BOK-Talk-Kevin-Brennan Introduction to the BABOK

TBAC 016 | BOK Talk – Kevin Brennan – BABOK® Introduction, History, and Myths

by Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo16

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BOK Talk” is finally here and there was no better way for me to start this series than to bring on Kevin Brennan from IIBA® as the first guest. He is currently the Chief Business Analyst and EVP at the IIBA®. He has played an important role in building a strong business analysis community worldwide. In his current role at the IIBA® he is:

Responsible for IIBA’s strategy and alignment of organizational change initiatives, advancing the BA profession through standards development and research, and development of the global community of practice through local chapters and social networks.

My earnest attempt in this series will be to increase the awareness about the BABOK®. The series will also bring forward all the flavors that the BOK is manifested across the worldwide business analysis practice.  In this first episode, Kevin discusses a brief history of the BABOK®, process involved in its creation, a few myths surrounding the BABOK® and also answers a few questions that were asked by the #baot community on twitter. This is part 1 of the two-part introductory discussion with Kevin.

Here is Kevin Brennan & the first decibel of a historic series of podcasts:

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Here is a Sneak Peek of The Episode:

  • Brief background about Kevin.
  • Discussion around BABOK® Ver 1.0, Ver 1.4, Ver 1.6 and Ver 2.0.
  • Thoughts on applying business analysis to different domains.
  • The big transition from Ver 1.6 to Ver 2.0.
  • Process involved in the creation of BABOK®.
  • Kevin’s advice on on how to make use of the BABOK®.
  • Discussion on ISO Standards that are used to develop the BABOK®.
  • Enterprise analysis and ongoing elicitation.
  • Myths surrounding the BABOK®.
  • A few questions raised by the community.

Insightful Quotes From This Episode:

“Developing the BABOK was one of the two major things IIBA was created to do.”

“The first significant release with a lot of content in most of the knowledge areas was ver 1.6  and that came out in July 2006.”

“With Ver 1.6 it was turned over to me entirely…”

“We found that applying business analysis to different domains is often largely a matter of identifying different techniques used in that domain.”

“I think we had 5k or more comments on the DRAFT of ver 2.”

“The big thing about ver 2.0 is that it has come a very long way from ver 1.6 .”

“We also make sure we engage a lot of practitioners in development and review process.”

“Final thing that we have to follow as a part of the ISO process is to put it out there for a 60 day comment period… where any person interested in business analysis can come in and  and comment on its content. We have to to address those comments and we have to review every comment and make a decision about it.”

“There is going to be a lot of reasons to become an IIBA member beyond the BABOK.”

“The primary purpose we developed the BABOK was to define the profession of business analysis.”

“…I know that its still a problem today and I dont want to downplay it, but it used to be worse than it is today…”

“People didn’t really know what a BA is, what business analysis is, what a BA job function is.”

“After a long debate we came to the amazing conclusion that it has something to do with ‘business’ and ‘analysis’.”

“Not every business analyst necessarily performs every task in the BABOK, but they all are necessary for the success of business analysis.”

“You don’t have to apply these tasks in big huge chunks they can also be very small iterative activities that take you less than half an hour to an hour.”

Items Mentioned in The Show:

Kevin Brennan in Brief:

Kevin Brennan, CBAP, PMP, is the IIBA ® ‘s Chief Business Analyst and EVP. He led the development of Version 2.0 of the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge ® (BABOK ® Guide) and was also one of the authors of the CBAP exam. He is a frequent speaker on business analysis, project management, and software quality assurance topics at conferences. Kevin has over a decade of experience as a business analyst and project manager across several industry sectors, including regulated professions, utilities, automobile manufacturing, courier services, and mortgage banking. During this time he has performed just about every task a business analyst could be expected to do, from developing corporate and product strategies to being paged by end-users looking for technical support. Kevin has taught project management and requirements analysis at Humber College, and has a B.A. degree in History and Political Science from the University of Toronto. He is also a graduate of Second City’s improv comedy program.

If you have any comments or questions for this episode, please post them below.

