CBAP / CCBA Application Series – Step 5 of 7 – Seven Easy Ways To Document Your Work Experience

by Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo3

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series CBAP Application Series

What connects the Kansai-style Kanto-style Maki-zushi and Uramaki ?

They are all different types of sushi. But for someone who is not familiar with the fascinating world of sushi, these are just unintelligible phrases.

So, how is this related to documenting your BA work experience?

There are multiple styles of practice and multiple sub-styles of projects. Just like the different variety of sushi, the BA experience can take some interesting shapes and form across industries and organizations.

How can you as a BA assess your work experience using a simple lens?

In this post we will attempt to see the things using a simple lens and how best we could simplify the way we look at our experience as business analysts. These can perhaps help us reduce our anxiety when thinking of filling out the application form for CCBA or CBAP.

CCBA / CBAP Application – The Work Experience Challenge

This is probably the step where a lot of practitioners have trouble once they start the CCBA / CBAP application and exam journey. Your experience as a practitioner is guaranteed to be different from everyone else. The prime factor for this is due to the practice being different in different organizations.

A lot of times, business analysts start their work with elicitation and beyond. Some BAs get involved predominantly in the enterprise analysis (although it does require some elicitation and use of tasks from other knowledge areas).

Non-Sequential Seven Ways

In this post I would like to highlight seven steps to help you represent your work experience easily for the CCBA / CBAP Application purpose. These steps are not a sequential prescription to document your work experience. However, you may pick and choose what applies to your situation and peruse the indicated guidelines.

1. Just Focus on the Ten and What You Have Done …

Don’t be overwhelmed with your entire work experience and all the job titles that you would have held all along. Time bound your assessment to the last 10 years and start documenting your work experience.

DUH! … Now isn’t this obvious?

While this may seem obvious and common sense, it is often ignored by professionals who have more than 20 years of experience. They often tend to be so nostalgic about all their work experience that they blatantly forget to focus on the last 10 yrs. I have personally met a few of these kinds and I had to literally raise my hands and show them to just focus on this duration of their work experience.

2. Work Through like a Brew

Once you have created the time box for working through your experience for the purpose of CCBA / CBAP Application, work through it in one sitting. This is really essential to complete the application process from a motivational standpoint.

Block off some time on your calendar just for this activity. This will help you focus and get it done sooner.

3. Create Project Cookie Cutter for Projects That Matter… Project Patterns

This is a very simple and powerful way to represent your projects. Analyze projects that have worked on and create a “cookie cutter” that you could use to enumerate the hours from different knowledge areas.

For example:

Patter 1 – could be a project with:

10% – BAPM + 20% – Elicitation + 15% – RMC + 10% – EA + 30%- RA + 15% – SAV

Patter 2 – could be a project with:

5% – BAPM + 25% – Elicitation + 15% – RMC + 40%- RA + 15% – SAV

4. Exclude or Minimize the Non-Applicable KAs (Use KOD template)…

If you used the KOD Template from step 3 of this series, you will get a visual representation of the knowledge areas from the BABOK where you have minimum to no experience. Identify this right off the bat and use it to navigate the CCBA / CBAP Application worksheet easily (In the next step of this series).

A word of caution: while it may be tempting to ignore the knowledge areas with few hours, it is important to note that it would be useful to have them get accumulated when considered across your entire work experience.

5. Do a Grand Non-Applicable Roll-up Per Project

If you played dual roles in a project and have a certain percentage that doesn’t fit into any of the project patterns that you have defined, do a grand roll-up. You could also optionally express this as a percentage and add to your corresponding project pattern. This makes it easier for your to track the overall non-applicable hours. You could also take the average of all the non-applicable work hours and exclude them from the final hours.

6. Create the 10 yr percentage tower (and validate with next step)

This is an interesting way to approach your work experience. This is also a visual way that forces you to visualize your experience and jot down the hours in one sitting.

  • Create a vertical timeline divided into multiple segments of 7 units each (6 for the knowledge areas and 1 for the non-applicable hours).
  • On the left side of the tower label the projects / companies that you have worked for in the last 10 years (preferably with a short code).
  • For each segment write out a rough percentage for the unit (KA and non-applicable hours).
  • Use this tower as a reference to fill in the application worksheet in the next step.

7. Project Roll-Up Scenarios

Once you have the various project patterns figured out, you could start rolling up your experience for similar smaller projects. For smaller projects try and define the span of roll up so that is easiest to define. Use the following scenarios as pointers to help you with the roll up:

  • Multiple non-overlapping small projects with different % for each KA – This is fairly easy to deal with. You can create an “average-of-each-KA” for the overall final roll up hours.
  • Multiple overlapping small projects with different % for each KA – This can be a tricky scenario to roll up. Ideally I would recommend treating them as separate projects; however if they are really small it is worthwhile to roll up
  • Multiple non-overlapping small projects with same % for each KA – This is the easiest roll up scenario and is similar to the first one. The average of the overall rolled up projects for each KA will be the same as that for individual project.
  • Multiple overlapping small projects with same % for each KA – This is fairly easy to deal with. You can create an “average-of-each-KA” for the overall final roll up hours.

What are your thoughts on these steps? Do you have any other suggestions to simplify the way you would document your experience?

Please use the comment space below to leave your comments, thoughts and suggestions.


Series Navigation<< CBAP / CCBA Application Series – Step 4 of 7 – Understanding the Five Core Eligibility RequirementsCBAP / CCBA Application Series – Step 6 of 7 – CBAP CCBA Application Worksheet Template >>

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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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3 Responses to “CBAP / CCBA Application Series – Step 5 of 7 – Seven Easy Ways To Document Your Work Experience”

  1. David Morris says:

    @Yamo, some more great advice here. Those of us with CCBA/CBAP already wish that advice like this was around when we were doing this for ourselves, so it’s fantastic that some of us are willing to put something back out to the community. I really hope those aspiring to CCBA and CBAP are following this series.

    All seven points are really strong in and of themselves, I particularly like the visual concept of the ten-year tower. I’m looking forward to how you advise turning those percentages into hours, because I know I wrestled with this.

  2. […] 7 Ways to Easily Document Your Work Experience for CBAP – simple ways to group and roll up your work experience. You will learn about 7 different ways in which you can simplify seemingly complicated work experience. This post will end by introducing you to the CBAP Application worksheet – where all the action begins. […]

  3. […] CBAP / CCBA Application Series – Step 5 of 7 – Seven Easy Ways To Document Your Work Experie… […]

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