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1.4  Knowledge Areas

Knowledge areas define what a practitioner of business analysis needs to understand and the tasks a practitioner must be able to perform.

Business analysts are likely to perform tasks from all knowledge areas in rapid succession, iteratively, or simultaneously. Tasks may be performed in any order as long as the required inputs are available. In principle, a business analysis effort may start with any task, although the most likely candidates are Define Business Need (5.1) or Evaluate Solution Performance (7.6).

Knowledge areas are not intended to represent phases in a project. It is certainly possible and permissible to proceed from performing enterprise analysis activities, to requirements analysis activities, to solution assessment and validation activities, and treat each as a distinct phase in a project. However, the BABOK® Guide does not require that you do so, and it should not be construed as a methodology for the performance of business analysis.

Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring (Chapter 2) is the knowledge area that covers how business analysts determine which activities are necessary in order to complete a business analysis effort. It covers identification of stakeholders, selection of business analysis techniques, the process that will be used to manage requirements, and how to assess the progress of the work. The tasks in this knowledge area govern the performance of all other business analysis tasks.

Elicitation (Chapter 3) describes how business analysts work with stakeholders to identify and understand their needs and concerns, and understand the environment in which they work. The purpose of elicitation is to ensure that a stakeholder’s actual underlying needs are understood, rather than their stated or superficial desires.

Requirements Management and Communication (Chapter 4) describes how business analysts manage conflicts, issues and changes in order to ensure that stakeholders and the project team remain in agreement on the solution scope, how requirements are communicated to stakeholders, and how knowledge gained by the business analyst is maintained for future use.

Enterprise Analysis (Chapter 5) describes how business analysts identify a business need, refine and clarify the definition of that need, and define a solution scope that can feasibly be implemented by the business. This knowledge area describes problem definition and analysis, business case development, feasibility studies, and the definition of solution scope.

Requirements Analysis (Chapter 6) describes how business analysts prioritize and progressively elaborate stakeholder and solution requirements in order to enable the project team to implement a solution that will meet the needs of the sponsoring organization and stakeholders. It involves analyzing stakeholder needs to define solutions that meet those needs, assessing the current state of the business to identify and recommend improvements, and the verification and validation of the resulting requirements.

Solution Assessment and Validation (Chapter 7) describes how business analysts assess proposed solutions to determine which solution best fits the business need, identify gaps and shortcomings in solutions, and determine necessary workarounds or changes to the solution. It also describes how business analysts assess deployed solutions to see how well they met the original need so that the sponsoring organization can assess the performance and effectiveness of the solution.

Underlying Competencies (Chapter 8) describes the behaviors, knowledge, and other characteristics that support the effective performance of business analysis.

Figure 1-1: Relationships Between Knowledge Areas