Writing Business Requirements is a vital part of any development effort. Most individuals would rather skip this step, but in the long run, those folks generally find out that they have to do the leg work either on the front end, or all during the project. A set of well defined Business Requirements rarely produce a bad product. If time and effort is taken, you can have an excellent document that is well thought out, organized and informs your I.T. department on what you desire to be developed. Below, there are several key rules in writing a business requirement and specification.
Define Roles and Responsibilities: Defining Core Roles and Responsibilities will ultimately be one of the most important success factors of the project. A good mix of good managers and workers consists of many factors. To begin with, a clear and concise list of who the key players are and the organization that they will be managing will be a good starting point for kicking off a successful project.
Define Core Purpose and Business Objectives: The current business objectives and core purpose of the project can many times get lost in all the details. A clear focus can be obtained by providing a clear and concise business objective statement. Start with a simple outline of your objectives. Consistently references to the core purpose can simplify many issues and consolidate decisions that can get bogged down.
Writing a Business Requirements: Many times when writing a Business Requirement, information overload occurs. A balance of concise facts versus background information and history can eliminate many wasted hours of reading and deciphering a large document. A listing of principles below will help your group facilitate a clear, concise and most importantly a useful set of facts that will get the Core Purpose and Objectives accomplished.
Keep rules in a table structure by using Excel or a spreadsheet. If the rule can not be stated in 3 sentences, it should be broken into more than 1 rule Don't use a dictionary to define your requirements. Simple, plain terminology will enable a more effective method of communication.
Keep it Simple. This basic principal can help keep the majority of confusion down on writing a business spec. Start with an Outline. A reasonable outline will help focus those individuals writing the Business Requirements. Core Areas should be identified first, and subsequently organized in a manner that addresses each area effected by the project.
Keep charts clear and easily read. This will help facilitate a focal point for most of the major points within the Business Requirement. Pictures that are easily understandable will help place a framework on your Business Process Flow.
Answer these basic questions first:
- What are the current Legal Requirements?
- What are the current Business Policies?
- How are we currently conducting our Business?
- What is the Business Process Flow?
- What Automated Systems are now in place?
- What shortcomings and failures are in the current systems?
- What enhancements should be considered for the New Project?
Remember, concise information can eliminate wasted time, and non productive discussions.