Recent activity in the IIBA group in LinkedIn has revealed a variety of opinions about the effectiveness of IIBA.
David Olsen wrote a blog post titled “Why I Chose Not to Renew My IIBA Membership” and posted it in the IIBA group in LinkedIn.
This is my summary of the discussion.
David’s main concerns are:
- the IIBA is too focused on members, and gaining new members, than on Business Analysis itself. His main argument here is that the IIBA’s Body of Knowledge, the BABOK, should be free for everyone who wants to improve in Business Analysis.
- The Recertification process. A BA can earn more points for presenting, and watching webinars than they can from actually “doing” BA work.
- the IIBA communicates poorly. Often major announcements are made with little, or no, rationale given. Examples include:
- IIBA’s 3 year strategy plan
- The new Global Strategic Alliances (see more on this here, here and here).
- The decision to rebrand the CBAP / CCBA certifications as part of a broader “Gold Standard” certification with levels.
These seem like valid concerns. Enough to make Dave want to not renew his membership.
So what happened when he posted this to the IIBA group on LinkedIn? Well, before I go into that, I just want to mention what David wrote when he share his blog post in the group:
I figured this was a place where I would probably get the most disagreement so I figured I would post a link here in case anyone wanted to chime in and maybe end up changing my mind (not that I expect any of you to care).
What followed showed that people, actually, did care. I’m writing this 5 days after the original post, and there have been 80 comments made, and 119 people have indicated that they want to follow the discussion.
And in the comments you could that there were three groups:
- those who 100% agreed with David’s concerns
- those who did not agree with David’s concerns
- and people who fitted in between – they agreed with some of David’s concerns, but also consider things from a pragmatic point of view.
Those who thought he was right
Free the Knowledge
There were those that agreed that the BABOK should be available to the wider Business analysis community.
since they claim to be the “voice” of our profession, they should realize that whatever is developed at IIBA – publications, tools, methods, BoK, … it’s all collective property of the entire community. And community here means anyone who is working in this profession, irrespective of the membership.
– Rajul A.
Make BABOK and such other sources free for all – I feel very strongly about this. Let the whole of business analysis benefit from these.
– Ronnel E.
One commenter pointed out an example of this – an online Business Analysts Guidebook, put together by the New York State Government
Fully support the comments on openness (The future is MOOCed)
See: Business Analysis Guidebook
– Gerrit B.
Cost and value of membership
And then there were many voices concerned with the cost of membership, and the value of it.
The IIBA is not delivering value to me that justify to pay the member renewal amount
– Sergio L.C.
I strongly believe that the IIBA needs to do a better job on this front of demonstrating and communicating the value being added.
– Michael R.
I have never understood why you have to pay for a membership to IIBA and then be asked to pay for local membership as well. Why doesn’t this $110 cover local membership too?
– Angie P.
I am also disappointed by IIBA hence did not renewed my membership . If you are part of IIBA global community, by default You get access to local chapter. Unfortunately it didn’t happened
– Harsh S.
I started my BA career three years ago as a transition from being a Developer hoping I would get something out of membership. I’ve been rather disappointed with the membership in general. I just don’t feel like there’s much value added criteria to the membership in general.
– Thomas P.
I would be more satisfied with the membership fee if the IIBA were to publish a monthly peer-reviewed research journal on business analysis modeled on the Communications of the ACM or IEEE Software.
– Douglas K.
I’ve considered joining the IIBA, and taking the CBAP, for a few years. I was initially put off by their attitude as illustrated by your first point: all they seemed to be interested in was money.
– Ron H.
And, people weren’t happy with the certification, or recertification, process. (You can read more about the recertification requirements in the IIBA Recertification Handbook.)
As an IIBA member and a CBAP certificate holder i completely agree with your analysis, especially on the recertification process which is geared toward EEP courses rather than experience.
– Marius A.
I just renewed my certification last year and felt it was a nightmare trying to figure out what qualified and what didn’t. I couldn’t get credit for working and guiding my team on business analysis as their manager because the experience had to be something where I learned something. Well, let me tell you, there wasn’t a time that I didn’t learn from my co-workers something new and different based on their experience and viewpoint. Why is that not valuable?
– Angie P.
I started the process to get my certification but stopped before I wrote the test. I have been doing BA work long before the term was coined. I know what needs to be done, and how to do it. The problem with the test, like most, is that it is all memorization. It tests if you have memorized the BABOK, not if you can actually do the work. My resume and references show if I can do the work.
– Dean M.
This year I finally decided I was just going to sit down and finally attempt to get my certification but I admit I was having some reservations after reading about IIBA and was wondering if I was the only one.
– Michelle D.
Those who disagreed
While there were a lot of people in support of David’s concerns, there was also a small camp of people who did not agree. Either with what David had expressed,or with the comments that others had made.
