Doug’s Diary of a CBAP-Seeker: Taking Stock of My Business Analyst Experience

Dear Diary:

I’ve been an analyst for a long time now and have finally come to the decision that I don’t want to be just an analyst. I want to be a really good analyst. I’m no longer satisfied with taking the word of someone else as to why things are done a certain way. I not only want to know why, I want to be part of creating a better solution. I want to be respected for my opinion. I want people to know that my opinions are rooted in facts and not just some wild hair that someone got reacting to a situation. I want to be recognized for the things I have done, the countless hours I’ve spent making processes better or providing solutions to problems. Now, what?

I’d been asking the “why” questions for a while. I knew that things weren’t necessarily on the correct path, and had tried to suggest adjustments to efficiency and cost. I’d tried to develop alternative plans that would lead to success. However, a man is no army in himself. It is only when the obstacles are removed that he or she can be successful. What could I do to be a better analyst regardless of my working environment?

Along the path to finding out about CBAP®, I’d been reading voraciously and actively engaging my peers in conversation about the topics of the day regarding business analysis. The interactions I had with them highlighted where my knowledge proved to be weak and also the few instances in which I really knew what I was talking about. These actions became the preparatory foundation for what it would take to consider something more: the CBAP® exam and certification process. I’ve never been the one to actively invite myself to study for more than six months followed by a casual 3.5 hour exam; I suddenly had to question my own motivations as to how serious I was about all this betterment stuff. I actually considered just poking my eyes out and being done with it all when I saw the BABOK® the first time.

To some, the exam may represent another “gotta have” set of letters at the end of their name, but for me it holds much more. It’s a commitment I make to myself to congeal all that I am trying to do for me and to practice what I believe in. My effort will prove that I’m not taking the lazy way out, but that I can back my arguments with effort-driven factual content, and that I am not too stubborn to think that I alone have all the answers. The CBAP® is only one piece of all my efforts to improve my business analysis skills, but it is a tangible shred of evidence that one has run the certification gauntlet.

Of course, once I started to dig into the BABOK® and reviewed it, I learned that I couldn’t even think about sitting for the exam until I had documented my life’s history as an analyst for the last ten years. Had I thought about this eventuality ten years ago, it would have not been an issue today, but shouldawouldacoulda…. Now there are two major things to accomplish: (1) to tell my story and hope someone believed it enough to allow me to sit for the test and (2) to study my tail off. These two topics will form the next article in this series

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  1. HI Rokib

    My general response is sure you can add those hours as long as they are PURE BA work. You need to know, though, that if you are showing that you are working 18 hours a day on 2-3 separate projects are split between your full time work and free-lance, there is a strong likelihood that your application could see the accepted hours questioned or reduced in the review process and/or official audit (random). What I would suggest is that you send these questions directly to the certification team at IIBA ( to get their official viewpoint on it.

    • Rokib Hassan says

      Hi Doug,

      Thank you very much for your reply. I have sent one e-mail to IIBA. Let’s see what they say.


  2. Rokib Hassan says

    Hi Doug,

    I am little bit confused on one thing. I do a job that let me do a lots of BA related works. Besides I’m doing freelancing after I’m coming back home and there are some BA related projects too. Can I add both experience in my CBAP application?

    My career is only 6 years and I have done more than 10K hours of BA related works on my projects if I count those freelancing job too. Can you please advice me on this?

    Thank you


  3. I have 8 years of BA exp and I don’t know which project to be mentioned and which not. Can anyone help me as I am ready to pay for the help 🙂

  4. Hi Doug,
    Many thanks for sharing your views.. they are an encouragement for me sitting here in Sydney. Yes, doing the BA work is one thing and documenting it in a way suitable for CBAP is entirely another ball game. But you have done it and that is a big encouragement… thanks again and best wishes, Bhuvan

  5. Interesting story… I am in this predicament as welll. will like to document my BA career history. where do i start from?
    Have you started with yours?



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