The BABOK® Guide Glossary provides free access to the foundational terminology of the practice of business analysis found in A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® Guide).
BABOK® Guide is the definitive community-based and consensus-driven Global Standard in business analysis. The foundational concepts of BABOK® Guide are presented in The IIBA Global Business Analysis Core Standard. Download your FREE copy
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|Criteria associated with requirements, products, or the delivery cycle that must be met in order to achieve stakeholder acceptance.
|actor (business analysis)
|A human, device, or system that plays some specified role in interacting with a solution.
|An approach where the solution evolves based on a cycle of learning and discovery, with feedback loops which encourage making decisions as late as possible.
|Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide
|A standard on the practice of business analysis in an agile context. The Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide version 1 was published in 2013 by IIBA®, in partnership with the Agile Alliance.
|See requirements allocation.
|The design, structure, and behaviour of the current and future states of a structure in terms of its components, and the interaction between those components. See also business architecture, enterprise architecture, and requirements architecture.
|artifact (business analysis)
|Any solution-relevant object that is created as part of business analysis efforts.
|An influencing factor that is believed to be true but has not been confirmed to be accurate, or that could be true now but may not be in the future.
|behavioural business rule
|A business rule that places an obligation (or prohibition) on conduct, action, practice, or procedure; a business rule whose purpose is to shape (govern) day-to-day business activity. Also known as operative rule.
|A comparison of a decision, process, service, or system's cost, time, quality, or other metrics to those of leading peers to identify opportunities for improvement.
|body of knowledge
|The aggregated knowledge and generally accepted practices on a topic.
|See business process management.
|A team activity that seeks to produce a broad or diverse set of options through the rapid and uncritical generation of ideas.
|business (business analysis)
|business (business world)
|An economic system where any commercial, industrial, or professional activity is performed for profit.
|The practice of enabling change in the context of an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.
|business analysis information
|Any kind of information at any level of detail that is used as an input to business analysis work, or as an output of business analysis work.
|business analysis package
|A document, presentation, or other collection of text, matrices, diagrams and models, representing business analysis information.
|Any person who performs business analysis, no matter their job title or organizational role.
|business analysis approach
|The set of processes, rules, guidelines, heuristics, and activities that are used to perform business analysis in a specific context.
|business analysis communication plan
|A description of the types of communication the business analyst will perform during business analysis, the recipients of those communications, and the form and frequency of those communications.
|business analysis effort
|The scope of activities a business analyst is engaged in during the life cycle of an initiative.
|business analysis plan
|A description of the planned activities the business analyst will execute in order to perform the business analysis work involved in a specific initiative. See also requirements management plan.
|The design, structure, and behaviour of the current and future states of an enterprise to provide a common understanding of the organization. It is used to align the enterprise’s strategic objectives and tactical demands.
|A justification for a course of action based on the benefits to be realized by using the proposed solution, as compared to the cost, effort, and other considerations to acquire and live with that solution.
|A decision that can be made based on strategy, executive judgment, consensus, and business rules, and that is generally made in response to events or at defined points in a business process.
|A state or condition that an organization is seeking to establish and maintain, usually expressed qualitatively rather than quantitatively.
|A problem or opportunity of strategic or tactical importance to be addressed.
|An objective, measurable result to indicate that a business goal has been achieved.
|A non-practicable directive that controls and influences the actions of an enterprise.
|An issue of strategic or tactical importance preventing an enterprise or organization from achieving its goals.
|An end-to-end set of activities which collectively responds to an event, and transforms information, materials, and other resources into outputs that deliver value directly to the customers of the process. It may be internal to an organization, or it may span several organizations.
|business process management (BPM)
|A management discipline that determines how manual and automated processes are created, modified, cancelled, and governed.
|business process re-engineering
|Rethinking and redesigning business processes to generate improvements in performance measures.
|A representation of goals, objectives and outcomes that describe why a change has been initiated and how success will be assessed.
|A specific, practicable, testable directive that is under the control of the business and that serves as a criterion for guiding behaviour, shaping judgments, or making decisions.
