Pegasystem’s BA Certification

I am recognised by Pegasystems as a Certified Business Architect. But what does that mean?

As you may know, Pega has Direct Capture of Objectives (DCO), a useful set of tools which can be used by experienced requirements analysts during the Inception and Elaboration phases of a Pega development to directly capture information about the business need. The certification means that I have a degree of competence in using those tools. However, the title can be misleading, because Pega uses the term “Business Architect” in a sense specific to Pega projects but a Pega Business Architect has nothing to do with the competencies and tasks of a business architect as set out in the BIZBOK. (see my blog posts “Requirements Analyst versus Business Architect” and “What is a Business Architect“).

What you might commonly think of as a Business Analyst working to describe the needs of the business, Pega calls a ‘Business Stakeholder’:

‘Business stakeholders define a business problem.’1

In its training materials, Pega describes the role of the CPBA as follows:

‘A business architect clarifies what the customer must have and proposes Pega solutions to add value to the business.’2

‘Business architects plan the application to address the problem.’3

In other words, the CPBA designs the high-level Pega solution. If you think there is something missing from the three quotes above, you’re not wrong. Sitting between the definition of business problems (I prefer to say ‘needs’) and the high-level design of the Pega solution, there should be a set of technology-agnostic models of the business solution to the described business needs. Business problems first need business solutions. Some of those business solutions require automation and from there you go to technology solutions.

Why Batman and Robin? See the comments below.

Getting your Pega BA certification is an achievement, particularly for those of you who have done so on the back of a training course alone, but I think those of you without any actual analysis experience could probably do with some context setting.

The Object Management Group defines Business Architecture as follows:

“A blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands.”

Business Analysis is a broad umbrella, covering the full spectrum of business change from strategic analysis at one end to documenting UI specifications at the other. However, in my mind there is a dividing line between producing the To Be Business Architecture and doing requirements analysis. The bridge between the two should be a business case to justify a specific software development project and an initial product backlog, which should then be used to help choose the solution technology (e.g., Pega). For more on this, see my blog post “Business Architecture is about more than software requirements“.

While junior and senior BAs may contribute to the Business Architecture, it should be led and presented by a Business Architect, that is someone who, using an architectural framework, knows how to tie together the various models produced by the analysts into an overall model that represents how the enterprise operates (or should be operating). The Pega certification does even scratch the surface of what that entails. In fact, it does not say anything about a person’s actual skill as a business architect. It only means that you have passed an exam that relates to how Pega wants you to capture requirements into its tool. While Pega’s approach has strengths, it also has critical (but not insurmountable) weaknesses.

Of course, I am in no way diminishing the Pega business architect certification as a useful qualification for experienced business analysts who will be working on Pega projects. Quite the contrary – I would advise all analysts working on Pega projects to study Pega’s approach.  I would even encourage them to get some hands-on experience doing Pega development; analysts become better analysts if they understand the design constraints, after all.

Pegasystems recommends (and I concur) that you have the following under your belt before you take their exam:

  • Business Essentials for Technical Architects
  • Business Architect Essentials
  • Experience gathering requirements and/or building Use cases (my emphasis)

If you are interested in business analysis, here are links to some more articles which may be of use to you:

This Wikipedia article contains a handy list of the knowledge areas of business analysis: A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge.

A practical approach to recognising and improving competencies in your business analysts from the British Computer Society.

An article on the different levels of business analyst. By the measures set in that article, I would rate myself as a Senior Business Analyst and not an Enterprise Business Analyst, largely because I lack sufficient in-depth knowledge of any one industry. Note that I have been a business analyst since 2000, although years alone do not a senior make.

Interested in getting certified as a business analyst? Certified Business Analysis Professional with The International Institute of Business Analysis. British Computer Society’s Diploma in Business Analysis (I have this one).

Jonathan Kupersmith on the characteristics of a senior business analyst.

Some questions to provoke your thoughts:

  • What is the difference between analysis and design?
  • How would you go about defining the scope of a process?
  • Why would you produce a logical data model?
  • Can you produce a logical data model?
  • How would you model the logic of a business decision?
  • Why would you use a requirements traceability matrix?
  • How would you structure a requirements traceability matrix?
  • How would you use models of the business to derive candidate stories for a product backlog

Any thoughts or questions? I would particularly welcome challenges from Pega people because either I can defend my point of view or my point of view needs to change.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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26 comments to Pegasystem’s BA Certification

  • pegasempa

    I think you are on the ball there. As far as I am concerned its just a money spinner for Pega, and really wont help you with a business analysis career if you wanted to pursue that. I’m still toying with doing an ISEB BA certification to add to my ISEB Testing one. And you are dead right…. the certification is only useful in the context of PRPC and that is all. Pega wont last for ever (even though its kept me busy for the last 10 years), so always need to plan ahead and get something generic behind you.

    • I think the CBA is useful for someone who already is a business analyst, so they can formally claim to be familiar with how PRPC can be used in the analysis context.

