decision-making roles for projects. RACI stands for the following:
• Responsible – who is responsible for doing a task or process.
• Accountable – who approves the work or process.
• Consult With – who provides knowledge, information, or expertise to help complete the work.
• Inform – who needs to know the result of the task/process.
I’ve found RACI helpful in several ways; the process of creating them helps with:
• Stakeholder analysis, which is the task in the BABOK that it is associated with. By asking who fits in the RAC and I, you will learn about a broad array of stakeholders.
• Determining the decision-makers for any number of things, from project deliverables to work products to operational outputs.
• Holding stakeholders accountable for the roles they play. Once people agree where they fit in the matrix, it is like an informal “contract” for how they will participate.
• Clarifying boundaries with outside suppliers for all RACI categories: who does what, whose input needs to be sought, etc.
• Reminding people over the course of a project or over time what their role is. The older I get (and the worse my memory becomes), the more I appreciate this!
Here is an example of a sample RACI chart taken from one of our courses. Note that generic roles can be listed such as “Sponsor” or specific names can be inserted. There are several other variations, but for brevity’s sake I thought one would be enough:
One constant in work life is that when humans are involved, roles and responsibilities can and do become fuzzy. RACI charts and the process of creating them can clarify and document important categories for project and operational work. The RACI matrix is no panacea, but it sure helps. To paraphrase Dwight Eisenhower, “plans (RACI matrices) are useless, but planning (agreeing on the RACI) is indispensible.”
For Additional Learning:
Check out our CBAP Certification Prep Course.
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