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Howard Podeswa
Howard Podeswa

Hey IIBA, What’s Up With That?

Recently, I was asked by the IIBA to present a talk at one of their chapter meetings. I am reprinting here my response to that invitation in the hope that it will begin a conversation with fellow EEPs and BAs about an area of great concern to the profession.

Hi xx

…. Regarding the IIBA talk, there is another issue that I am considering. It's part of a longer discussion, and I hesitate to draw you into it, but as it affects my response to your invitation I feel it requires some explanation. Basically, I have been very unhappy with the direction the organization has been taking and have been seriously reconsidering my - and my company's - relationship to it in lieu of recent developments. When I first joined the organization, back in its founding days, I, like many other volunteers who gave their time freely, without charge, to review the BABOK, saw the organization as a means for improving the profession by pooling together the resources of its practitioners so that best practices could be disseminated widely amongst the community. I fear the organization has steered off-track, and have great reservations regarding what it is becoming - or already has become. The recent EEP contract changes have only served to confirm my worst fears: students taking any training that 'uses' more than 3 sections of the BABOK will be required to purchase the entire BABOK - even if they already have a copy. In fact, it has been clarified to me that they will be required to purchase the book each time they take such a course - raising the spectre of trainees forced to purchase multiple copies of the BABOK due to courses they have taken with multiple vendors. It's a heavy-handed approach (and potential book-keeping nightmare) that will only serve to restrict the propagation of BABOK practices - where the IIBA should be seeking to do the reverse: open up the BABOK so it is as widely used as possible. For a comparison of approaches, see the OMG, which offers its UML standards and guidelines as a free download to all who want it (member or non-member) and which is very generous in providing permission to quote its text in printed publications. This is what an organization does whose first and foremost goals is to propagate best practices.

The IIBA faces an identity crisis: is it to be a revenue-generating machine, dedicated foremost to its own financial success, or a service to the BA profession?

These are some of my thoughts and concerns. If you'd like to continue this conversation, I'd be pleased to discuss it further.

Best regards
- Howard

Howard Podeswa - Noble Inc.

This entry was published on Oct 08, 2012 / Howard Podeswa. Posted in IIBA & BABOK. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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Howard Podeswa posted on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 7:31 AM
Just a note to clarify: EEP stands for Endorsed Education Provider and refers to companies that deliver courses that the IIBA has endorsed. While the new rules I discussed specifically affect EEPs directly, all BAs taking any endorsed courses are affected indirectly, as costs for repeated purchases of the BABOK are passed on to them. The issue that these changes raises regarding the mission of the IIBA - i.e., whether it be to serve itself or to serve the profession - and where it appears to be headed lately, is one that should concern all BAs, as this organization is not just any old org - but one that claims to speak for BAs and one that relies heavily on the goodwill of BA practitioners, of those that hire BAs and of the many volunteers that contribute to the IIBA and to the BABOK. Goodwill is hard to come by, but easy to lose.

A post-script: My IIBA correspondent has replied and let me know that, in fact, there are many (himself included) within the organization who agree strongly with these concerns - and other symptoms of the same problem - and are unhappy with the direction in which the organization is being led. So - let the conversation begin .....
Howard Podeswa
Yaaqub Mohamed (Yamo) posted on Saturday, October 20, 2012 10:54 AM
Hi Howard, thanks for initiating this conversation. I have also responded to this thread on IIBA linkedIn group and yes, we need to start a conversation now and have a resolution on this asap.

Our EEP agreement with IIBA renews next month, and this new rule would take effect with that; so, I am as concerned as you are on this topic.

I think IIBA should definitely clarify why this decision was taken and justify it with financial implications. If the intent is to increase the BABOK outreach, they should make it available for free (the PDF version). I have also proposed that they could perhaps start with the EEPs. If EEPs can give out free PDF copies to every course attendee, it can serve the purpose too.

However, I would still give the benefit of the doubt to IIBA until we hear a definite explanation to this. They have done a great job to bring to the community together so far, which cannot be discounted.

I am eager to see how IIBA responds to this.
Yaaqub Mohamed (Yamo)
Howard Podeswa posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 5:05 PM
Hi Yamo
Thanks for your comments. I've been hearing a lot from EEPs (Endorsed Education Providers), so I thought I'd pass on; it's the LinkedIn EEP group. A lively discussion is going on there about this issue:*2_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1%2Egmp_4278968
Howard Podeswa
Jo Walshe posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 5:41 PM
Howard - your concerns about the IIBA are shared by a number of members I've spoken to. I'm not a member myself so I though I'd offer these comments as an outsider "looking in".

There seems to be a distinct lack of transparency for a member-centric organisation with yearly revenues approaching $3.5m.

For example management and consulting fees are listed as just over $1.1m. Just what exactly does this cover and how much are employees of IIBA paid?

