My name is Usha Talabhaktula. I have a Master of Science Information Technology (MSIT) from California State University-Fullerton, USA and Master’s degree in Commerce from India, which is evaluated as MBA in USA. I have an overall experience of twenty years Information Technology Industry, in the data center, higher education and municipal government business sectors. I started my career as a Programmer Analyst and currently working as ERP Business Analyst in Auditor Controller’s Office of Monterey County, CA. As a liaison between functional and technical teams, I perform a variety business analysis tasks/activities/functions in the six knowledge areas listed in BABOK® Guide.
In my career so far, I have earned Oracle Certifications (OCP and OCE in Hyperion admin), ITIL® and Certified Scrum Master® (CSM®). I am also a member of Project Management Institute (PMI®) and manage projects as part of my job functions and aspiring to get PMP® certification. I am a strong believer in the concept of living life to its fullest, through continuous learning and growth.
The first five years in my current job kept me busy adapting to organizational changes, software upgrades, team/staff changes etc., In December 2019, I wanted to explore the professional development opportunities available in Business Analysis and through online research I came across International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®). I learned that the organization is the “global thought leader and the voice of business analysis community”. I wanted to get certified by IIBA, in the commonly accepted business analysis practices listed in BABOK. After becoming a member, explored IIBA’s website and learned about certification requirements and came across Bluegrass IIBA Chapter’s offering of CBAP® Study group in January 2020. But due to travel plans already made for January, decided to wait for next offering and joined the group in June 2020.
The BABOK 2020 Summer Study Group was 14-week online sessions via Zoom from June 02, 2020 through August 26, 2020 and folks from all over the world in different time zones joined the study group. This gave good ice-breaking topics to bring up, such as weather conditions and time of the day/next day etc. Instructors for this group were Kathy Leigh, President of Bluegrass IIBA Chapter, Aaron Whittenberger, VP of Professional Development and Eric Neill, Director of Certification. These three individuals are very knowledgeable and made the sessions interesting by sharing their experiences as relevant to the study topics.
Sessions were interactive and instructors encouraged participation of all attendees. A week prior to the session they required reading, and student exercises and study sheets to be completed and turned in. Filling out the study sheets helped in organizing information for easy reference and would come handy in preparing for the certification exam. Exercises had cross word puzzles of key words, testing one’s knowledge of concepts.
The prescribed book, Watermark Learning’s CBAP Certification Study Guide v3.0, is well written and contains mnemonics to memorize key concepts and attributes. End of chapter exercises are very helpful in self-assessment of understanding of key concepts and mnemonics.
During the sessions, there were pop-up quizzes from chapters and discussion of the answers followed. Practice exams were conducted at periodic intervals. Test scores were provided immediately at the end of each test, with answers for review. Session 14 was a review of Study group and answering of questions posed by students in breakout rooms. A former student that passed certification joined the breakout room, and shared his experiences preparing for CBAP exam.
The BABOK 2020 Summer study group, enabled me to learn the BABOK material in a structured and interactive way. The business cases in practice exams helped me to understand Business analysis practices/concepts from a different perspective than I am used to. I have used some of the techniques mentioned in BABOK but not all of them. By passing CBAP certification exam, I would be a certified professional that is “qualified and knowledgeable Business Analyst”. My plan is to continue to study and apply for the exam and take it at the end of November 2020. I will keep you all posted of my progress!
I strongly recommend joining Bluegrass IIBA study group, to prepare for CBAP certification exam.
Congratulations to Cindy Herrmann, AAC on becoming the newest IIBA®-AAC Certified member of Bluegrass IIBA Chapter!
Cindy Herrmann participated in this year's Agile Analysis Study Group provided by the chapter and then passed the IIBA®-AAC certification exam on Friday, June 12, 2020. Cindy credits the study group for excellent teaching and providing the knowledge to be able to pass the exam. The class – and the practice exam at the end - helped her identify areas of weakness where she needed to study more. It also taught her new techniques that she is using in her work.
