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Core concepts of business analysis or: all about turtles

Today it’s all about turtles. If you have a look on Wikipedia, you will find that there are land turtles, desert turtles or water turtles, as well as river turtles, giant turtles and sea turtles. There are 341 species with over 200 sub-species.

What it doesn’t say: There is also the business analysis turtle.

Yes, another species. Only it doesn’t live in any ocean in the world, but as a model in business analysis. This BACCM® model (business analysis core concept model) offers business analysts a common vocabulary and influences the process and evaluation of the results with the dependencies displayed here. It was developed by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), a non-profit organization with more than 29 000 members.

The business analysis turtle

The business analysis turtle

In this post, we will look more closely at the model. Because objectiF BA, our new software solution for all participants in a change project, will model the core concepts from October 2017.

Background of the BACCM® model

The BABOK guide is also from the IIBA, a handbook for business analysis. The BABOK guide is currently up to version three and defines business analysis thus1:

“Business analysis is the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.”

The definition reflects the five core concepts of the model: change, need, solution, stakeholder and benefit. All six core concepts form our turtle.

The upper body of the turtle: Need, change and solution

Let’s start with the turtle’s head and front legs: Need, change and solution. Like the body parts, the core concepts are all connected.

The need is always at the beginning of business analysis – the front left leg of the turtle. A need can be a problem that needs to be solved. It can also present a chance which can be sensed – for example, the development of a new market. Regardless of which case it is: A need always triggers a change and this is necessary to improve the performance of a business. It is not an accident that the turtle’s head represents the change. A change is initiated to implement a solution that in turn better fulfills the existing need.

With that, we have a triangle of business analysis. So that the turtle becomes viable, it needs a bit more than that.

The lower body of the turtle: Value

We will now sketch two further relationships. The first connects a solution with the value, because:

A solution always has to create value, otherwise it is not a solution. This value could be, for example:

  • Return on capital
  • Reduction of losses or risks
  • Material or non-material gains (for example, higher employee satisfaction)

A value must also be measurable. How else can you say if the solution has achieved higher added value? So we need the second relationship of the benefit to the need. In that you compare the original need to the benefit, you can evaluate it according to quantitative or qualitative scales. For example, on the cost level: Let’s say there was the need to decrease costs by 50% within a year. 53% was achieved. The goal can be easily compared with the original need.

These two new relationships create a form reminiscent of a kite and not really of a turtle. We will therefore round off quickly and get things running, or swimming.

The back legs of the turtle: stakeholders and context

These four core concepts are missing two decisive things: the stakeholders and the context – the back legs of our turtle. Stakeholders are people who are interested in a change, who are affected by it or who can influence it. Depending on this, stakeholders are allocated the need, change or solution. Normally a need arises because the stakeholders express a wish or determine a problem. All core concepts of business analysis are, after all, influenced by the context, in circumstances like, for example, culture, technology, infrastructure, processes or behavior.

An overview of the relationships of the core concepts

There are more relationships that form the shell of our turtle overall. For example, between the need and the stakeholder or the stakeholder and the benefit. An overview of the core concepts of business analysis with their relationships can be found in the following graphic (click on the image to enlarge it):

At a glance: All relationships between the core concepts

At a glance: All relationships between the core concepts

objectiF RPM and the turtle

Business analysis should enable change in a business. With the software solution objectiF RPM, you get an integrative and customizable platform for cooperative work in such change projects. The focus of the tool is stakeholder analysis and needs analysis, requirement analysis and design definition, requirements management and planning and development of solutions.

You can create a change project, record stakeholders and their needs and connect them with each other and develop your solution. Because the solution normally affects many levels, for example the organization, processes, software or the system, objectiF RPM offers the possibility to centrally manage all elements of the solution, like documents or files from other software. With objectiF RPM you can:

  • Develop requirements for the solution and manage them, audit-proof,
  • Draft solutions and manage their elements,
  • Plan and control solutions.
objectiF BA goal diagram

Example of a need, the derived business goals and the stakeholders in objectiF RPM


[1] BABOK v3 – A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, IIBA, Toronto, 2015

More information about BABOK and the IIBA can be found here.

Source for the relationship between the core concepts:

All about turtles on Wikipedia

Lisa May is a part of our marketing team. She is interested in making new, interesting or curious knowledge entertaining and easy to understand. As a professional technical writer and translator, she can not only write in German, she can also reach our English-speaking readers.

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5 replies
  1. Rainer Wendt, President of the IIBA Germany Chapter
    Rainer Wendt, President of the IIBA Germany Chapter says:

    Hi Lisa, Very nice read, thank you. Looking behind the turtle and illustrating it that way is perfectly complementing the contents of the BABOK.

    • Lisa May
      Lisa May says:

      Hi Rainer,

      Thank you very much for the nice feedback! Looking forward to writing more about business analysis in the future.

      Best regards from Berlin,

  2. Julian Sammy
    Julian Sammy says:

    It is always a pleasure to see a good discussion of the BACCM. I am disappointed that the IIBA stepped away from including context in the definition. At the time it was a very difficult concept, so I understand the decision.

    If you’d like to talk about the model, feel free to contact me. It was 2 years of my life not the making, with some amazing, brilliant people.

    • Tanja Sadrinna
      Tanja Sadrinna says:

      Hi Julian,
      Thank you very much for your comment! If you’d like to give us some more insight into your current view on BA we’d be happy to receive a blog post from you.
      Best regards,


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