Preparing your CBAP or CCBA application

So, you have made the decision to go for for your Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®) or Certification of Competency in Business Analysis™ (CCBA™) accreditation, and are probably feeling anxious about sitting a 3.5 hour exam – especially if it’s been some time since you last sat a serious exam.

Well, relax!

The exam is easy … compared to the application, that is.

Nearly every CBAP® I’ve spoken to has agreed that the application itself was the most onerous part of the experience – especially if you have to go back 10 years to be able to claim enough hours. Who has timesheets from 10 years ago, right?

Well, back when I was going through the same process, I designed a spreadsheet that not only helped me collect and collate all the right information for the whole application, it also took care of working out how many hours were spent on projects from 10 years ago.

Given that the figures I would be submitting were guesses and averages, it was important to me that the I could robustly defend the approach I had taken, which meant I was ultra-conservative on the number of hours I could claim. Let me explain.

Non-work days

The first issue to resolve was how much of the year was made up of work days. A few formulae took care of that, allowing for weekends, public holidays, annual leave, training, and sick leave – I was left with 220 working days for the year. My subsequent research is that this figure is fairly standard (although some have it as low as 200). This gave me a ratio, so that I could then estimate how many working days there were likely to be between any two given dates.

Non-BA hours

However, it was not enough to then multiply that by 8 hours (or however long is you standard working day). A certain amount of everyone’s day is taken up by interruptions. Sometimes we’re thankful for them and sometimes they irritate, but either way they cannot be counted as business analysis. Allowing for breaks, phone calls, emails, and walk up interruptions – I was left with an effective working day of 6 hours (see I was being hard on myself).

Now out of those effective working hours, how many of those were spent on BA tasks?

Having to go back over 10 years, I drew on projects where my role overall was more of an analyst/programmer, through to pure business analysis consultancy. For each project, I estimated anywhere from 20% to 95% of my tasks were business analysis (even here, I strove to ensure that I didn’t slip into assuming 100% on BA tasks).

From that, I was able to count up the number of hours to claim, and ensured that my claim would have just over 8,000 hours – just in case an audit did decide that some projects were lower than I claimed, I should still be able to achieve 7,500 hours.

CBAP/CCBA study groups

Now that I’m working with other people chasing their own CBAP® or CCBA™ dream, I find that this is still a common struggle, so I have shared the workbook I developed with others and had some great feedback, which has been incoporated along with adjustments for Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® BABOK® v2.0.

If you would like to use this too, you can download a copy of the CBAP® application workbook free (under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license). Hope this is useful for you, and more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Good luck with your own CBAP® or CCBA™

IIBA®, BABOK®, and Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® are registered trademarks owned by International Institute of Business Analysis. CBAP® is a registered certification mark owned by International Institute of Business Analysis. Certified Business Analysis Professional™, Certification of Competency in Business Analysis™, and CCBA™ are trademarks owned by International Institute of Business Analysis. These marks are used with the express permission of International Institute of Business Analysis.


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