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How Much to Read PMBOK®Guide in PMI-PBA® Exam?

  • PMI-PBA®
Created on :
October 8, 2018
Seema Sonkiya
Updated on :
January 18, 2022

During my PMI-PBA® sessions, I realized that many of you gets confused, at what level the PMBOK® Guide content needs to refer? In this blog, I am addressing all your concerns for the mapping of PMBOK® Guide content to PMI-PBA® exam. After consolidation of similar queries, here I am addressing following concerns:

  1. Why PMBOK® Guide included in PMI-PBA® exam?
  2. Mapping of PMBOK® Guide knowledge areas to the Business Analysis Domains
  3. How many questions come in PMI-PBA® exam directly from PMBOK® Guide ?
  4. Tools and Tips for preparing for the PMI-PBA® exam
  1. Why PMBOK® Guide is included in PMI-PBA® exam?

    PMBOK® Guide offers PMP® certificate. It is a global standard in the project management. But, it is also included in the PMIs recommended 12 reference books for the PMI-PBA® exam. The reason comes from the primary focus of PMI-PBA® exam. The key emphasis of PMI-PBA® exam is in the Business Analysis work on projects and programs. PMI has close look on the integration of project management and business analysis activities. Thus, the PMBOK® Guide is one of the main reference books in the exam.

  1. Mapping of PMBOK® Guide knowledge areas to the Business Analysis Domains

    PMBOK® Guide has ten knowledge areas representing all the specialized nature of work in the project management. For more details on these knowledge areas, you may read Knowing PMBOK® Guide Knowledge Areas and Process

    Let’s look at the mapping of these ten knowledge areas of PMBOK® Guide :

    1. Project Integration Management: The project integration management includes processes to bind the project activities end to end. From this knowledge area, following key areas or documents are important from the PMI-PBA® exam perspective:
      • Development of Project Charter: You need to know what includes in the project charter and how it is issued to the project team. Project Charter helps in defining business requirements, determining the project context, and also defining expected project outcome.Though “Support Charter Development” process is included in the PMI Guide to Business Analysis to understand what all needed for a smooth transition from the Business Case to the charter development. But, if you refer PMBOK® Guide, it will give you all the details of developing a project charter important for the exam.
      • Project Management Plan: Project Management Plan is the complete integrated project plan. It is a significant document to understand the development of (but not limited to) requirements management plan, requirements traceability, change management, document control, and acceptance criteria.
      • Change Management:Change Management procedures are described in ‘Perform Integrated Change Control’ process. Business analysts get involved in change management related activities heavily. And, you do expect many questions related to the change management. Thus, you are required to understand these procedures thoroughly starting from initiating a change request to approving/rejecting them.
      • Closing a Project or Phase: In business analysis, recording of the lesson learned and various templates and checklist (but not limited to) are important for subsequent phases or next similar projects. An overview of project closing activities is sufficient for the exam.
    2. Project Scope Management: You need to explore project scope management entirely. Scope Management helps you in various business analysis tasks (but not limited to) like elicitation &analysis of requirements, decomposition, approval, and specification of requirements.
    3. Project Time Management: From Schedule Management, no significant number of questions comes in the PMI-PBA® exam. Also, no calculation based questions exam will come in the exam. Just an overview related to activities (from ‘Define Activities’ process), sequencing of activities (from ‘Sequence Activities’), and estimating & developing schedule (From ‘Estimate Activity Duration’, and ‘Develop Schedule’) is more than sufficient.
    4. Project Cost Management: Cost Management is also not an important area from the PMI-PBA® exam perspective. You just need to know how project reserves are analysed. Apart from reserve analysis, an overview of EVM is sufficient as it is one of the tools to evaluate project benefits after the deployment of product.
    5. Project Quality Management: It is another important knowledge area from the PMI-PBA® exam perspective. You can expect questions from the difference in managing quality and quality control, the goal of quality planning, and how the quality tools get used. Project Quality Management support many quality related business analysis activities (but not limited to) like validating test results, analysing solution gaps, evaluating solution results, and in verifying requirements. You need to focus this knowledge area entirely.
    6. Project Resource Management: You need to know little about Project Resource Management. Just an understanding of conflict management is more than sufficient from the PMI-PBA® exam side. You won’t get direct questions from the conflict management, but you need to get a grip on conflict management to attempt scenario based conflict management questions.
    7. Project Communications Management: Business Analyst communicates stakeholders most of the time. Thus, you are required to explore project communication management fully. Communication management helps in communicating requirements using proper communication planning, distributing the needed information and monitoring if the stakeholder’s information needs are met.
    8. Project Risk Management: An overview of project risk management is sufficient for the PMI-PBA® exam. You don’t need to know the quantitative risk management. You are just required to know how risks are identified, how qualitative risk assessment is done, and how the various risk responses are planned and implemented.
    9. Project Procurement Management: Project Procurement Management is not needed for the PMI-PBA® exam perspective.
    10. Project Stakeholder Management: PMI-PBA® focus on the ability to work with stakeholders related to the project and business requirements. It is very important knowledge area for the exam especially for the stakeholder’s identification & analysis, and managing their engagement for the various business analysis activities. You need to learn project stakeholder management thoroughly.
  1. How many questions comes in PMI-PBA® exam directly from PMBOK® Guide?

    As per the feedback received from many test takers, PMBOK® Guide covers approximately 30% of exam content. It does not mean that you have to be PMP® certified. The PMI-PBA® exam questions related to the PMBOK® Guide  will come in the flavour of Business Analysis tasks. Yes, knowing PMBOK® Guide knowledge areas are important for the PMI-PBA® exam. But it does not mean that direct project management questions will come in the exam.

    For example, the primary use of ‘Perform Integrated Change Control’ process is to manage changes in project baselines (scope, cost, and schedule) and management plans. In a business analysis role, your key responsibility is to scope related changes. Thus, there is a high probability that you will get questions from scope baseline instead of cost and schedule ones.

    A sample question could be like:
    You have baseline requirements of an e-commerce project. A change request comes to increase the ease of uploading products. You recommended him to initiate change control procedures and as a first step raises a change request. Why is change control system necessary?

    You can see that to attempt this question; you need the knowledge of Change Control Procedures mentioned in ‘Performed Integrated Change Control’ process, but the language comes from the Business Analysis tasks and activities. This question belongs to the job of managing scope related changes. It is the task of continuous monitoring and documenting of requirements mentioned in ‘Traceability and Monitoring’ domain of PMI-PBA® content outline

  1. Tools and Tips for preparing for the PMI-PBA® exam

    For PMI-PBA® exam, If we talk about PMBOK® Guide, you need a fair understanding of what is Project Management Body of Knowledge. But, you are not required to be specific for the PMBOK® Guide processes in terms of Input, output, and Tools & Techniques. Only an understanding of these areas are important for the various business analysis activities mentioned in PMI-PBA® content outline. I advise you to prepare the study plan which can give you a good kick start for your PMI-PBA® exam preparation. The best thing you can do to start PMI-PBA® preparation is to enrol in our online program.


I hope this blog helped you in planning and identifying the areas of PMBOK® Guide  relevant to the PMI-PBA® exam. You may refer following video to explore more:



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