      My case is a perfect example. For some time now I have claimed to be a senior business analyst who specialises in PRPC development projects. Now I can add my Pega CBA to my ISEB Diploma to back up that claim. They key thing, though, is that the CBA stands alongside my ISEB diploma. It is the Pega Robin to my ISEB Batman. Any certified Robins out there need to attach themselves to a Batman if they want to learn real analysis skills and ultimately become “Nightwing”. However, while Batman is formidable in his own right, when he has the PRPC Robin by his side, he is more effective when fighting crime in the Pega world.

      This analogy holds true also for holders of Pega’s CSA (or higher). The CBA is a useful “Robin” to the CSA as “Batman”.

      Apologies to those who are not familiar with the DC Universe: Dick Grayson (the original Robin), grows up to become the crime-fighter Nightwing in his own right and even replaces Bruce Wayne as the Batman for a while.

      Returning to the topic… to reiterate, Pegasystems does say that you should “have experience gathering requirements and/or building Use cases” before you take the CBA exam. The exam does not test whether you have such experience, but in fairness to Pega, it is not meant to.

  • Devdatta Rivonkar

    Hi Declan,

    Congrats on your Pega Business Architect Certification.

    I have undergone the Pega BA Essentials Training and now I want to go for the CBA Certification. I wanted to check if the course material (book containing the course presentation) is sufficient for clearing the exam? Do is it required to have lot of working experience on Pega to clear the exam?

    Thanks,
    Devdatta

    • Many thanks, Devdatta.

      I have not taken the BA Essentials course myself. However, I do have some experience as a PRPC developer and I took the Fastrack and Bootcamp courses back in 2007. In 2008, I had my first proper look at DCO and concluded that it was not a suitable tool for requirements analysts, because it is based on a set of existing design tools. However, having come to that conclusion, I decided to play Devil’s advocate and I concluded that DCO could indeed be used by requirements analysts, but that it needed the support of external artefacts (e.g., using MS Word, Excel and Visio). My conclusions (which I bounced off LSAs and SSAs from such various companies, including Pegasystems) are distilled in the following post: http://www.chellar.com/blog/?p=874

      So my experience with DCO and Smart BPM are from hands-on use of the tools, rather than training.

      In answer to your question, I don’t know from experience whether the BA Essentials course material is enough for you to pass the exam. However, I suggest that you take the exam as soon as possible so that the material is fresh in your head. I have to say that I don’t have a huge amount of experience as a PRPC developer and that experience is more than three years old, but I still passed the BA certification exam.

      Give it a go. At worst, you will not pass but you will get a printout telling you what percentage you got in each subject area, so you will know what to focus on next time.

      All the best.

      Declan

  • swetha

    Hi

    I am planning to go for CBA certification, can anyone please provide me some material.

    Thank You.

  • I’m afraid I do not have any materials for this exam. In addition to my experience in using PRPC as a developer and an analyst, I prepared for the exam by studying articles in the Pega Developers’ Network (PDN) on the Pega website.

    You can also take a practise exam on the Pega website, the results of which will tell you in which areas you are weak.

    Regards,

    Declan

  • Radha

    Hi Declan,

    Your thoughts are encouraging for a newbie like me in the arena of Business Analysis. Thank you for sharing.

    In my recent project, documentation was a challenge since Pega doesn’t provide any ‘tech specs’ and our customer had their own templates which they enforced for documentation. Result was that we ended up manually writing rule names and flow names which is surely not advisable.

    From your experience, what do you suggest for documentation when requirements are freezing and construction is yet to start?

    Thank you in advance,
    Radha

    • Hi, Radha.

      It can be hard when a customer is not used to visual modelling and insists on using templates which force the analyst to describe flows in textual terms. It is hard and it is risky because when you try to describe flows in text, ambiguity creeps in.

      Please see my series of posts titled “Light Use Cases” for more details.

      Regards,

      Declan

  • Rashmi

    Hi Declan,

    I am planning to give CBA certification in coming week. As a part of study, I have completed Fast track & Bootcamp and also gone through PDN.

    I don’t have work experience in Pega, but I have practiced on the tool based on the scenarios given in the Fast track & Bootcamp books for 2-3 weeks.

    Just want to know is this sufficient to clear the exam or any further preparation is required??
    Would appreciate quick response..Thanks

    • Hi, Rashmi.

      It should be enough but it is impossible for me to predict in any individual case. I had some experience as a PRPC developer already and although I did not take Pega’s business analysis course, I had done some hands-on research into the Application Profiler and Application Developer.

      I suggest you take the practice exam on the Pega website. After that, all you can do is take the real exam and see what happens.

  • Rashmi

    Also,with reference to my earlier post, would like to add that I have experience in Business Analysis and have understanding of BPM

  • Kaushik

    Hi Declan,

    I’m an experienced business analyst looking forward to do the CBA certification (I’ve never worked directly on Pega). I’ve two questions:

    1. Can an individual who’s not related to Pegasystems as employees,partners or customers appear for the exam?

    2. Does this certification open up job opportunities in organizations that use/implement Pega?

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Hello, Kaushik.

      1. You should be able to take the exam as an individual. Try scheduling an exam through the Pearson VUE website:
      http://www.pearsonvue.com/pegasystems/

      2. I think the certification is useful A) if you do not have a proven track record in working as an analyst on a PRPC project and B) if the person hiring knows nothing about the CBA. If I were interviewing someone for an analysis role, I would care only about their experience, since I do not think the CBA means anything other than they passed the CBA exam.