|The set of activities the enterprise performs, the knowledge it has, the products and services it provides, the functions it supports, and the methods it uses to make decisions.
|See fishbone diagram.
|The act of transformation in response to a need.
|One who is a catalyst for change.
|Controlling changes to requirements and designs so that the impact of requested changes is understood and agreed-to before the changes are made.
|Planned activities, tools, and techniques to address the human side of change during a change initiative, primarily addressing the needs of the people who will be most affected by the change.
|A plan to move from the current state to the future state to achieve the desired business objectives.
|A cross-functional group of individuals who are mandated to implement a change. This group may be comprised of product owners, business analysts, developers, project managers, implementation subject matter experts (SMEs), or any other individual with the relevant set of skills and competencies required to implement the change.
|checklist (business analysis)
|A standard set of quality elements that reviewers use for requirements verification.
|The act of two or more people working together towards a common goal.
|commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)
|A prepackaged solution available in the marketplace which address all or most of the common needs of a large group of buyers of those solutions. A commercial off-the-shelf solution may require some configuration to meet the specific needs of the enterprise.
|A structured assessment which captures the key characteristics of an industry to predict the long-term profitability prospects and to determine the practices of the most significant competitors.
|A uniquely identifiable element of a larger whole that fulfills a clear function.
|An analysis model that develops the meaning of core concepts for a problem domain, defines their collective structure, and specifies the appropriate vocabulary needed to communicate about it consistently.
|constraint (business analysis)
|An influencing factor that cannot be changed, and that places a limit or restriction on a possible solution or solution option.
|The circumstances that influence, are influenced by, and provide understanding of the change.
|core concept (business analysis)
|One of six ideas that are fundamental to the practice of business analysis: Change, Need, Solution, Context, Stakeholder, and Value.
|An analysis which compares and quantifies the financial and non-financial costs of making a change or implementing a solution compared to the benefits gained.
|See commercial off-the-shelf.
|create, read, update, and delete matrix (CRUD matrix)
|A two-dimensional matrix showing which user roles have permission to access specific information entities, and to create new records in those entities, view the data in existing records, update or modify the data in existing records, or delete existing records. The same type of matrix can be used to show which processes, instead of users, have the create, read, update and delete rights.
|See create, read, update, and delete matrix.
|A stakeholder who uses or may use products or services produced by the enterprise and may have contractual or moral rights that the enterprise is obliged to meet.
|An approach to decision making that examines and models the possible consequences of different decisions, and assists in making an optimal decision under conditions of uncertainty.
|A technique that subdivides a problem into its component parts in order to facilitate analysis and understanding of those components.
|A deficiency in a product or service that reduces its quality or varies from a desired attribute, state, or functionality.
|definitional business rule
|A rule that indicates something is necessarily true (or untrue); a rule that is intended as a definitional criterion for concepts, knowledge, or information. Also known as a structural rule.
|Any unique and verifiable work product or service that a party has agreed to deliver.
A usable representation of a solution.
|document analysis (business analysis)
|An examination of the documentation of an existing system in order to elicit requirements.
|The sphere of knowledge that defines a set of common requirements, terminology, and functionality for any program or initiative solving a problem.
|domain subject matter expert
|A stakeholder with in-depth knowledge of a topic relevant to the business need or solution scope.
|See dynamic systems development method.
|dynamic systems development method (DSDM)
|A project delivery framework which focuses on fixing cost, quality, and time at the beginning while contingency is managed by varying the features to be delivered.
|Iterative derivation and extraction of information from stakeholders or other sources.
|A stakeholder who directly interacts with the solution.
|A system of one or more organizations and the solutions they use to pursue a shared set of common goals.
|A description of the business processes, information technology, people, operations, information, and projects of an enterprise and the relationships between them.
|enterprise readiness assessment
|An assessment that describes the enterprise is prepared to accept the change associated with a solution and is able to use it effectively.
|A graphical representation of the entities relevant to a chosen problem domain and the relationships between them.
