Business Requirements

Business Requirements - Toolshero

Business requirements: this article explains the subject of business requirements in a practical way. The article starts with a general definition of this concept, followed by a practical explanation, useful examples and a downloadable Business Requirement Document (BRD) template to get started developing and assessing business requirements yourself. Enjoy reading!

What are business requirements?

In project management, business requirements describe the characteristics of a project or activity that enable the organization to achieve its end objectives. It is also referred to as stakeholder requirements specifications (StRS).

Business requirements vs. functional requirements

High level business requirements explain ‘what’ needs to be done in a project and ‘why’, whereas functional requirements define the ‘how’ of the project.

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This article covers both business requirements for achieving organizational goals and functional and non-functional requirements for product, system, and software development.

Virtually all products, systems and software are ways of delivering business requirements to the market. When it comes to business requirements, it often concerns the development or purchase of software or systems.

Functional requirements vs. non-functional requirements

When developing system or software requirements, the end user is usually the focus. This typically leads to the production of a system, product or software that meets their needs. The requirements consist of functional requirements and non-functional requirements.

Functional requirements are about features of the system in its use. An example of non-functional requirements are performance and security aspects that apply at the enterprise level.

Business requirements are often established in a so-called Business Requirement Document (BRD). The focus of this document and practice is on the planning process and development of the requirements.

Why are business requirements important?

Business requirements in the development of systems, products or software should be at the center of such development processes. Without requirements being clear, it is not possible to start the development.

The benefits of a well-defined plan may seem obvious, but it’s worth considering the following benefits of a BRD:

  • It can be the deciding factor in whether or not to carry out a project
  • It reduces the likelihood of projects failing due to poorly defined requirements
  • It can link a project to specific business goals
  • It can improve communication between stakeholders

Elements of a Business Requirement Document (BRD)

The Business Requirements Document (BRD) includes the following:

  • Summary (this will be written last)
  • Vision for the project
  • Objectives of the project
  • Context and background of the project
  • End goal of the project
  • Identification of stakeholders
  • Detailed business requirements
  • Scope of the project or solution
  • Limitations such as costs, time limits and risks

The document can be supplemented with other elements of business analysis, such as a SWOT analysis or a cost-benefit analysis. In most cases it concerns a document with at least the top elements.

What should a well-defined requirement meet?

A good requirement must meet several criteria. These are somewhat similar to the criteria of the SMART Goals method.

Specific

A good requirement is clear, specific and brief. Although short and concise, it conveys a clear and specific need. A clear requirement is not ambiguous and can only be interpreted in one way. Consider the following:

  • Consistent terminology
  • Avoid using adverbs to avoid confusion

Verifiable

Verifiable in this context means that it must be possible to test a product to see whether it meets the requirements. When drawing up the requirements, think about how you can demonstrate that the end product meets them.

Attainable

A good requirement is achievable. The requirement must fit into the budget of the project, is technically feasible and there are no objections to the planning. Involve members of development teams to discuss and prevent technical issues.

Clear

A good requirement is clear and understood by all stakeholders. A good requirement communicates a single core idea expressed in simple sentences with consistent terminology. Use acronyms and common abbreviations as needed to keep the document organized and concise.

Example of a Business Requirements Document Template

In this article you can download a practical example of a Business Requirement Document. You can get started right away.

Download the Business Requirements Document Template

This template is exclusively for our paying Toolshero members. Click here to see if a membership is something for you!

Tips for Writing a Business Requirements Document (BRD)

The most important element of the BRD are a product’s or software’s functional, explaining the functions that a system must be able to perform to meet the requirements.

These include, for example:

  1. Technical details
  2. Calculations
  3. Data manipulation
  4. Processing
  5. Other typical functions of a system

If specific functional requirements are not defined, it is impossible to assess the designs.

You can keep the following tips in mind when working on a BRD:

  • Practice defining strong requirements
  • Use clear language without excessively difficult speech
  • Research similar projects that have been carried out in the past
  • Validate documentation
  • Check the facts
  • Take time slots into account
  • Integrate visualizations and other supporting resources

Before starting to write a BRD, it is important that some preparation is done. Consider the following.

Involve as many stakeholders as possible in the process of writing such a document. To ensure that the document covers all aspects of the project, it is important to involve different stakeholders with different perspectives. This can be a variety of people such as project managers, project owners, business analysts, developers, marketers and many more.

This is an extremely effective way to evaluate the project from different angles and to identify possible pitfalls or barriers at an early stage. It also ensures the generation of innovative solutions and creative ideas.

Discuss with this group which requirements should be included in the document in any case. This is one of the most important first steps to complete. There are several techniques that can be used to generate input.

The first of these is brainstorming. This means that different stakeholders such as product managers and architects are brought together to think about things that will work well.

Another method is 1 on 1 interviews. Through this method, a plan is drawn up with a single individual or a small group of people such as end users and/or customers.

The third method of establishing requirements is through observation. It is sometimes possible to observe how a particular process functions. Specific requirements can be drawn up based on this.

Completing questionnaires is another way to gather feedback and requirements.

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Now It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation of business requirements? Do you work with a BRD to achieve a project’s success? Or do you ever think carefully about the specific requirements of a product or service you are working on? What other tools can be used to develop a high-quality BRD? Do you have tips or comments? Are you missing an article on a topic? Let us know in the comments or fill out the contact form.

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Hay, D. C. (2003). Requirements analysis: from business views to architecture. Prentice Hall Professional.
  2. Jonasson, H. (2007). Determining project requirements. Auerbach Publications.
  3. Kazhamiakin, R., Pistore, M., & Roveri, M. (2004, September). A framework for integrating business processes and business requirements. In Proceedings. Eighth IEEE International Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference, 2004. EDOC 2004. (pp. 9-20). IEEE.
  4. Verma, K., & Kass, A. (2008, October). Requirements analysis tool: A tool for automatically analyzing software requirements documents. In International semantic web conference (pp. 751-763). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

How to cite this article:
Janse, B. (2023). Business Requirements Document Tips, Example and Template. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/strategy/business-requirements-document/

Published on: 06/27/2022 | Last update: 01/15/2023

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