End of year cash is over $800k. What do members get for their money? The BABOK looks to be a fine body of work but with dozens of books already available, just how many can a person read? If I do go ahead and buy it now, do I get a free upgrade to version 3 or will I have to buy that one as well?

Looks to me like the IIBA may be a bit swept up in their own success and are forgetting about the people they are meant to serve. I'll resist membership for now.
Jo Walshe
Lynn Pryor posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 2:18 PM
I am a BA on the outside of the IIBA right now for just this reason. I have seen to many organizations whose goals initially were to organize the professionals in a given career path and then ended up costing more than they were worth. The AMA is a case in point, only 17% of Doctors actually belong to the AMA.
I am a Business Analyst because I know how to do Business Analysis. I don't need the organization for that or even to certify me. I need the IIBA to help me become the best BA I can be.
Lynn Pryor
lberan posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:22 AM
I cannot agree more with Lynn Pryor: I don't need the organization to certify me. I need the IIBA to help me become the best BA I can be. I would not mind volunteering, donating, or paying a small amount of membership fee. However, if the organization's goals have changed and the organization has become profit-driven, I would not have anything to do with it.
RatDog posted on Friday, June 7, 2013 2:05 AM
Well said Howard, there are quite a few other EEP's out there that I'm certain would support your cause and create an "alliance" with the opportunity to present to the IIBA - that is if they are willing to's been a long standing challenge....
RatDog posted on Friday, June 7, 2013 2:05 AM
Well said Howard, there are quite a few other EEP's out there that I'm certain would support your cause and create an "alliance" with the opportunity to present to the IIBA - that is if they are willing to's been a long standing challenge....
ciaranc posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 4:59 AM
Although I am not currently a member of IIBA, (I work in Ireland and IIBA has little or no presence here so I don't see any benefits from obtaining certification by them) I do agree with Howards analysis of this issue. I have been a follower of IIBA for many years now and in the early days I found quite a lot of useful information however it is becoming increasingly difficult to access IIBA material when you're not a paying member. In addition over the past few years I feel IIBA (despite its name) has become more America centric rather than international, therefore I cant see any benefits from joining. Howard has raised a valid point 'what is the purpose of the IIBA', if the IIBA is still dedicated to it initial goal of identifying, circulating and Improving Business Analysis practices then why is the material gathered by IIBA not more freely available to all without charges ( they should still of course charge for examination and certification for those who want that). From what I have observed so far I fear IIBA has gone the route of so many before it and in its zeal to employ the "Best and Brightest" they have had to pay the rates the "Best and brightest" can expect and in doing so have become a more profit-driven rather than knowledge dissemination driven organisation. Sadly I fear IIBA will never achieve its goal of being the font of knowledge for all BA's if it continues down its current path. But this is mealy my opinion based on what I have seen as an international non member.
KerryAustralia posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 7:23 AM
From the perspective of a long-standing business analyst with well over 15 years' experience, I have also elected not to rejoin the IIBA due to my own observations that it has become far too profit-driven and narrow in not allowing credit from other similar qualifications. Unfortunately even BA conferences held in Australia seem to have become convenient platforms for insistent "pushing" of the IIBA agenda of credential domination. Almost every speaker at the last Australian BA conference I attended seemed to be overtly promoting the organization and its credentials, ad nauseum.
In many Australian states, its almost impossible to get these credentials without expensive travel costs as an additional burden and it's not easy to plan when dates are not available in advance for where and when future exams are to be held. I have decided to wait until it's online. If it's good enough for many other professional groups like lawyers, accountants and engineers to renew credentials using online exams, I can only regard it as retrogressive and inflexible that IIBA doesn't offer the same options in this day and age.
As a footnote I fail to see why its necessary to fully re-qualify so frequently (and pay full fees each time, of course!) - by stark contrast, university qualifications don't expire every 3 years and yet currently have better market recognition from prospective employers!
Reidmanchester posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 4:03 PM
Eye-opening conversation that summarizes my concerns with the organization. Our local chapter has a budget of $800 and I feel I get a lot more from our monthly meetings than I do from anything the head office provides. $50 for a PDF of the BABOK that is written like requirements? Ridiculous. Who wrote this thing? The authors should have their certification revoked for not consulting the stakeholders and defining what the end product should be.
Zheng posted on Friday, February 16, 2018 12:02 AM
Interesting comments about IIBA. I have come to a conclusion not to join it as well.
MiaMichaels posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 5:13 AM
this is great!
Kyla Snider posted on Thursday, March 7, 2019 3:59 AM
Kyla Snider
Karl Wiegers posted on Friday, April 12, 2019 11:30 AM
As always, Howard is spot on. I've never been a member of IIBA. And I'm not an EEP, although I've provided training courses on requirements for 21 years. Thanks for your cogent observations, Howard!
Karl Wiegers
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