      Regards,

      Declan

  • Sai

    Please send me Dump / Practise questions for CBA. Planning to write in this month

  • kushal

    hi, i am done with graduation in computers then with finance in my b-school in this month, now i would like to start my career as business analyst can you please suggest me a certification which helps me to start my career as business analyst as fresher as per Indian market. thanks in advance..

    • Hello, Kushal.

      Through the British Computer Society you can study for certifications which can ultimately lead to a diploma in business analysis. The great thing about their approach is that each certification is a qualification in its own right. You can study on your own or follow courses. However, I don’t know if there are any course providers where you live. The BCS website should be able to help you: http://certifications.bcs.org/category/15680

      Kind regards,

      Declan

  • Gopi Krishna

    Hi Declan,

    It is really nice to see that you are encouraging all to take up Pega Certification.
    I am Business Analyst with 6yrs Exp and all the way in US Healthcare Domain. My project requires me to do CBA as it is Pega based project. I have completed fast track and bootcamp trainings.Biggest challenge is to find out the Exam Material. I know there are lot of sites offering material on paid subscription basis. But it is hard to go for paid subscription. Can you guide how should I approach? what actions I have to take to be CBA certified ?? and what could be the ideal timeframe to prepare for the exam ?

    Thanks
    Gopi

  • Jakathish Kumar

    Hi,I have close to 7.5 yrs of experience in business analysis. I have a plan of doing pega certification could someone shall guide me about that.

    Thanks in advance.

    Warm Regards,
    Jakathish Kumar.G
    senthil_17@hotmail.com
    +919884422545.

  • Gautham

    Hi,

    I have 2 years experience in finance. I have a plan of doing pega certification. Can someone help me out.

    Thanks& Regards,

    Gautham
    bhat.g4@gmail.com
    +91 8762821400

    • Declan Chellar

      Hello, Gautham.

      Pega have many types of certificate. Which one are you hoping to get?

      By the way, your experience in any particular industry will not help you get Pega certification.

      Regards.

      Declan

  • Gunjan

    Hi Declan,
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge on Pega certification. I am an automation tester and I am working on Pega application from last 4 years. I am aware of Pega applications rules etc.
    I had plan to do CSA and move into Pega development but some of my friends suggested me to go for CBA (and above) certification and move into Business Analyst profile. So can you please suggest how much helpful CBA would be for me to move into Pega Business Analyst profile.

    Thanks in Advance.

    Regards,
    Gunjan

    • Declan Chellar

      Hello, Gunjan.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      If you are not already a business analyst, the CBA and associated Pega training courses will not turn you into one. I have known people who had absolutely no business analysis experience take a 3-day CBA course, pass the CBA exam and jump straight into a “Lead BA” role. I find that quite irritating because it cheapens the role. Unfortunately, customers seem to value the Pega BA certification over experience. But then a lot of customers think business analysis is nothing more than documenting requirements.

      In answer to your question, if you get the certified by Pega as a BA, you should be able to find work as a BA on a Pega project, especially if you have an understanding of the constraints of Pega. However, it’s unlikely to get you any offers of work on a non-Pega project.

      Kind regards.

      Declan

  • Tuhin Chakrabarty

    Thank you Declan! for sharing your practical experience about Pega Certification :) Alongside, I found this website very helpful in terms of foreseeing the future of business analyst jobs. Which is actually what I would request you to comment for my case:

    I have recently moved to Pega domain as a BA from Service Management Operations industry. I have lesser experience in application development rather have better experience on day to day business operations of the manufacturing industry. Now, being a new to the Pega ‘BA’ role in my organization, I would like to know the growth path of a business analyst. More precisely, what is a business analyst grows up to after 2 to 3 years. What could be next scopes for a business analyst and how should the build the certification career.

    sorry for asking too many questions! Thanks in advance!

    • Declan Chellar

      Hi, Tuhin. Thanks for commenting.

      I’m afraid I can’t give you much advice about career growth as a BA, firstly, because I work freelance, so career growth for me is all about learning and applying new techniques. The way I work today has nothing to do with how I did the same job ten years ago. However, I know people who are working as employees of companies who work exactly the same way they did ten years ago. There is something wrong with that.

      Your career path will depend largely on constraints imposed by your employer. I know organisations whose career path for BAs is as follows: 1. Be a Subject Matter Expert in the business; 2. Become a BA without any training or experience; 3. Become a Project Manager. And that’s the entirety of their career path. In fact, there’s nothing to say a BA could take their specialise business knowledge and end up advising on strategy at the business architecture level and then even become a CEO. Or a BA could become an expert in how the business operates and should be operating and rise through the ranks to become a COO.

      My advise to you would be to familiarise yourself with the BABOK and BIZBOK and decide what kind of BA you want to be and make sure you seek out the training and opportunities that allow you to pursue that.

      Kind regards.

      Declan

  • Kunal

    Hi,

    Could anyone forward any documents which we can go through as a reference/ refresh PEGA CBA skills.

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