|A quantitative assessment of a planned outcome, resource requirements, and schedule where uncertainties and unknowns are systematically factored into the assessment.
|The systematic and objective assessment of a solution to determine its status and efficacy in meeting objectives over time, and to identify ways to improve the solution to better meet objectives. See also indicator; metric, monitoring.
|event (business analysis)
|An occurrence or incident to which an organizational unit, system, or process must respond.
|A prototype that is continuously modified and updated in response to feedback from stakeholders.
|Elicitation performed in a controlled manner to make a discovery, test a hypothesis, or demonstrate a known fact.
|An interaction that is outside the proposed solution. It can be another hardware system, software system, or a human interaction with which the proposed solution will interact.
|The art of leading and encouraging people through systematic efforts toward agreed-upon objectives in a manner that enhances involvement, collaboration, productivity, and synergy.
|An evaluation of proposed alternatives to determine if they are technically, organizationally, and economically possible within the constraints of the enterprise, and whether they will deliver the desired benefits to the enterprise.
|A distinguishing characteristic of a solution that implements a cohesive set of requirements and which delivers value for a set of stakeholders.
|A diagramming technique used in root cause analysis to identify underlying causes of an observed problem, and the relationships that exist between those causes. Also known as an Ishikawa or cause-and- effect diagram.
|A group formed to to elicit ideas and attitudes about a specific product, service, or opportunity in an interactive group environment. The participants share their impressions, preferences, and needs, guided by a moderator.
force field analysis
|A graphical method for depicting the forces that support and oppose a change. Involves identifying the forces, depicting them on opposite sides of a line (supporting and opposing forces) and then estimating the strength of each set of forces.
|A capability that a solution must have in terms of the behaviour and information the solution will manage.
|A comparison of the current state and desired future state of an enterprise in order to identify differences that need to be addressed.
|See business goal.
governance process (change)
|A process by which appropriate decision makers use relevant information to make decisions regarding a change or solution, including the means for obtaining approvals and priorities.
|guideline (business analysis)
|An instruction or description on why or how to undertake a task.
|A prototype that is used to explore requirements and designs at one level of a proposed solution, such as the customer-facing view or the interface to another organization.
|An assessment of the effects a proposed change will have on a stakeholder or stakeholder group, project, or system.
|implementation subject matter expert
|A stakeholder who has specialized knowledge regarding the implementation of one or more solution components.
|A specific numerical measurement that indicates progress toward achieving an impact, output, activity, or input. See also metric.
|A specific project, program, or action taken to solve some business problem(s) or achieve some specific change objective(s).
input (business analysis)
|Information consumed or transformed to produce an output. An input is the information necessary for a task to begin.
|A formal review of a work product by qualified individuals that follows a predefined process, and uses predefined criteria, for defect identification and removal.
|A shared boundary between any two persons and/or systems through which information is communicated.
|Ability of systems to communicate by exchanging data or services.
|Eliciting information from a person or group of people in an informal or formal setting by asking relevant questions and recording the responses.
|See fishbone diagram.
|iteration (business analysis)
|A single instance of progressive cycles of analysis, development, testing, or execution.
|knowledge area (business analysis)
|An area of expertise that includes several specific business analysis tasks.
|A process improvement technique used to learn about and improve on a process or project. A lessons learned session involves a special meeting in which the team explores what worked, what didn't work, what could be learned from the just-completed iteration, and how to adapt processes and techniques before continuing or starting anew.
|A series of changes an item or object undergoes from inception to retirement
|A textual form of modelling used to represent information that can be categorized, cross-referenced, and represented in a table format.
|A description of data to help understand how to use that data, either in terms of the structure and specification of the data, or the description of a specific instance of an object.
|A body of methods, techniques, procedures, working concepts, and rules used to solve a problem.