Cindy manages business analysts at the New York State Office of the Comptroller. She has managed two agile projects, one for audit tracking with a large user base using ServiceNow and one for tax data verification that was developed in Java. She has also been a partner in Mogul Marketing for 25 years.
She is active in the Albany, NY chapter of the IIBA and in the data analysis community. She lives in the woods in East Chatham, NY with her husband and son who is a senior in college studying Digital Technology. Most of the time she enjoys providing tech support for the family.
Check out our next Agile Analysis Study Group starting September 29, 2020!
Cindy will be telling us more about her journey to become a Certified Agile Analyst during our Agile Analysis Certification Chat webinar on September 18, 2020, Join us!
The wait is over.
The Guide to Business Data Analytics is now available and it provides a foundational understanding of Business Data Analytics concepts and covers the six practice domains.
#BusinessDataAnalytics #DataAnalytics #DecisionMaking #Data #iiba
Livestream Building Business Capability!
October 19-23, 2020 – Now virtual instead of in Las Vegas
Breaking news: You now have the opportunity to livestream Building Business Capability – October 19-23, 2020. This seminal event will be virtual rather than in Las Vegas.
All-new exciting virtual features - brand new networking sessions -
convenient post-event online access
Interact and learn. This online event will provide you the opportunity to interact and connect with the speakers, workshop instructors, other attendees, and even the sponsors and exhibitors. Come equipped with your questions.
Access all six tracks. For the first time ever, there's now a way for you to attend sessions across all six conference tracks , rather than only the ones you view in real time. After all, you can't be in two places at the same time.
Access conference recordings at your convenience, after the event itself. Visit and revisit any and all sessions, across the multiple tracks, for up to two months after the event.
Convenience and increased opportunities. We hadn't originally planned for a virtual event, but it's worth recognizing the up-sides. Beyond being a vital safety measure, conducting BBC as a cutting edge virtual event increases the convenience, accessibility, and opportunities for you, enabling you to efficiently experience – and recall at will – the best content and the leading speakers in Business Analysis, Digital Innovation, Business Strategy & Transformation, Business Architecture, Business Process, and Business Rules & Decisions.
What's in store for you:
Virtual conference livestreamed on October 21-23. View the agenda
Virtual tutorials livestreamed on October 19-20
Full recordings of all conference sessions and tutorials. Access the sessions/tutorials in other tracks you missed on the day, and revisit the detail in tutorials
Building Business Capability, the official conference of IIBA, is targeted toward professionals involved in Business Analysis, Digital Innovation, Business Strategy & Transformation, Business Architecture, Business Process, and Business Rules & Decisions.
The Official Association
When the global health pandemic hit America and came to Kentucky in March 2020, we were all forced to work from our homes; or worse, lost our jobs. The Bluegrass business analysis community stood up and said with one voice “We want something to do in these uncertain times”.
When the environment changed, many IIBA chapters were forced to cancel their March, April and May meetings. Due to our experience in remote attendance at our meetings, we didn’t miss a beat and turned all our events to completely virtual and held our chapter meetings in March, April and May.
In the past Bluegrass IIBA Chapter did not hold chapter meetings in June and July so that our community members, members and chapter leaders could take vacation with their family while the kids were out of school. Well the world is turned upside down this year. So, in response to your requests, we not only are holding chapter meetings in June and July, but adding even more educational, networking and social events to the calendar to take us through these trying times. Take a look at our events page to see what we have added to the calendar for you.
To make our events even more accessible to all our community the Board of Directors has removed the guest attendance fee to our chapter meetings and webinars. Now everyone can attend our events for free. Take advantage!
We also recognize that there are people who just can’t attend meetings in the evening due to other life priorities. To respond to that limitation, we have added events at other times of the day. Our July meeting is being offered at noon and 6:00 p.m. We have Adrian Reed from the UK speaking on August 11th at 2:00 p.m., and our IIBA® Certification Chat webinars continue to be offered at noon.
