Posted by tac_admin, January 24, 2012

Characteristics of Excellent Requirements

It is the responsibility of the Business Analyst to write excellent requirements.

Some characteristics of excellent requirements are:

  • Complete
  • Correct
  • Unambiguous
  • Verifiable
  • Necessary
  • Feasible
  • Prioritized

Thoughts? Anything to add to this list?

3 responses to “Characteristics of Excellent Requirements”

  1. Balaji Santhanam says:

    Hi Teresa,

    Thanks for sharing great tips for Business and Quality Analysts like me.
    for the above discussion ‘characteristics of an excellent business requirements’, if you can add a little bit of explanation for each of them, it would be very very useful.The characteristics described above tend to be very subjective, and this is were at least me personally get dinged all the time. example, how unambiguous is unambiguous?.What is the benchmark for each of them.

    • Teresa Bennett says:

      Hi Balaji – I’ll be glad to share more on this topic.

      Definitions for the above characteristics:

      Complete – The requirement is fully stated in one place with no missing information (to get an example of this, sign up for my mail list and you’ll receive a report about requirements and test scenarios that shows examples of requirements that are missing information).

      Correct – many things make up the “correctness” of a requirement. Here’s a list of some things that make a requirement “correct”:
      – The requirement does not contradict any other requirement and is fully consistent with all authoritative external documentation.
      – The requirement is atomic, i.e., it does not contain conjunctions. E.g., “The postal code field must validate American and Canadian postal codes” should be written as two separate requirements: (1) “The postal code field must validate American postal codes” and (2) “The postal code field must validate Canadian postal codes”.
      – The requirement meets all or part of a business need as stated by stakeholders and authoritatively documented.
      – The requirement has not been made obsolete by the passage of time.
      – The requirement addresses one and only one thing.

      Unambiguous – The requirement is concisely stated without recourse to technical jargon, acronyms (unless defined elsewhere in the Requirements document), or other esoteric verbiage. It expresses objective facts, not subjective opinions. It is subject to one and only one interpretation. Vague subjects, adjectives, prepositions, verbs and subjective phrases are avoided. Negative statements and compound statements are prohibited. An example of a vague requirement is “We need a report with sales totals”.
      How often should the report be produced? How are the sales totals broken down; by salesman, city, state, country? What data besides totals should be on the report?

      Verifiable – The implementation of the requirement can be determined through one of four possible methods: inspection, demonstration, test or analysis. You have to be able to verify the requirement was met.

      Necessary – The requirement represents a stakeholder-defined characteristic the absence of which will result in a deficiency that cannot be tolerated.

      Feasible – The requirement can be implemented within the constraints of the project.

      Prioritized – An optional requirement is a contradiction in terms – if it’s optional, it isn’t a requirement. That being said, we do still have to prioritize requirements because it is sometimes impossible to meet all requirements within the constraints of the project. The standard constraints are money, time, and resources.

      Please feel free to add to the list with anything else you think would help clarify these characteristics.

  2. Yasodhara Desugari says:

    I like the way you simply explain BA concepts and the efforts to help many people for landing a job, coach them and to give free videos helpful for preparation of business analyst role.

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