What are Business Requirements?
Whenever looking at any activity related to an organisation or a company, a set of business requirements must be established to help guide operations or projects. Business requirements might relate to a particular project, for example an IT project such as creating a new company website and developing a new product or service. They might also relate to a broader or corporate activity, such as business requirements related to setting up or maintaining an office.
About Business Requirements
Business requirements provide context and an objective way to measure success. When well defined, a business requirement will define the future state of the business or a specific project. They are generally high-level requirements that address a specific business need or objective. Business requirements relate specifically to an orgnanisation's or company's vision as well as its objectives and goals. They may also focus on the needs or expectations of various stakeholders, such as investors, clients, customers, the general public, suppliers, business partners and other groups.
Benefits of Business Requirements
Business requirements clearly define what must be done to address to address a business need or objective. Knowing exactly what is required will help inform business activities and operations, as well as individual projects. Having well defined business requirements connects business activities, operations and projects to broader vision and goals set by an organisation or a company.
Clearly defined business requirements that are developed early also help reduce activities that are misaligned or misrepresent business needs or objectives. As a result, they help structure activities and operations consistently and collaboratively. Business requirements generally help create consensus and collaboration since there is a common need and a defined idea of the end state. Since there is reduced changes of undertaking activities that are misaligned or misrepresented, strong business requirements also help save costs associated with poorly managed projects or business activities.
Establishing Strong Business Requirements
Business requirements must be concise and clear. They are not simply objectives but are activities that will help meet overall objectives or goals. Business requirements should provide enough information to help guide an activity or project, as well as inform the development of functional requirements. Functional requirements outline the various steps that will be taken in order to address the business requirement. Business requirements should always relate back to a company's or organisation's mandate or mission, as well as its vision, objectives and goals.
Business requirements define exactly what the business need or objective and illustrate why it is important. These requirements are used to establish and manage expectations about what actions will be taken and what will be delivered. They also provide a framework in order to guide decisions and will inform what sets are taken to address the identified need. They will also provide a scope to inform timing and cost. They should be current and unambiguous, and should be consistent with other requirements and business objectives.
Business requirements are often use within an IT context, although can be applied in other activities. Business requirements might deal with accommodating staff, clients or customers, or it may relate to infrastructure requirements needed to deliver services or develop projects. If a business has the objective to grow into new markets, a business requirement might relate to setting up a satellite office to allow the company to grow and operate in other parts of the country or abroad. Once business requirements are established, functional requirements are then defined to clearly outline steps that must be taken in order to achieve a goal and the defined business requirement.
Using Business Requirements
Business requirements are generally outlined in a business case. The business case will relate to a specific business need. A business case outlines the rational for an individual activity or project. In addition to defining business requirements, a business case will also include information on requires resources including cost. Functional requirements outlining the steps that will be taken to address the business need will also be part of the business case. A business case may also include performance measures that are used to assess progress or success. Business requirements may also be outlined in a cost-benefit analysis and a statement of work.