Save the Date: To take our educational program to the next level we are now planning a virtual Business Analysis Development Day for September 23, 2020. This will be an all-day event, but you will have the option to attend the morning sessions, afternoon sessions or all day. Pricing and more information will be coming soon.
You are personally invited to take advantage of our professional development program. Use it to keep your skills relevant in this ever changing and increasingly volatile business environment.
Recent surveys have shown that IIBA certified individuals earn 11% to 26% higher (depending on which certification and what part of the world you are in) than non-certified individuals. Respondents have noted that higher confidence at work if a key benefit of obtaining a certification. The salary survey shows us a lot about how business analysis professionals are compensated around the world. Your input to this survey is important!
Let your voice be heard! Take survey here: https://bit.ly/3cQzqUn
In response to the global coronavirus pandemic Bluegrass IIBA Chapter dropped its Guest attendance fee for the chapter meetings and webinars in April and May. The Board of Directors has decided to continue that practice until things are more known about what the world will look like after the threat of this virus. Guests have always been welcome and encouraged to attend our events and get the learning value from them. However, for now, they may attend for free. We have remote attendance option for all our chapter meetings and webinars so all business analysis professionals from Kentucky, across the country, throughout North America and around the world are invited to attend our events.
Vice President of Professional Development, Aaron Whittenberger, has been busy adding events to our calendar to give our community some learning opportunities while we are all stuck at home. Earlier this week we started our virtual BABOK Study Group with 51 students, including some from Canada, Australia, Morocco, Nigeria, Romania, and the UK. We also held an Online BA Game; did you see the tweet of the winners of that game?
Bluegrass Chapter has not typically held chapter meetings during the summer so that our community, members and leaders could take family vacation while our kids were out of school. Well, while the world has been turned upside down, and in response to demand from our community; Aaron is scheduling meetings for June and July. We start on June 17th by collaborating with Cincinnati and Palmetto IIBA Chapters to host ‘Success in Business Analysis – with a Mindset’ with Yulia Kosarenko, an author and business analysis consultant from Ontario, Canada. We also will host an Agile Analysis Virtual Meetup on June 19th, where attendees can learn more, and ask questions of our agile mentors, about the agile analyst role and the IIBA® Agile Analysis (IIBA®-AAC) Certification. We will be hosting IIBA® Certification Screen-side Chat webinars in July and August, as well as scheduling a chapter meeting for July 15th.
Feel free to attend any of these events that are of interest to you!
Bluegrass IIBA Chapter conducted its fifth annual induction ceremony for the Bluegrass Business Analysis Hall of Fame on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. In this ceremony two new members were in ducted into the Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Tomette Kirk and Bill Powers on this honorable award.
Tomette Kirk, CBAP was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Service to an Organization in the Bluegrass. She is a Business Analysis Manager at Humana. She is the architect, organizer and Lead Instructor of Humana’s Business Analysis Competency Center. She has delivered educational opportunities to Humana associates for many years. In fact, in accepting the award Tomette mentioned she had delivered a process analysis workshop that morning.
Bill Powers, CBAP was also inducted into the Hall of Fame for Service to an Organization in the Bluegrass. Bill is a Business Analyst in the Enterprise Business Consulting Group at Republic Bank and Trust in Louisville, KY. He constantly reaches out to the other business units within Republic Bank & Trust to inform those business analysts of educational and training opportunities available to them. He has gotten Managers and Directors within his business unit involved in events of Kentuckiana IIBA Branch. Bill still reaches out to former colleagues at Kindred Healthcare, ADP and Humana to keep them informed of opportunities for them to advance their own careers.
The Bluegrass Business Analysis Hall of Fame recognizes those that have made a significant individual contribution to the business analysis profession within the Bluegrass State of Kentucky. Nominations are accepted from the Bluegrass Business Analysis community, and the induction ceremony is held in conjunction with the Bluegrass IIBA Chapter Annual General Meeting in May.
Read more about Tomette and Bill...
