BABOK Techniques

A Business Analyst (BA) employs their skill sets to bring business value. The profession’s foundational resource, the third version of the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® Guide v3) can help the business analyst identify their strengths and areas needing improvement as they work on building their skills. The BABOK, includes six knowledge areas that represent various areas of expertise a business analyst must have, each with a set of tasks or activities that a business analyst may need to perform in their organization. It also has  a list of 50 techniques that ensure consistency and effectiveness in the application of business analysis, which is the topic of today’s article

What is the BABOK® Guide?

The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® Guide v3) provides knowledge areas, tasks, and techniques to help the business analyst do their job. The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) created and maintains the  BABOK Guide v3, an indispensable reference for any business analyst.

The IIBA also administers globally recognized certifications for Business Analysts, e.g., CBAP, CCBA and ECBA) which are an effective means for practitioners to demonstrate their professional knowledge and expertise. You need familiarity with the BABOK Guide v3’s content (e.g., knowledge areas, tasks and techniques) to pass any IIBA® core certification exam successfully.

Purpose of the 50 techniques in theBABOK Guide v3

IIBA defines techniques as “methods business analysts use to perform business analyst tasks” ( BABOK Guide v3, p. 217). Within the  BABOK Guide v3, practitioners will find the 50 most commonly used techniques used today within the business analysis community. As the profession evolves, so does the  BABOK Guide v3 to ensure alignment with proven business analysis best practices; this means that within that list of 50 techniques now in  BABOK Guide v3 v3, techniques may be added or dropped in future editions.

The 50 Techniques in theBABOK Guide v3

 The BABOK Buide v3.0 lists the 50 most common techniques a business analyst may use. It is up to them to  use their professional judgment to determine the best to use in a given situation. Some situations and tasks may require  the use of a single technique, while others may need a combination of techniques.

Here are the 50 BABOK techniques, listed in an alphabetical order.  Note that some techniques listed are actually a group of techniques such as acceptance and evaluation criteria are two different techniques listed under one technique, or process modeling which includes a number of process models under that technique, while other techniques on the list cover only one concept.  

  1. Acceptance and Evaluation Criteria
  2. Backlog Management
  3. Balanced Scorecard
  4. Benchmarking and Market Analysis
  5. Brainstorming
  6. Business Capability Analysis
  7. Business Cases
  8. Business Model Canvas
  9. Business Rules Analysis
  10. Collaborative Games
  11. Concept Modeling
  12. Data Dictionary
  13. Data Flow Diagrams
  14. Data Mining
  15. Data Modeling
  16. Decision Analysis
  17. Decision Modeling
  18. Document Analysis
  19. Estimation
  20. Financial Analysis
  21. Focus Groups
  22. Functional Decomposition
  23. Glossary
  24. Interface Analysis
  25. Interviews
  26. Item Tracking
  27. Lessons Learned
  28. Metrics And Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
  29. Mind Mapping
  30. Non-Functional Requirements Analysis
  31. Observation
  32. Organizational Modeling
  33. Prioritization
  34. Process Analysis
  35. Process Modeling
  36. Prototyping
  37. Reviews
  38. Risk Analysis and Management
  39. Roles And Permissions Matrix
  40. Root Cause Analysis
  41. Scope Modeling
  42. Sequence Diagrams
  43. Stakeholder List, Map, or Personas
  44. State Modeling
  45. Survey or Questionnaire
  46. SWOT Analysis
  47. Use Cases and Scenarios
  48. User Stories
  49. Vendor Assessment
  50. Workshops

Grouping the 50 Techniques in theBABOK Guide v3

Any of the 50 Techniques  may be topics covered in IIBA core (CBAP, CCBA and ECBA) certification exam questions. ECBA questions will focus on the definition or purpose of the techniques, while in the CCBA and CBAP exams, the techniques will be incorporated into a scenario or case study in which you will have to select the best technique to use in a given situation or the technique may be listed in the question and you may need to understand how to best use that technique.

To assist with your certification prep, in addition to helping a Business Analyst find the best techniques for a particular situation at work, there are groupings of techniques with similar characteristics. IIBA states that “…In a number of cases, a set of conceptually similar approaches have been grouped into a single technique. Any approach within a technique may be used individually or in combination to accomplish the technique’s purpose.”

10 BABOK Guide v3 Techniques Every Business Analyst (BA) Should Master

Every Business Analyst should know all 50 BABOK Guide v3 techniques to prepare for the certification exams. Additionally, Business Analysts should have a deep understanding of the BABOK techniques used the most frequently across industries. We have selected the  top ten most common techniques used by business analysts in all industries, five modeling techniques and five elicitation techniques. All ten techniques listed below are from the BABOK Guide v3 and are grouped to highlight shared characteristics.

