Another Success Story - Passed the PMI - PBA on first attempt [25/04/2017]
It was my first certificate, and I wanted it very badly so I put a lot of effort on it.. It become my actual project, I had even created a project plan for it..
You cannot imagine how much relieved and happy you can be when you click the submit button and you see the congratulations screen
The time is enough, don't worry about this. It took me 3 hours and 35 minutes with 3 small breaks of 5 minutes each.
The questions are sometimes 1 line most of the times 2-3 lines and few times very big, 5-6 lines. The assessment test we have here are very similar in concept, tone and quality.
The whole process took 3 months in total. I have read Practitioners Guide for BA 2-3 times, requirements managements practice guide once (In parallel with PG for BA), and the related topics from PMBOK (Scope, Integration, Communication, Stakeholders, Quality, Risk etc). I have also read the relevant sections from Business Analysis Techniques: 99 Essential Tools for Success. It gives you a clear understanding for the first chapter, Needs Assessment.
In parallel I was watching the course videos. Everyday.. 2 or 3 or for some videos, 4 times each. The videos are very essential and they build your understanding.
Then the assessment test.. I didn't take a lot but I made sure that I have taken all of them until I got until around 80% on each one. Don't get panic if you don't score high on the first attempt, take it as an opportunity for improvement. Read the explanations that are provided for each questions. Read also the explanation given for correct answers in order to validate your knowledge.
You will find the exam level according to how well you have been prepared. If you are well prepared will not be very difficult. 90% of the questions are situational. They give you a scenario and a lot of information and they are asking you what you would do next as Business Analyst.
In general, there is no shortcut to success.. You need to study, learn and understand all the concepts. You have to build the Business Analyst mindset. You have to understand who is this guy and what is his role in a project.
Understand what are different responsibilities of PM and a BA in a project. Understand when they work together. Understand also other fundamental roles in a project. The sponsor, the other stakeholders, the testing team, the development team. Understand when a BA interacts with all of them.
Important concepts per chapter:
Needs Assessment: Understand well the business case and what it includes. Understand the process and the tasks you need to perform as a BA in order to conclude to the business case. Understand that an organization will create/buy something only of it will give value to them. Help the organization to choose the option that it will give the highest value after excluding other alternative options. Include everything on the business case.
Planning: Clear in your mind that here you are planning only Business analysis work. Also clear that you have to collaborate with Project Manager because you are not working in isolation, whatever you plan it has to be integrated in the general Project Plan. Make sure that you collaborate so you don't have duplicate information in your project documents, like stakeholders analysis, communication plan etc. Understand that both you and PM are working in the same areas but each one for different purpose. BA for the product scope and PM for the whole project. At this point you have to make sure what is the difference between project and product.
Elicitation and Analysis: Understand the various methods for requirements elicitation. Understand all their differences and make sure you know which one to use in each situation. Understand analysis and what tools and techniques you have as a BA in order to perform the analysis. Understand the models and their usage. Finally make sue that is crystal clear for you what is Verification and what is Validation and their related techniques. Look at the section of Analysis tools and techniques and make sure you know all of them. You NEED to know very well RACI, Pareto and Conflict management. Understand why you need to document the solution and why you need to obtain sign off from stakeholder.
Traceability and Monitoring: READ AND UNDERSTAND all of it!! Is the most important chapter. It is maybe only 15% of your exams but the concepts you learn here are used in all other domains. Very big amount of questions are related to Traceability matrix. Traceability matrix is also the possible answer to other questions. If it is not clear for you, you may get a lot wrong answers. Understand the importance of baselining requirements and change control board, change control process etc. Understand how you can perform a change at each possible scenario (after baseline, before baseline etc)..
I can say here that I was very lucky that the last day before exams I run into this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DyOo02 ... e=youtu.be
Really, it was a gold choice, may exam questions were clear for me after watching that video
Evaluation: Understand if the value proposed on Business Case is finally achieved. You actually compare actual and plan results to see in which degree you have achieved your goals.
I hope my lesson learned will help future test takers.
For any other question, please add me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/konstantinoszinonos/