IIBA® Certification Screen-side Chat Follow-up
On Friday, May 8, 2020, Bluegrass IIBA Chapter hosted their IIBA® Certification Screen-side Chat webinar, in which four chapter members from Vermont presented their journey to become IIBA certified and tips concerning the certification process. You may watch the webinar recording and see the presentation slides here:
Webinar Recording Presentation Slide deck
We had several questions from the audience that we didn't get to during the webinar. You can find your answers here:
Q: What if your direct supervisor who knows your work and they already moved to different companies?
A1: If you are still in touch with them, reach out and ask if they're comfortable. Same with applying for jobs, if they can and will vouch, it doesn't matter where you or they work now.
A2: When applying for IIBA certification you will need to enter an email address or phone number for each of those contacts so as long as you have that information for them you can use them.
Q: Hi, can I use the program coordinator from a program I just completed at school for reference?
A: Yes. They directed your work on the program, you may use them.
Q: So work experience has to be separated into the knowledge areas?
A1: Yes it does need to be separated into the KAs.
A2: Start with just getting your hours, then break the hours out across the KAs, I found it overwhelming to do both at the same time.
Q: Hi, there are a lot of CBAP prep Udemy courses claiming they give 35 PD's e.g. https://www.udemy.com/course/certified-business-analysis-professional-cbap-exam-prep/ I have not been able to confirm this by looking at the IIBA accredited educators - can anyone please advise me?
A: We can’t speak to each Udemy course, but look at the IIBA requirements for Professional Development (PD) Hours. If the course meets all those requirements, then it will qualify, for CBAP and CCBA the course must:
The requirements for PD Hours for the ECBA certification are more relaxed than the above.
Q: For re-cert what does Bluegrass have that can land me the most CDU's?
A: The Bluegrass IIBA BABOK Study Group offers 35 CDUs if you attend all sessions, including taking the practice tests. Our next session begins June 2, 2020: https://bluegrass.iiba.org/event-3676735
Our Agile Analysis Study Group offers 12.5 CDUs. Our next session begins September 29, 2020: https://bluegrass.iiba.org/event-3830738
All our chapter meetings are good for 1.5 CDUs: https://bluegrass.iiba.org/Events
And you may claim 1.0 CDUs for attending this webinar.
Q: Is it a good idea to first attempt CCBA instead to directly going CBAP?
A: There is no requirement to take the CCBA before the CBAP. Each has a different requirement for BA work experience. The CCBA requires 3,750 hours of BA work experience in the last 7 years, with at least 900 hours in two Knowledge Areas, or at least 500 hours in four Knowledge Areas. The CBAP requires 7,500 hours of BA work experience, with at least 900 hours in four Knowledge Areas. If you qualify for CBAP, you may apply for that certification. The CBAP exam is harder, more case study questions. If you feel that you are not a good test taker, you may wish to take the CCBA exam first.
Q: Were there a lot of numerical questions? Does the exam provide an online calculator?
A: There are not a lot of questions that will require the use of a calculator, maybe 3 to 6 questions for the whole exam. None of us took the exam online as that is fairly new for the core exams, but we don’t believe you will be allowed to use an online calculator. We assume you will be allowed to use a hand-held calculator (not your cell phone). You most likely will have to show your exam proctor all sides of the calculator to show them you don’t have notes taped to the bottom of the calculator.
Q: Will Bluegrass offer a short 5-6 week session for CDU's?
A: Our Agile Analysis Study Group offers 12.5 CDUs. Our next session begins September 29, 2020. This is a virtual study group open to everyone internationally: https://bluegrass.iiba.org/event-3830738
Q: I have applied for the CCBA; but don't plan to write for a few months. Any tips for keeping up my knowledge prior to my intense exam prep phase?
A: You could attend a webinar on a BA topic every so often. You may open the BABOK or Agile Extension to the BABOK and read a technique and think about that technique and how you could apply it to your particular situation at work.
Q: Somebody told me CBAP has mostly scenario-based question is it true?
A1: There are small scenarios of a paragraph 50% and longer ones that go up to 2-3 pages 15%.