Model Techniques from BABOK Guide v3

From IIBA’sBABOK Guide v3 a business process model is defined as: “…a visual representation of the sequential flow and control logic of a set of related activities or actions.” Models are a means to visualize the steps of a complex or multi-stage process. Within models, connections across business areas can be identified and better understood. To support your work as a Business Analyst and for a certification exam, review these top modeling techniques:  (Note to author – I added some definition around each one, so they knew what they were)

  1. Scope Modeling – visually describes what is in and out of scope of the focus area – e.g., solution, stakeholders, department, etc.
  2. Data Modeling-Describes the data important to the business. The model visually represents the data structures, relationships between structures, and detailed data attributes or facts within the structures.
  3. Process Modeling – Visually documents how work is performed in an organization, including who does it and how they collaborate. Process modeling may include swim lane diagrams, activity diagrams, process map/flowcharts, data flow diagrams or value stream maps.
  4. Use case Modeling – Describes how “actors” interact with a “solution” to accomplish a business goal and how the solution will support or respond to relevant events.
  5. Data flow Diagrams – represents the flow and transformation of data (input to output) through a business process or system.

Note that IIBA certification exams may ask you to interpret a model and answer questions based on the information in the visualization. The process of creating the model brings value as it:

  • enables understanding of a process in a shared format for all stakeholders,
  • highlights weaknesses in a process, and
  • brings clarity to a process with the elimination of insignificant information or details.

Models can be used to visualize current and future states and identify risks and gaps to guide business decisions.

Elicitation Techniques from BABOK Guide v3

Elicitation techniques  help the business analyst collect relevant information from stakeholders, experts, and customers. These are five most commonly used elicitiation techniques

  1. Focus Groups – used to elicit ideas and opinions from a group of pre-qualified participants (6-12) about a specific product, service, or opportunity in an interactive setting. Workshop – used for planning, analysis, scoping, requirements elicitation, and modeling for a solution, as well as to generate ideas for new features or products, reach consensus on a topic, or review requirements or designs.
  2. Interviews – an organized approach that elicits business analysis information from a person or persons by asking questions and documenting their responses
  3. Observation (Shadowing) – examines work activities firsthand by observing people as they are performing their jobs. Surveys – Used to elicit information about customers, products, processes, or attitudes from a large group of people in a structured way in a short amount of time.

For these techniques, keep these tips in mind to maximize their effectiveness:

  • Have the team set ground rules for addressing differences of opinions and conflicts.
  • Plan for multiple sessions to allow for scheduling across different ranges of availability.
  • Employ a facilitator to keep  the conversations on topic and focused, and to ensure the session goal is obtained.

5 BABOK Guide v3 Techniques for Organizational / Strategy Projects

Of the 50 techniques in the BABOK Guide v3, five are frequently used for organizational and strategic projects due to their more advanced nature.

Organization/strategic from BABOK Guide v3

  • Acceptance and evaluation criteria – used to assess and compare solutions, alternative designs, and requirements.
  • Balance scorecard – Manages enterprise performance through four dimensions that provide value to the enterprise: Learning and growth, internal business processes, customers, and financial.
  • Benchmarking and market analysis –
    • Benchmarking: Compares enterprise performance against best practices found in competitor enterprises, government, or industry associations.
    • Market analysis: Gathers input from customers on what products and services they need or want, how they make purchasing decisions and identifies market competition.
  • SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) Analysis – used as a strategic planning tool to evaluate an enterprise’s current internal and external environment. A SWOT may be performed at any level: an entire enterprise, a division, a business unit, a project, or an individual.
  • Organization models – used to define roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships in an enterprise, and helps align those structures with the goals of the enterprise.

Benefits of BABOK Guide v3 Techniques

BABOK Guide v3 techniques help Business Analysts and their organizations in many ways.

Benefits to the organization

BABOK Guide v3 techniques applied consistently and strategically can realize the following:

  • more accurate understanding of the business problem or opportunity,
  • more effective communication among stakeholders via visual models and
  • more solutions delivered successfully.

Benefits for the Business Analyst

BABOK Guide v3 techniques leveraged in the application of business analysis  can ensure:

  • stronger understanding of business analysis techniques,
  • deeper and broader experience in the application of business analyst practices and techniques, and
  •  more confidence in the usage of these various business analysis techniques.

How can you grow your skills using the techniques found in BABOK Guide v3?

With 50 techniques in BABOK Guide v3, it can feel overwhelming to know when to use which technique. Here are a few things you can do to grow your understanding nand expertise of the techniques found in the  BABOK Guide v3:

  • If you are new to business analysis, take our ECBA exam prep course to learn about all 50 techniques  
  • Ask your team, client, and stakeholders if they have technique preferences based on similar situations or projects. Elicit details on the techniques and outcomes to adapt to the situation.
  • Leverage membership in IIBA and professional organizations to gain a mentor to learn how to select and use BABOK Guide v3 techniques for different work situations.
  • Ask peer Business Analysts, peers, and leadership at your organization to tap into their expertise and experience of BABOK techniques to guide your selection of techniques and support you in using techniques that have yet to be part of your experience.


The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) provides the  BABOK Guide v3 as a guide for the professional of Business Analysis. Within the  BABOK Guide v3 are 50 techniques that are all potential sources for IIBA certification exams. All Business Analysts should know the 50 techniques that can be used independently and in combination, per the business analysts’ judgment for the best fit for the situation. Model Techniques and Elicitation Techniques, examples of grouping used to find the best options for a project, are the most frequently used BABOK Guide v3 techniques.  

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Honoré LaFlamme