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CBAP Certification Thoughts from the Field: To Certify or Not to Certify
By Andrea Brockmeier

Once again, I’ve been on the trail catching up with people who have earned their certification in either business analysis or project management to see what impact it has had on their professional development or practice.

Previously, I talked with a couple of PMPs. My most recent interview was with Cristian, who lives in Sweden and achieved his CBAP certification in December of 2014.

Andrea: Why did you decide to get your CBAP?

Cristian: I was working for an organization that works with consultants. Everyone has their own ideas, and preconceived notions about how to do things. People mix terms or take for granted what people mean by something.

Andrea: So you were looking for communications consistency?

Cristian: Yes, you could put it that way. There was also a CMMI [Capability Maturity Model Integration] initiative going on and I wanted to make sure I was using correct terminology in my work.

Andrea: Has it improved your practice?

Cristian: It has definitely improved my practice. It puts me in a whole different state of mind. Things I didn’t pay attention to before I now think about and address, such as solution assessment and validation. Also, it really puts structure in my mind when planning and developing an approach to business analysis.

Andrea: Have there been any downsides?

Cristian: It has brought a degree of frustration because colleagues don’t use the correct terminology and they invent things. Since becoming a CBAP, I am in a constant teacher and mentor role.

Andrea: How else has it changed things for you?

Cristian: I feel much more confident now and I have a base of discussion with other BAs. It has not only improved my work, but it has opened my appetite for other things. I am looking to take the next step and get into business architecture now. I don’t think I would have thought about before going through the process of getting certified.

Andrea: It is popular where you are (in Sweden)?

Cristian: No, it is not popular. I was the 7th CBAP in all of Sweden! That’s a bit of a frustration, too. Here they don’t pay too much attention to your certifications or experience; they are more interested in you as a person. So the CBAP has less value here than it does in other countries like the U.S.

Andrea: Would you do it again?

Cristian: Absolutely! It was a hell of an effort for me. It was the most difficult exam I have ever taken. I have two small kids and it was a lot to get through. But I have never, and will never, regret it. It has helped me greatly and it’s definitely worth it.

Andrea Brockmeier is the Client Solutions Director of Project Management at at Watermark Learning, Inc. She began her project management career in the non-profit sector in Dallas where she developed and directed a community program for refugees. After returning to Minnesota, she spent over 10 years managing technical, operational, and financial projects. She also has many years of experience developing and leading technical project teams. Most recently, she has focused on curriculum development and training delivery of project management and influencing skills classes. Andrea holds a number of technical certifications and is certified as a Project Management ProfessionalĀ® by the Project Management Institute. You can read more from Andrea on her blog.

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