A2: Let’s clarify terminology, scenario-based questions put a BA in a scenario and asks how the BA should handle that scenario. The scenario may be short enough to be the question itself, or slightly longer (about ½ page text) and will be a pop-up window within the question. I would say the CBAP exam is at least 75% scenario-based, and CCBA is 80-100% scenario-based. Case Study questions take 1 to 3 pages to describe the scenario and the next two to five questions will be based on that case study. These case studies may have multiple diagrams in them, which is why some of them may take 3 pages. The CBAP is maybe 10-20% case study-based, and there are no case study questions on the CCBA.
Q: I already paid CCBA application fee but not completed my application can I change it now to CBAP?
A: I would email Certification@iiba.org and ask them.
Q: Did you feel like you needed the full 3 1/2 hours to complete the test, or is this more time than is reasonably needed?
A: It is not required that you take the full 3 1/2 hours to complete the exam. The panelists described different experiences from taking 2 hours to finishing with 10 to 20 minutes left to go. Please remember that there are no points for finishing early. Take the entire time if you feel you need it. Make sure you have an answer on every question; if it is not answered it is wrong. If you answer it (when you don’t know the answer) you have a 25% chance of getting it right.
Q: CBAP required hours in 4 knowledge areas but it didn’t say anything about techniques, what about a non-IT person to coup with IT related techniques: state modelling, sequence diagram, data modelling etc.
A: Read the technique in the BABOK and attempt to understand it. You can google those models to see examples of what the diagram looks like. Find an IT person, perhaps in your organization, and ask them how they use the technique and if they have examples of the models they have used.
Q: How soon after I take the ECBA exam can i sit for the CBAP? I am new to the profession and I want to start with ECBA. Must I have work experience or can learning hours stand in for on the job experience?
A: Work experience cannot be used as Professional Development (PD) hours. PD Hours is training in the profession, and must be a formal, classroom or virtual, training course. The ECBA does not require work experience, but requires 21 PD hours, and a lot more activities qualify for PD hours for ECBA than CCBA or CBAP. After obtaining the ECBA or CCBA, you may sit for the CBAP exam as soon as you qualify for it. If you with to get the ECBA, CCBA and CBAP on successive days, or the same day, you can do that as long as you have the work experience and PD Hours to qualify for each. You may re-use work experience and PD Hours to qualify for each certification.
Q: When you mentioned, CCBA is multiple-choice questions, what does CBAP looks like? Is it not multiple-choice questions?
A1: CBAP is multiple choice questions too. But many of the questions are scenario-based and case study-based, where you read the scenario and then answer multiple questions about it.
A2: All IIBA certification exams are multiple-choice questions with four answer options for each question. No fill in the blanks, no match item to its definition, strictly multiple-choice questions. The difference between the exams are focus and competency level. The specialized certifications, such as Agile Analysis, Data Analytics and Cybersecurity Analysis, focus on those contexts. The core certifications focus on business analysis in general. The ECBA tests people that are new to the profession and therefore don’t have in-depth knowledge of the techniques and competencies of doing business analysis. The CBAP tests people on broad and in-depth knowledge of the techniques and competencies of doing business analysis.
Q: What would be considered as qualified past experience that would count to your CBAP certification?
A: If it is a task or technique in the BABOK that is business analysis work and qualifies as work experience to count toward IIBA core certification. You can go back 10 years to get 7,500 hours of BA experience for CBAP, and you can go back 7 years in the past to get 3,750 hours of BA experience for the CCBA.
Q: Is there a possibility that your title is BA, but you were not actually doing BA work? I always doubt myself in this way although I am BA for 8 years now. Because I was not formally trained for this job and I don't know if I am qualified?
IIBA® is currently offering, for a limited time, a 15% discount on all their specialized business analysis certifications. This includes the:
IIBA®-AAC Exam AAC15%off_NonMem_May2020
See: [IIBA Specialized Certifications]
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Based in Lexington, Kentucky and serving all interested Kentucky Business Analysts
Mailing address: Bluegrass IIBA Chapter | 1588 Leestown Road, Suite 130-111 | Lexington, KY 40511