Today, a friend of mine forwarded an announcement from the Project Management Institute (PMI), “the world’s leading not-for-profit professional membership association for the project, program and portfolio management profession” announcing its new Requirements Management Knowledge Center of Excellence and Practice. The email also announced a number of other critical initiatives under way at the organization:
- PMI’s Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) Certification going into pilot over the next few months
- Practice Guide on Business Analysis coming in 2014
- Practice Standard in Requirements Management in 2015
As the founding President and former CEO of IIBA, how do I feel about PMI playing in the BA space?
It is not unexpected.
In early 2013, IIBA became aware that PMI was working on its own certification. A number of IIBA members (who are also members of PMI) were contacted by PMI about activities that it was undertaking in the requirements management space.
- Firstly, PMI was looking for volunteers for it requirements management role delineation study. Role delineation studies are used to identify essential knowledge and skills required of a profession and are used for the development of qualifying or certifying exams. These studies validate the importance, criticality and relevance of both broad content areas and tasks. While not stated explicitly, the expectation was that PMI would be using the output of the analysis to formulate its own certification.
- Secondly, PMI reached out to a number of experts in the BA field and asked them to help contribute to a learning guide that would identify key areas of knowledge and resources (books, periodicals) in the requirements management area. This learning guide would support the educational and knowledge requirements of individuals who wished to develop expertise in the business analysis area.
While no further details were made available within these communications, both these activities indicated that PMI was planning on entering the BA space.
It seemed that PMI finally realized what many of us have known for a long time: the best run project will not be successful if it fails to capture what is needed to solve the business problem. Effective business analysis is a requirement for project success.
What will this mean to the business analysis profession?
Even back in early 2013 when I was still running IIBA, I viewed it as a double edged sword. PMI is a HUGE organization and its reach is enormous. It will spread the message of business analysis/requirements management very quickly. In the short term, it will reach organizations that IIBA would have taken years to engage. Companies will invest in business analysis/requirements management. Practitioners will finally get the respect they deserve after years of neglect.
Is there a downside for the practitioner? As it is the Project Management Institute, its perspective on the role may be limited to a project. But it is a start. Raising awareness is the first step towards broader success.
And what about IIBA?
I believe competition is good. It is hard, but it will force IIBA to focus on its fundamentals. Why does it exist? What makes it special? How can it differentiate itself from PMI? IIBA should not go away. It provides a different perspective on business analysis – an enterprise view beyond the scope of a project. It will be a challenge, but IIBA may even grow as PMI pushes the boundaries of the whole market.
As Richard Branson said: “You can be a David vs. a Goliath, if you get it right.”