Note: This episode was originally recorded in summer. He took up the additional role of “Chief Business Analyst” at the IIBA® after the podcast was recorded.

Enjoy the show and don’t forget to share this episode to your networks using the social sharing links.


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  • Published: November 5, 2011
  • Filed in: BOK Talk

Article by

Yaaqub Mohamed (Yamo), is the founder of The BA Coach community and host for the #1 ranked business analysis podcast in iTunes. He believes in adding relentless value to the BA community and advancing the practice.  He host this blog, and podcast to help business analysts throughout the world, do analysis better, by providing educational, relevant, and inspiring content. He's the author of 'The Five Pillars of a Great Business Analyst', best selling 'The Ultimate CBAP-CCBA Study Guide' and the creator of the revolutionary 'Ultimate BABOK Kit'. 

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16 Responses to “TBAC 016 | BOK Talk – Kevin Brennan – BABOK® Introduction, History, and Myths”

  1. Katie says:

    Hey Kevin, great to hear from you on the BA Coach.

    Thanks for taking the time to talk about the BABOK and launch BOK Talk. Enjoyed your comments on how the BABOK can be used! Looking forward to Part 2.

    • Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo says:

      Thanks, Katie. I am glad you liked the insights on using the BABOK. It was a great podcast indeed; I got to learn some new perspectives myself.

  2. Faraz says:

    Hey Yamo, I have really enjoyed BABOK podcast with Kevin.Thanks for spending your time in producing these podcasts and showering the knowledge to community. I must request to everyone visiting this site to leave comments or suggestions.

    Great work Yamo! keep it up.

  3. Sudhi says:

    Hello Yamo and Kevin,
    Thanks a ton for the wonderful podcast on the making of the bible for BA’s.

  4. […] is a part 2 of the two-part introductory discussion with Kevin. In the first episode, Kevin discussed a brief history of the BABOK®, process involved in its creation, a few myths […]

  5. […] This is probably a more important step than the exam itself (yes, really); if you have listened to this BOK Talk episode I did with Kevin Brennan from the IIBA, you will get some […]

  6. […] That You Are at a Crossroad When Kevin and I created a podcast on introduction to the BABOK, we discussed a point about CBAP or CCBA Application process being an integral part of being […]

  7. Heather says:

    Thank you for doing this interview. It helped sate my curiosity about the BABOK. I still have a lot of questions though so I will definitely have to listen to part two.

    For those you haven’t listened yet, it becomes more interesting (at least it did to me) about half way through the podcast.

    • Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo says:

      Thanks for the comment, Heather. I am glad that it satisfied your curiosity. I tend to think like a curious kid when I am asking these questions; especially the follow-up ones.

      Just out of my curiosity, what are your questions about the BABOK? You can of course listen to part 2 and let me know if these two episodes helped you find answers to your questions.

      (Here is the link for part 2: )

      Thanks again!

  8. […] Kevin Brennan – for playing a valuable role at the IIBA and helping the BA community be more engaged with the IIBA. […]

  9. […] the BABOK v2 Chapter 2 there are numerous comparisons between Plan and Change driven […]

  10. […] 3 -> Introduction to BABOK® , BOKTalk with Kevin Brennan […]

  11. Niamh Culllen says:

    Hi Yamo and Kevin,

    Thank you so much for a really insightful podcast. I am about to begin my application process for the CCBA and this session provided historical context that makes starting out the light reading of the BABOK much easier as I now have alot more context to both the BABOK and the IIBA. Additionally like any project having a background of the history of the project gives a far greater insight into what the goals to be achieved have been and how they have naturally evolved. The session has also increased my understanding and appetite for becoming involved in the IIBA and wider BA community!So I look forward to listening to the next one :)

    Thanks again

    • Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo says:

      Thanks for the comment, Niamh. It is always good to have a context that you could use to work through your work experience. It is paramount to understand that the application process as an integral part of the certification journey. I am glad you were able to glean this info from this episode.

      Looking forward to hearing how you liked the other episodes!

      – Yamo

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