Identifying Business Requirements

The business requirements need to be presented in a well-structured document, which forms the foundation whereby the quality assurance and testing teams accept the system. Ideally, the outcome is that the functional requirement is a document that shows clear consistency between what is technically possible (within realistic time scales and cost) and what the business wants. However, there are a number of different scenarios that can arise.

It is not possible to be sure that the requirements are technically feasible, therefore requiring prototyping.

The client requirement grows to an unacceptable level of complexity, and the project conducts a review to see if the project can be split into smaller, more manageable subprojects.

There is only a partial match between the requirements and what is possible, requiring a feasibility study to explore the degree of match.

Because most projects are driven by the functional specification it is vital to remember that any change in this specification automatically implies a likely change in schedule and cost. Therefore, the functional specification is to be well-documented and approved by the relevant project stakeholders. Once approved, the specification forms the baseline by which the project will develop the solution.

The project manager must understand that the cost of changing the functional specification increases substantially as the project progresses through the various phases of its life cycle. Imagine working on a project with an unsigned business requirement document and then the client informs the project that it is not what the client needed. The effect on the entire project is disastrous. Therefore, it is imperative that the client confirms and approves the business requirements.


In the course of any IT project, it is very likely that the project manager will need to perform an analysis in order to document a solution for a client. It may be necessary that the business analysts or related project team members spend a considerable amount of time with the client identifying and gathering all the necessary information. In this situation, there are many levels of detail that need to be discussed, but the following techniques and issues must be addressed during the analysis phase:

Inquiry as to whether all the data and information are available for analysis

Determination of how the client currently deals with this current problem

Review and documentation of the current system

Inquiry as to whether appropriate time scales have been allocated for the analysis phase

Presentation of alternative solutions

Entity relationship diagrams

Work and data flow diagrams

Interviews held with users, suppliers, and competitors Personal observations

Questionnaires distributed to identified target groups

Research performed using the Internet, libraries, and special interest groups

SWOT analysis

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