A quantifiable level of an indicator measured at a specified point in time.
|A formal declaration of values and goals that expresses the core purpose of the enterprise.
|A representation and simplification of reality developed to convey information to a specific audience to support analysis, communication, and understanding.
|Collecting data on a continuous basis from a solution in order to determine how well a solution is implemented compared to expected results. See also metric; indicator.
|A problem or opportunity to be addressed.
|A type of requirement that describes the performance or quality attributes a solution must meet. Non-functional requirements are usually measurable and act as constraints on the design of a solution as a whole.
|See business objective.
observation (business analysis)
|Studying and analyzing one or more stakeholders in their work environment in order to elicit requirements.
|See online analytical processing.
|A business intelligence approach that allows users to analyze large amounts of data from different points of view.
|A stakeholder who is responsible for the day-to-day management and maintenance of a system or product.
|See behavioural business rule.
|An autonomous group of people under the management of a single individual or board, that works towards common goals and objectives.
|A function inside the enterprise, made up of components such as processes, technologies, and information and used by organizations to achieve their goals.
organizational change management
|See change management.
|The analysis technique used to describe roles, responsibilities and reporting structures that exist within an enterprise.
|Any recognized association of people within an organization or enterprise.
|A formal or informal review of a work product to identify errors or opportunities for improvement. See also inspection.
|A detailed scheme for doing or achieving something usually comprising a set of events, dependencies, expected sequence, schedule, results or outcomes, materials and resources needed, and how stakeholders need to be involved.
|See business policy.
|An approach where planning and baselines are established early in the life cycle of the initiative in order to maximize control and minimize risk.
|Determining the relative importance of a set of items in order to determine the order in which they will be addressed.
|A set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective by taking one or more defined inputs and turning them into defined outputs.
|A set of diagrams and supporting information about a process and factors that could influence the process. Some process models are used to simulate the performance of the process.
product (business analysis)
|A solution or component of a solution that is the result of an initiative.
|A set of user stories, requirements, or features that have been identified as candidates for potential implementation, prioritized, and estimated.
|See solution scope.
product vision statement
|A brief statement or paragraph that describes the goals of the solution and how it supports the strategy of the organization or enterprise.
|A temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.
|A stakeholder who is responsible for managing the work required to deliver a solution that meets a business need, and for ensuring that the project's objectives are met while balancing the project constraints, including scope, budget, schedule, resources, quality, and risk.
|The work that must be performed to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.
proof of concept
|A model created to validate the design of a solution without modelling the appearance, materials used in the creation of work, or processes and workflows ultimately used by the stakeholders.
|A partial or simulated approximation of the solution for the purpose of eliciting or verifying requirements with stakeholders.
|The degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills needs.
|A set of activities performed to ensure that a process will deliver products that meet an appropriate level of quality.
|A set of measures used to judge the overall quality of a system. See also non-functional requirements.
|A set of defined questions, with a choice of answers, used to collect information from respondents.
|See responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed matrix.
|A stakeholder from outside the organization who is responsible for the definition and enforcement of standards.
|A real or virtual facility where all information on a specific topic is stored and is available for retrieval.
|A formal elicitation method intended to collect information regarding a vendor's capabilities or any other information relevant to a potential upcoming procurement.
|A requirements document issued when an organization is seeking a formal proposal from vendors. An RFP typically requires that the proposals be submitted following a specific process and using sealed bids which will be evaluated against a formal evaluation methodology.
|A procurement method of soliciting price and solution options from vendors.
|An open invitation to vendors to submit a proposal for goods or services.
|A usable representation of a need.
|A characteristic or property of a requirement used to assist with requirements management.
|The process of assigning requirements to be implemented by specific solution components.
|The requirements of an initiative and the interrelationships between these requirements.
|A business analysis artifact containing information about requirements such as a diagram, matrix, document or model.
|A problem or error in a requirement. Defects may occur because a requirement is poor quality (see requirements verification) or because it does not describe a need that, if met, would provide value to stakeholders (see requirements validation).
|See requirements package.
|The stages through which a requirement progresses from inception to retirement.
|Planning, executing, monitoring, and controlling any or all of the work associated with requirements elicitation and collaboration, requirements analysis and design, and requirements life cycle management.
