Closer Look: The Requirements Analysis Knowledge Area

I’ve said it once and I will say it again, preparing for the IIBA’s CBAP® or CCBA™ certification exam can sure be a lot of work! One recommended thing you should know backwards and forwards before sitting your exam are the six knowledge areas and their associated tasks. Here’s yet another BABOK® Guide knowledge area for you to get familiar with: Requirements Analysis.

The Requirements Analysis knowledge area focuses on analyzing what your stakeholders have told you and defining what capabilities need to be part of the resulting solution. According to the BABOK® Guide, this knowledge area is where you develop your stakeholder and solution requirements for your project.  In a nutshell, the tasks in this knowledge area take your elicited information (the stated requirements) and make sense of it. These stated requirements reflect what the stakeholders have told you about what they need. The stated requirements become analyzed requirements that have been specified and modeled after they are acted upon by the tasks in this knowledge area.

This requirements development-focused knowledge area generates several key business analysis deliverables. They include assumptions and constraints, your requirements structure and your prioritized/validated/verified stakeholder and solution requirements

The business analysis techniques used by the tasks in this knowledge area target pretty much specifying and modeling your requirements.  We have taken a look at many of these techniques in my previous blog posts. Here’s the list of the seventeen general techniques used to specify and model requirements.  They range from the more traditional data and process modeling techniques to agile best practices. How many of these do you use on your projects?

  • Business Rules Analysis
  • Business Rules Analysis
  • Data Dictionary and Glossary
  • Data Flow Diagrams
  • Data Modeling
  • Functional Decomposition
  • Interface Analysis
  • Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Nonfunctional Requirements Analysis
  • Organization Modeling
  • Process Modeling
  • Prototyping
  • Scenarios and Use Cases
  • Sequence Diagrams
  • State Diagrams
  • User Stories

As a business analyst, you have six specific tasks to perform in the Requirements Analysis knowledge area. These tasks focus on making sure that the stakeholder and solution requirements for your projects are thoroughly analyzed and documented for you, your team, and your stakeholders. The goal is to use the capabilities defined in these requirements as the basis for designing and constructing the solution.  These tasks tend to be iterative and incremental versus a linear set of things that you do. Your task list from the BABOK® Guide includes:

  • Prioritizing requirements
  • Organizing requirements
  • Specifying and modeling requirements
  • Defining assumptions and constraints
  • Verifying requirements
  • Validating requirements

Approximately 29 of your 150 CBAP exam questions focus on this knowledge area. As always, the exam questions target specific and detailed aspects of the tasks, tools, and techniques that are found there.  Tha means this knowledge area and its five siblings require your undivided attention as you prepare to sit the exam or as you master the best practices of successful business analysts.

Susan Weese

If you are considering sitting the CBAP or CCBA certification exams for business analysts, check out our new study guide that can help you prepare to pass the test, the CBAP / CCBA: Certified Business Analysis Study Guide by Susan Weese and Terri Wagner!  It’s a great place to learn more about each of the 6 knowledge areas and everything else you need to know to successfully pass the certification exam.

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