How to Write, Document, and Manage IT Requirements

Writing effective requirements is a critical skill for business analysts and subject matter experts who represent the business interests on an IT project. The challenge lies in defining business IT needs in the form of business requirements, stakeholder requirements, solution requirements, and transition requirements that other audiences will interpret as intended and use to design the right solution.

This exercise-rich, interactive business analysis workshop provides a proven set of core business analysis techniques, methods and tricks to help business analysts, product owners, and subject matter experts create, clarify, and confirm business, stakeholder, solution, and transition requirements (i.e., the kind of IT requirements that solution providers need to deliver the right information technology solutions for the business).

The techniques taught in this course are methodology-neutral, meaning they are relevant to traditional, UML, or Agile development environments. The target audience for this course is anyone involved in defining or deciphering business system requirements, including business analysts, process owners, subject matter experts, and project managers.

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Key Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this skill-building experience, you can:

  • Identify the Value of High-Quality IT Requirements
  • Categorize Business, Stakeholder, Solution (Functional and Non-Functional), and Transition Requirements
  • Translate business needs into well-structured business requirement statements
  • Write Stakeholder Requirements expressing the what and avoiding the how
  • Assess whether IT requirements are in or out of scope for the project
  • Write IT requirements that minimize the potential for misunderstanding
  • Differentiate between quantitative and qualitative measures
  • Recognize business rules and external constraints in Stakeholder Requirements
  • Apply 5 simple rules to improve the understandability of your IT requirements
  • Verify the “testability” of Solution Requirements
  • Break business and stakeholder requirements into functional and non-functional components
  • Drill-down business and stakeholder requirements to identify functional and non-functional solution-level requirements
  • Decompose requirements and user stories to identify solution requirements
  • Describe 16 common non-functional requirement categories
  • Relate non-functional requirements to appropriate functional and informational components
  • Distinguish between business, stakeholder, and solution requirement levels
  • Baseline the business requirements to set the stage for managing change
  • Develop an IT Requirements traceability matrix
  • Present the business value of IT requirements management for your organization
  • Plan to incorporate selected techniques to improve your performance on the job

Course Outline

1. The IT Requirements Enigma
    The Requirements Enigma
  • Current User Requirement Structures
  • Exercise: Functional versus Non-Functional Requirements
2. Writing Business and Stakeholder Requirements
    Writing Requirement Statements
  • Business and Stakeholder Requirements
  • Rules for a “Effective” Requirement Statement
  • Reducing Complexity Increases Comprehension
  • A Complete Sentence Forces a Complete Thought
  • Structured Requirement Statements
  • Rules for a “Effective” Requirement Statement
  • Think “What”, Not “How”
  • Example: Creating Complete Sentence Requirements
  • Rules Review
  • Exercise: Applying the Rules

    Enforcing Project Scope

  • Rules for a Relevant Requirement Statement
  • Relevant Requirements
  • Exercise: Components
  • Common Components of IT solutions
  • Requirements in Scope
  • The Project Scope Statement
  • Exercise: Requirement Statement Relevance
  • Rules for a “Effective” Requirement Statement

    Avoiding Ambiguity and Subjectivity

  • Who Needs Clarity, Anyway?
  • Misinterpretation Ruins Requirements
  • Discussion: Replacing Easily Misinterpreted Terms
  • Increasing Clarity of your Requirements
  • The Challenge to Understanding
  • Increasing Clarity of your Requirements
  • Reducing the Ambiguity in Your Requirements
  • Ambiguity Ruins Requirements
  • The Importance of Asking Questions
  • Ambiguity Ruins Requirements
  • Rewriting Requirements to Reduce Ambiguity
  • Exercise: Using Out-of-Box Thinking
  • Exercise: Reducing Ambiguity in Requirements

    Testing the Understandability of Your Requirements

  • Rules for an Effective Requirement Statement
  • Understanding Non-Functional Requirements
  • Clarifying Quantitative Performance Requirements
  • Common Measurable Requirements
  • Exercise: Clarifying Quantitative Requirements
  • Quantifying Qualitative Requirements
  • Exercise: Quantitative vs. Qualitative (Subjective)
  • Exercise: Analyzing Performance Components
  • Constraints vs. Non-Functional Requirements
  • Clarifying Constraining (Environmental) Elements
  • Exercise: Business Rules From WasteTheWaist
  • Exercise: Applying the Rules
3. Analyzing Business and Stakeholder Requirements
    Decomposing Statements Uncovers Solutions
  • Discussion: Grouping Requirements
  • Value of Grouping Requirements
  • Potential Pitfalls in a Set of Requirements
  • Identifying Inconsistent Requirements
  • Exercise: Identifying Inconsistent Requirements
  • Solution Requirements Are Specific
  • The Functional Perspective
  • The Data Dimension
  • The Problem Dimension of Requirements
  • Types of Non-Functional Requirements
  • Exercise: Non-Functional in Your Environment
  • Non-Functional Requirements vs Ten Critical Questions
  • Exercise: Functional Decomposition
  • Worksheet: For Your Answer
  • Functions and Informational Requirements
  • Managing Informational Elements
  • Exercise: Finding Informational Requirements
  • Defining Informational Element Accuracy
  • Precision and Currency of Data Elements
  • Non-Functional Performance Requirements Defined
  • Evaluating Performance Requirements
  • Common Subjective Performance Requirements
  • Exercise: Quantitative vs. Subjective Measures
  • Exercise: Performance-related Functions and Data
  • Worksheet: For Your Answer
  • Decomposing Business Rules
  • Business Rule and Constraint Examples
  • Exercise: Subjective Requirements
  • Worksheet: For Your Answer
  • Stamping Out Subjectivity
  • Exercise: Requirements Types
  • Requirements Decomposition Revisited
4. Managing IT Requirements
    Requirements Management Concepts and Techniques
  • Introduction to the IIBA® Body of Knowledge
  • Knowledge Areas of the BABOK® v2.0
  • Requirements Management and Communication
  • What is in a Requirements Management Plan?
  • Key Aspects of Requirements Management
  • Where Does the Requirements Management Plan Fit?
  • Discussion: Requirements Management Challenges
  • Requirements Repository
  • Requirement Documentation Template(s)
  • Tools Discussion
  • Worksheet: RM Tool Requirements
  • Requirements Repository
  • Possible Requirements Packages
  • What is a Requirements Document Really?
  • Common Requirement Containers
  • The SRS or RDD Document
  • Requirements Structure for an RDD
  • Primary Requests for External Solutions
  • Discussion: Request for Information
  • Request for Proposal TOC
  • Award Basis Criteria
  • Communicating Requirements
  • Requirements Communications Plan
  • Exercise: Your Requirements Communications Plan
  • Worksheet: Requirements Communication Plan
  • Reusing Requirements
  • Requirements Re-use
  • Exercise: Benefits and Challenges of Re-Use
  • Critical Success Factors
  • Exercise: Identifying Reusable Requirements
5. From Showtime to Go Time!
    Personal Improvement Plan
  • Understanding the Learning Curve
  • Exercise: My Techniques
  • My Personal Implementation Plan