|A subset of the business analysis plan for a specific change initiative, describing specific tools, activities, and roles and responsibilities that will be used on the initiative to manage the requirements. See business analysis plan.
requirements management tool
|Special-purpose software that provides support for any combination of the following capabilities: elicitation and collaboration, requirements modelling and/or specification, requirements traceability, versioning and baselining, attribute definition for tracking and monitoring, document generation, and requirements change control.
|An abstract (usually graphical) representation of some aspect of the current or future state.
|A specialized form of a business analysis package primarily concerned with requirements. A requirements package may represent a baseline of a collection of requirements.
|The ability for tracking the relationships between sets of requirements and designs from the original stakeholder need to the actual implemented solution. Traceability supports change control by ensuring that the source of a requirement or design can be identified and other related requirements and designs potentially affected by a change are known.
|Work done to evaluate requirements to ensure they support the delivery of the expected benefits and are within the solution scope.
|Work done to evaluate requirements to ensure they are defined correctly and are at an acceptable level of quality. It ensures the requirements are sufficiently defined and structured so that the solution development team can use them in the design, development, and implementation of the solution.
|A structured meeting in which a carefully selected group of stakeholders collaborate to define and/or refine requirements under the guidance of a skilled neutral facilitator.
|The risk remaining after action has been taken or plans have been put in place to deal with the original risk.
|responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed matrix (RACI matrix)
|A tool used to identify the responsibilities of roles or team members and the activities or deliverables in which they will participate, by being responsible (doing the work), accountable (approving the results), consulted (providing input) or informed of the completed item after it has been completed.
|See lessons learned process.
|return on investment (ROI) (business analysis)
|A measure of the profitability of a project or investment.
|See request for information.
|See request for proposal.
|See request for quote.
|See request for tender.
|risk (business analysis)
|The effect of uncertainty on the value of a change, a solution, or the enterprise. See also residual risk.
|risk assessment: Identifying, analyzing and evaluating risks. ROI
|See return on investment.
|The cause of a problem having no deeper cause, usually one of several possible causes.
|root cause analysis
|A structured examination of an identified problem to understand the underlying causes.
|The boundaries of control, change, a solution, or a need.
|A model that defines the boundaries of a business domain or solution.
|An actor external to the system under design that supports the execution of a use case.
|A type of diagram that shows objects participating in interactions and the messages exchanged between them.
service (business analysis)
|The performance of any duties or work for a stakeholder, from the perspective of the stakeholder.
|See suppliers, inputs, process, outputs and customers.
|See subject matter expert.
|A specific way of satisfying one or more needs in a context.
|A sub-part of a solution that can be people, infrastructure, hardware, software, equipment, facilities, and process assets or any combination of these sub-parts.
|One possible way to satisfy one or more needs in a context.
|A capability or quality of a solution that meets the stakeholder requirements. Solution requirements can be divided into two sub-categories: functional requirements and non-functional requirements or quality of service requirements.
|solution life cycle
|The stages through which a solution progresses from inception to retirement.
|The set of capabilities a solution must deliver in order to meet the business need.
|See statement of work.
|A stakeholder who is responsible for initiating the effort to define a business need and develop a solution that meets that need. They authorize the work to be performed and control the budget and scope for the initiative.
|A group or individual with a relationship to the change, the need, or the solution.
|Identifying and analyzing the stakeholders who may be impacted by the change and assess their impact, participation, and needs throughout the business analysis activities.
|A catalogue of the stakeholders affected by a change, business need, or proposed solution, and a description of their attributes and characteristics related to their involvement in the initiative.
|stakeholder proxy (business analyst)
|The role a business analyst takes when representing the needs of a stakeholder or stakeholder group.
|A description of the needs of a particular stakeholder or class of stakeholders that must be met in order to achieve the business requirements. They may serve as a bridge between business requirements and the various categories of solution requirements.
|An analysis model showing the life cycle of a data entity or class.
|A requirement articulated by a stakeholder that has not been analyzed, verified, or validated. Stated requirements frequently reflect the desires of a stakeholder rather than the actual need.
