PMI Professional in Business Analysis

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PMI is offering a new certification, and this one is aimed at business analysts. Called the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA), PMI is recognizing the growth of business analysts in the industry, as well as the role that BAs play. Intrigued, I decided to look more into it, as I’m still a few hours short of qualifying for the CBAP certification from IIBA.

Here are the basic requirements for this certification:

Education BackgroundBA ExperienceProject ExperienceTraining in Business Analysis
Secondary degree (high school diploma, associates degree)7,500 hours in business analysis in the last 8 years.2,000 hours working on projects in the last 8 years. This can be inclusive of the BA experience hours.35 contact hours
Bachelor’s degree or higher4,500 hours in business analysis in the last 8 years.2,000 hours working on projects in the last 8 years. This can be inclusive of the BA experience hours.35 contact hours

This certification is still in pilot mode, which offers a few advantages and challenges for one who is interested in it. One of the advantages is that as a member of the pilot group, you can get discounted pricing on the exam.  OK…that’s good, I always like getting a good deal!  But one of the disadvantages is that there is little to no information available to help you study for the exam. There is no PMI-PBA equivalent(yet) to the BABOK or PMBOK. There is only high level information on what PMI has outlined as the key domains and the tasks for those domains. No additional information exists at this time.

OK…definitely an interesting challenge, but one that I decided to try anyway. The first thing that I did was express interest in the pilot program. This was as simple as sending an email to PMI. By joining the pilot program, I get periodic updates on the status of the pilot effort, as well as reminders to complete my application and to take the exam by a certain date. Once that was complete, I did join PMI. While it is not required to join PMI in order to take the exam, it does provide one access to a lot of the materials that PMI does have available, such as the PMBOK. If you are interested in this certification at all, I definitely recommend that you join.

Once those first preliminaries were taken care of, the next order of business was to complete the application. If you are preparing for the application, the biggest thing to have ready is the list of projects that you have worked on over the years as well as how many hours you worked on each. You will need this information, along with a contact name for each of your projects.

Once your application is complete and submitted, you do need to wait until it has been accepted. Once accepted, it’s time to study. OK…since there are no materials available to study, what should one do? The first thing I did was definitely read what PMI is calling the “Examination Content Outline.” This will provide you the information on the various domains and the tasks for each of those domains. You will definitely see some differences in what IIBA defines, such as verification activities (such as testing) during the project. Thus if you are familiar at all with the IIBA material, you will need to adjust your thinking to focus on what PMI has defined.

After that, I took advantage of the information that Vicki James from Watermark Learning provided in her blog when she studied for the exam. Vicki has gone through and tied most of the tasks in the domains to various areas of the PMBOK. Thus, I took her advice and read those various parts of the PMBOK. Additionally, I went through each of the Knowledge and Skills that PMI has defined. I paid particular attention to any technique that I was not familiar with and studied those, as well as brushed up on any technique that I may have not used in a while.

The information that PMI has provided states that the test questions will be divided along these lines:


Percentage of Items on Test

Domain 1:  Needs Assessment


Domain 2:  Planning


Domain 3:  Analysis


Domain 4:  Traceability and Monitoring


Domain 5:  Evaluation


I take the test in the next few days, and so I’m in my final preparations. Since I’m part of the pilot, I will not know how I did until after the pilot period ends, which is in early August. But hopefully with the preparation work that I’m doing, plus the experience I have on projects (and teaching our own courses), I’ll do well enough to pass. Wish me luck!

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