When the Certified Business Analyst Professional(CBAP®) Exam was first released, there weren't many options for preparing for it besides the self study route. Most of the early CBAP® recipients had to either join a study group or buckle down and study the content of the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®) all alone.

Today, to join the elite group of CBAP® recipients (only 500+ in the world), you have a bit more options. If you are wondering where to start, this article will provide you with the knowledge you need to assess the options available to get ready for the CBAP® Exam.

In the past few years of helping others earn the highest designation as a Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®), I’ve found that the most used approaches for successfully reaching this goal are:

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Dear Diary: The application is now finished and after having it reviewed a couple of time by an official Certified Business Analysis ProfessionalTM(CBAP®), I’m waiting on the results to return. I’ve documented over 11000 hours for the committee to pick and choose from for acceptance, so there shouldn’t be much of a problem. Reviewing the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®) in the last few weeks has become overwhelming. How am I going to process all this information?

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Dear Diary:
“This new CBAP® Certification may be my ticket to a more rewarding career. If I can just pass the test, I’ll have those letters at the end of my name and it may give me the edge in the resume selection/search process. I think I can pass the test with enough preparation, but can I walk the walk while I talk the talk? I also need to know if this effort is worth it in the end and what my goal is, in order to determine if the payoff in the end is suitable.

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Most of us, Business Analysts, are more familiar with gathering system requirements because they are more interesting to our organizations and customers than the user requirements. But user requirements are absolutely of equal importance if not more important that the system requirements. You may ask me why is that?

In this series of blogs, I am going to take you through understanding the importance of user requirements and how to gather them.
If the goal of your organization is to develop products that has a good reputation and requires less training and support in the backend (sells well, keeps customers happy, and produces referrals), your focus should be on the users of the product. The main reasons that drive customers away from products are:

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Now what are user requirements?

According to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge version 1.6 definition, "they are statements of the needs of a particular stakeholder or class of stakeholders. they describes the needs that a given stakeholder has and how that stakeholder will interact with a solution. They serve as a bridge between business requirements and the various classes of solution requirements.

They must be collected in order to determine the direction of the product. There are various sources of user requirements.

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Have you ever been in an elicitation meeting and the users refers to some functionality in your product and you have absolutely no idea what they are talking about? Well, this has happened to me a few times. I was thrown in with the high level description of the product but had never seen the real product because the organization had only the "in-development" products. And, as a débutante in business analysis, I really didn't know what I was doing most of the time. But I have learned my lesson since then.
That's why, I believe the first commandment to a Product BA, is to KNOW THY PRODUCT.

You may ask, but how do i do that?

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Part of my job as a Business Analyst, it is my responsibility to facilitate business process analysis meetings with a group of very knowledgeable folks. As I stood in front of my audience, I couldn't stop thinking: "What if I don't understand what is going on here? What if I can't comprehend the issues at hand? What if i steer this group to an outcome that is completely irrelevant to the issues at hand?" I was hired in the public health industry at the time and prior to that, I worked in the gaming industry, healthcare, computer software and hardware.

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