As a volunteer who worked on both the BABOK and Competency Model I would like to clarify for the dialog here that myself and the other writers were not paid. We all gave of our time to these assets with no remuneration. We do this out of our passion for business analysis and a desire advance the profession.
– Angela W.
… I can only say I value my membership highly. It provides access to a wide range of information, tools, insights that have helped me take my career to the next level.
– Sheila B.
The BABOK is all about community input….In a nutshell, the Team uses various research studies, and multiple levels and layers of community feedback. All of it includes thousands of BAs around the globe. There are standard guidelines the development of a standard BoK as a community effort and IIBA does follow them. This is why it takes 5 years to create a new version. The Core Team of experts is there to make the trade off decisions on conflicting feedback from the community.
– Angela W.
I was also one of the volunteers on BABOK 3. I participated because I believe in the IIBA’s objectives in creating professional recognition of Business Analysts and wanted to share and develop my knowledge.
– Brian H.
I was a lead author on BABOK 2.0 and an expert reviewer on 3.0 I received nothing–absolutely nothing–for the hundreds of hours I put in. I did it for many reasons, among them because I believe in having consistency in what business analysis is and what the work entails, to have some say in shaping those things, and to work with colleagues whom I respect and like.
– Elizabeth L.
I believe and am passionate about the profession of business analysis and the IIBA is the only institution that I have found that validates everything I have worked towards well before the profession became a true profession. I do not believe the BABOK should be a truly open source product. The limiting and monitoring of its development ensures those who are truly qualified are assisting with the shaping of the profession. With that said, I also believe all performing the discipline should have a voice.
– Lora M.
It is not the IIBA’s responsibility to alone do the things you’ve mentioned. We as members have a responsibility there too. If we want greater transparency we should define and demand it. If we want to grow the community we should put forward the opportunity and help make it happen.
– Christopher H.
As far as I am concerned, the business analysis profession is leaps and bounds better than it was 12 years.
– Jeffrey D.
While I have been frustrated with IIBA for many things over the years, we are better for having them around.
* The organization is opaque, but we are better with them than without. No other alternative for BAs is as attractive to me.
* The BABOK, whatever my personal quibbles, serves its purpose of defining the scope of the jobs involved, standardizing the profession, and growing professionals skills.
* As someone who contributes by writing, speaking, and sometimes chapter involvement, I love these things! It helps push us forward.
– Jeffrey D.
Jeffrey also shared a link to “To Stay Relevant, Professional Associations Must Rebrand“
One suggestion is to become involved in your local chapter. Join the leadership team. Contribute to the program.
– Rebecca S.
One positive found was access to their online library.
– Rupkamal T.
I want to throw a thought in about your comment David, ‘The IIBA is Too Member-Focused’. I would be disappointed if they were not member focused. There is a lot of good information on the IIBA website for members such as the online library for example…
– Bryan W.
Those who had a pragmatic viewpoint
As I mentioned at the beginning, there were also those commenters who might have agreed with some of David’s comments, they looked at things pragmatically.
In some ways I agree with you. But in the end charity doesn’t help sustain, forget about growing. If an organization were to grow, commercial aspect is necessary.
– Rahul A.
This is a difficult one. The CBAP is the gold standard for BA certifications, but the IIBA brings me absolutely no added value. BABOK v3 came from volunteers, not the IIBA.
– Michael B.
David, thank you very much for this article. It has prompted a great discussion and after all that is what Business Analysis is about. Challenging status quo with discussions. I happen to agree with you on a few points. Make BABOK and such other sources free for all – I feel very strongly about this. Let the whole of business analysis benefit from these. Change re-certification to also recognize the value of professional experience (including management of business analysts). However I believe there is still a place for a membership. A membership to me would mean regular news letters, access to the online library, even a better deal in some training opportunities. These are all direct value a membership can provide.
– Ronnel E.
Although there were several commenters who were involved directly with the IIBA, the were two “official” responses from the IIBA.
David, Thank you very much for your feedback. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your views further. If you are available for further discussion, please contact Kathleen Hutton, our EVP, Chapters and Member Services at Kathleen.firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
– Kristina Fixter
Thank you for your feedback as it is valuable to our ongoing evolution as a Member driven organization. I have provided additional insights on this important conversation. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/value-iiba-membership-kathleen-hutton?published=t
– Kathleen Hutton
Kathlyn goes further into the strategic plan of the IIBA, as well as given more detail on some of the current activities of the IIBA aligned with the strategic plan.
What is have shown above is just a sampling of the comments made with regards David’s post. As you can see, there are a lot of valid comments that support the issues that David mentioned. And, there are a lot of great input from the other side of the argument. I’m glad that the IIBA got involved. I’m not sure if David has taken this further with them. Hopefully we will hear more soon.
What did strike me was one of the comments made:
Lots of inputs, criticisms, suggestions… Some cosmetic actions… Silence on key issues… complacency… Noise fads… Silence prevails… I hope this discussion doesn’t take this route.
My sentiments exactly. Are they yours?