Common Questions for the CBAP and CCBA Applications

I just finished another application writing session for the IIBA Phoenix chapter. It was a good exchange, with many challenging questions.Question Mark

First of all, nearly everyone preparing for the CBAP questions the BABOK® and how it may or may not be “real life.” What I tell people is that everything in the BABOK is somebody’s real life! That may or may not be a comfort, but it does put it in perspective.

Most of the topics at my recent session pertained to the CBAP and CCBA application. Here are some notable questions that came up and my answers. Hope this helps you.

Q. What do we do if the project contacts at our past companies are no longer there or are not living?

A. This is a very common concern. If you have contacts from your project still working at the company, that is obviously the best contact to list. If not, what I tell people is to list a contact who you worked with at the company in question, even if they have moved on to another company. In extreme cases in which there is no one you worked with still around, you should list someone in Human Resources who can attest that you worked at the company in a BA capacity during the time you listed for your project.

One of the attendees at the application session mentioned one of her past companies went out of business and no one works there anymore. You should document that for the IIBA, and still try to find colleagues who worked with you during the same timeframe who could be listed as contacts. Try using LinkedIn to locate possible contacts who worked with you in your past jobs.

Q. How can we avoid having hours deducted from our application? I’ve read that IIBA can do that if you are not careful.

A. Yes, IIBA can and does deduct hours from applications. I have heard stories of applicants who had that happen and ended up just a few hours short of the requirements because of it.  Our advice: only report BA hours and only indicate BA tasks. Look carefully at the tasks in the CBAP or CCBA application. By understanding the BABOK® and its tasks, you can spot the non-BA tasks in the application. Avoid the non-BA tasks and don’t report hours on projects spent doing non-BA work.

For example, the task “Communicated requirements” is a BA task, but “Conducted design walkthroughs” is not. If those were the only two tasks you checked for Requirements Management and Communication, then IIBA would deduct 50% of your reported hours for that Knowledge Area, because the latter task is not considered a BA task.

Q. I worked on many small projects, as many as 100 in a year. How should we handle that?

 A. IIBA says to consolidate them for a given year and organize them around a software application, business initiative, etc.

Q. I interfaced with testing and training teams and did some testing myself. I understand the hours spent testing don’t account. How do I account for the time spent in setting up testing and training strategies and objectives?

A. First, for testing. What I recommend is to think about the time you spent defining acceptance criteria. Technique 9.1 in the BABOK® is called “Acceptance and Evaluation Criteria Definition” and would apply here. The most applicable task would be “Validate Solution,” and the application calls this “Defined acceptance criteria for the solution.” For training, actually doing any training doesn’t count for hours. But, if you spent time defining requirements for the training to meet to assist in implementing the solution, than the application task “Defined transition requirements” would count and that is what you would indicate.

Q. Can we get the tips on which tasks in the BABOK areas apply only to BA work?

A. We have a worksheet that captures your work experience by knowledge area and general task.  The tasks we list are the safe ones to check for BA work. You should still review the BABOK® to make sure that you understand what the tasks mean. For a copy, please visit our CBAP Resources page, or write to us at  and ask for a copy of our CBAP or CCBA Application Project Hours worksheet.

To learn more…

1)       Get a copy of the BABOK® by downloading it from the IIBA.

2)      Read our book, CBAP Certification Study Guide.

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