Laura’s CBAP Journey: The BABOK Makes So Much Sense When…. (Week 10)

Two weeks to go until exam day and in the nitty gritty of my BAMentor prep course (with my super-amazing instructor, Kym Byron). Last night we went over some of the key techniques in Requirements Analysis – data modeling, data flow diagrams, sequence diagrams, use cases, user stories, and the like.

Some of this seemed so readily apparent, the BABOK terms falling nicely into place. Other aspects seemed so completely foreign.

And that’s when it hit me over the head.

The BABOK makes so much sense when…you’ve done it before!

Never having done decision analysis, the description to “calculate expected value of outcomes” seemed foreign until Kym went over it a second time. (Then it was relatively simple.)

Never having done a sequence diagram, I had to break apart the elements and try to piece them together. Essentially, using the BABOK descriptions to teach myself how to do a quick and dirty sequence diagram.

But having written user stories, the knowledge fell right into place (or validated what I already knew). And though I’ve never done anything I called Functional Decomposition, I could definitely relate the material to examples from my own work.

Obviously, this opinion isn’t the result of any fancy rocket science. But the realization hit me with so much force, I thought it would be worth sharing.

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3 thoughts on “Laura’s CBAP Journey: The BABOK Makes So Much Sense When…. (Week 10)”

  1. Thanks Disha and Joan,

    Disha, Yes, your process is about what I’ve been doing, more or less depending on how close my prior experience is to something like the technique.

    Joan, Thanks for your offer. I think what you suggest would be the true way to prepare for the CBAP. It might look something like this:

    1) Use the BABOK to do a gap analysis and determine where one’s competency gaps are.
    2) Learn with resources outside the BABOK to fill in one’s gaps.
    3) Find opportunities to practice those new experiences.
    4) Come back to the BABOK and do final preparation for the exam.

    Unfortunately, my time line for preparation hasn’t allowed for this type of study, so I’ve been falling back a bit on memorization for those few areas where I have no experience to draw from. Also, certain models, such as sequence diagrams, represent areas in which I don’t have a lot of motivation to grow professionally. I’ve seen the job descriptions in which these skills are required and they are just not a good fit for the direction I’m taking with my BA career. So that plays a part too.

  2. You’re on the right track Laura by teaching yourself different diagrams by doing them. I come from a business modeling background so much of this is second nature now, but I often return to the primers to make sure the quality of my work remains high. Remember that objects in one diagram tell part of the story in another; it’s all a matter of perspective.
    I appreciate Desha’s study steps and think that following that guidance should ingrain what BABOK has to say on the topic. However I would add learning by doing by picking a situation that you’re very familiar with, personal or professional, and use all the diagram types to tell the story. You’ll expand your diagramming vocabulary and hopefully remember how you approached each one when it comes time for the exam. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you get stuck. – Joan

  3. Hi Laura,

    I completely agree with what you say here. It is so much more easier to make sense of it if you had done it in the past. However, when I come across a technique that I am not familiar with, here is what I like to do:
    1) Mark the technique.
    2) Read through it. Reread it.
    3) Step aside and think why it would be useful. Think of situations where you might employ the technique (This is where the Advatages and Disadvantages sections of BABOK are helpful)
    4) Next, think about how you would go about applying this technique ( This is where the Elements section of the BABOK can be helpful)
    5) Read it again to reinstate your understanding of the technique.

    At the end of your reading, transfer the techniques that you have marked in Step 1 onto 4 by 6 inch index cards. Use these index cards to keep revising the techniques until you feel comfortable talking about them.

    Good luck studying!

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