BA Certification is like the US Drivers Test

Ian Gotts @iangotts
4 min readJul 26, 2022

When I arrived in the US 10 years ago I had 30 years of driving experience. But still needed to pass the US test to get my California license. Clearly, I knew how to drive, albeit on the wrong side of the road!! I expected to pass but I still needed to read the drivers handbook as a few things had different terms and the exam questions are a little different from the UK.

So I passed the written test on the first attempt. As there were 3 of us who came to set up a business with our wives there was huge pressure to pass the driving test on the first attempt. None of the 6 wanted to be the person who failed. So, whilst driving was automatic, I still needed to concentrate. Happily, I passed.

That story is very different for my daughter. She went through drivers-ed aged 15 and passed when she was 16. She drove to school every day and was forced to parallel park in the city. She is now 22 and still learning to drive. She towed a Uhaul trailer from Tennesee to LA when she moved, including reversing with the trailer. She drives our RV. I am still learning to drive. We rented a 34-foot RV one vacation,. NEVER AGAIN. I’ve never had an accident where the airbag deployed, and hope never to.

What has this got to do with BA Certifications?

The BA Certification went live on 11 July. On day 1 a large number of people passed and all week my LinkedIn feed has been full of people who have passed. This is such great news. Those of you who followed the 1,200 org confessions will remember that the #1 cause of those horror stories was a lack of business analysis.

But as so many people are passing so quickly, does that mean the certification exam is too easy? I don’t believe so. The people who are passing the exam have years of BA experience. The BA principles haven’t changed much in the last 15 years. UPN, the hierarchical process mapping approach was created in 2007. Cloud does not change how you elicit requirements. It may make it easier to collaborate, but the fundamentals haven’t changed. And, there are BA Trailhead modules that give you the grounding and the terminology. This is just like my experience of taking the US driving test. I read the handbook and had been driving in the US for a few weeks to make sure I didn’t embarrass myself.

Always learning

And even though I first started business analysis and process mapping in 1986, I am still learning. 100% remote working has changed the dynamics of live workshops. There are better ways of collaborating and connecting all the business analysis documentation that gets created so that it is more valuable. For example, a Requirement document or User Story is text. But it is SO MUCH more powerful when it is connected to the Slack-like discussion stream about it, the feedback that sparked it, the process map, architecture diagrams, Salesforce metadata, and other systems metadata that may be changed, business and technical risk assessments, photos of whiteboarding sessions, screenshots, wireframes and solution documents. If you are collecting requirements in a long textual document or if you are still drawing flowcharts then this is a chance to relearn how you are conducting business analysis. This is is 2022, not 2002.

If you have less experience or business analysis is only part of your responsibilities — i.e every solo admin — then you cannot simply read up the principles and take all the Trailhead modules and expect to pass. You may pass, you then need to start building your BA experiences. Like my daughter who passed her test at 16. She had a license to drive, but she had so much still to learn. The good news is that your new BA Certification means that doors should open up so that you get a more BA-focused role.

Think outside your role

If you are not in a BA role, then look outside your core role to gain those BA skills. Can you help another team or volunteer to help another organization like a non-profit that is implementing Salesforce but struggling with the business analysis? You don’t need to limit yourself to Salesforce. Business analysis skills are universal — hence UPN (universal process notation). You can help any organization drive out waste, reengineer operational processes and improve systems.

Free tools and advice

No matter what level of experience. provides a free Playground with the tools to practice developing business analysis documentation in one repository; requirements, process mapping, architecture diagrams, Salesforce org metadata analysis, releases, and user stories.

You register for a free user account and set up a Playground Space. You can connect to a Dev Org and get access to the full suite of tools. You just cannot share or collaborate with others or connect to a Sandbox or Production org.

If you are a consultant, the license is $500/year. If you are a customer talk to us about a proof of concept, as the cost is 5% of what you spend on Salesforce, and you may need to business a business case.