|statement of work (SOW)
|A written description of the services or tasks that are required to be performed.
|A description of the chosen approach to apply the capabilities of an enterprise in order to reach a desired set of goals or objectives.
|An analysis model used to understand influencing factors and how they may affect an initiative. Also known as SWOT analysis.
|See definitional business rule.
|See domain subject matter expert; implementation subject matter expert.
|A stakeholder outside the boundary of a given organization or organizational unit who provides products or services to the organization and may have contractual or moral rights and obligations that must be considered.
suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, and customers (SIPOC)
|A tool used to describe relevant high-level elements of a process. May be used in conjunction with process mapping and ‘in/out of scope’ tools, to provide additional detail.
|Collecting and measuring the opinions or experiences of a group of people through a series of questions.
|A horizontal or vertical section of a process diagram that shows which activities are performed by a particular actor or role.
|See strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis.
|A set of interdependent components that interact in various ways to produce a set of desired outcomes.
|task (business analysis)
|A discrete piece of work that may be performed formally or informally as part of business analysis.
|A manner, method, or style for conducting a business analysis task or for shaping its output.
|An event based on time that can trigger the initiation of a process, evaluation of business rules, or some other response.
|An individual responsible for determining how to verify that the solution meets the requirements defined by the business analyst, and conducting the verification process.
|A prototype used to quickly uncover and clarify requirements or designs using simple tools, sometimes just paper and pencil. It is intended to be discarded when the final system has been developed.
|An agreed-upon period of time in which an activity is conducted or a defined deliverable is intended to be produced.
|See requirements traceability.
|A requirement that describes the capabilities the solution must have and the conditions the solution must meet to facilitate transition from the current state to the future state, but which are not needed once the change is complete. They are differentiated from other requirements types because they are of a temporary nature.
|See user acceptance test.
|See unified modelling language.
|A notation specified by the Object Management Group for describing software application structure, behaviour, and architecture. It can also be used for describing business processes and data structures. The most common UML® diagrams used by business analysts are use case diagrams, activity diagrams, state machine diagrams (also known as state diagrams), and class diagrams.
|A description of the observable interaction between an actor (or actors) and a solution that occurs when the actor uses the system to accomplish a specific goal.
|use case diagram
|A type of diagram defined by UML® that captures all actors and use cases involved with a system or product.
|See end user.
|Assessing whether the delivered solution meets the needs of the stakeholder group that will be using the solution. The assessment is validated against identified acceptance criteria.
|See stakeholder requirement.
|A small, concise statement of functionality or quality needed to deliver value to a specific stakeholder.
|validation (business analysis)
|The process of checking that a deliverable is suitable for its intended use. See also requirements validation.
|A requirement that has been reviewed and is determined to support the delivery of the expected benefits, and is within the solution scope.
|value (business analysis)
|The worth, importance, or usefulness of something to a stakeholder in a context.
|A complete, fact-based, time-series representation of the stream of activities required to deliver a product or service.
|verification (business analysis)
|The process of determining that a deliverable or artifact meets an acceptable standard of quality. See also requirements verification.
|A requirement that has been reviewed and is determined to be defined correctly, adheres to standards or guidelines, and is at an acceptable level of detail.
|A prototype that is used to drill down into a proposed solution to uncover requirement and design considerations through multiple layers of a solution that are not easily understood or that are not discernible on the surface. It may include interaction between several solution components.
|A set of conventions that define how requirements will be represented, how these representations will be organized, and how they will be related.
|See value stream mapping.
|A review in which participants step through an artifact or set of artifacts with the intention of validating the requirements or designs, and to identify requirements or design errors, inconsistencies, omissions, inaccuracies, or conflicts.
|See work breakdown structure.
|A deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed to accomplish objectives and create the required deliverables. It organizes and defines the total scope of the project.
|work product (business analysis)
|A document or collection of notes or diagrams used by the business analyst during the requirements development process.
|A facilitated and focused event attended by key stakeholders for the purpose of achieving a defined goal.