Posted by tac_admin, November 21, 2012

Business Requirements Documentation 101

Though I’ve written extensively about how to elicit requirements and ensure your requirements are crystal clear, today I thought I’d walk you through the process of documenting those requirements.

For starters, business data requirements are part of the business requirements document (BRD). They describe the information needs of the business area.

The BRD is created to assure the stakeholders their business problems and needs are understood accurately and completely. It also provides the documentation needed to design a solution that best addresses the business needs.

Let’s take a look at an example involving requirements about taking payments.

We have a requirement that says the customer should have the ability to make a check payment for a minimum of 5 dollars and a maximum of 250 dollars.

The Business Analyst should also document data attributes for this requirement. Data attributes would be the checking account number, the bank routing number, the dollar amount, the name of the account holder, the account holder address, etc.

Once all of the attributes are documented, the next step would be determining which of the data attributes are required vs. optional. For example, first and last name of the account holder may be required, but middle initial is optional.

The BA will then need to determine what data types each of the attributes are. Are they numeric, characters, dates, or time?

After determining the data types, the BA will define the number of characters / field length acceptable for each data type and determine if it is “up to” a certain number or if it must be a specific number of characters.

For example, the bank routing number may be required to always be exactly 9 numeric values, but the bank account holder’s last name can be from 1 to 26 characters.

It’s important to note that documenting detailed requirements is not simply listing the requirements. The Business Analyst must account for all data that needs to feed into or come out of the application in order to meet that requirement. Other considerations are:

  • Where is the data going to be stored?
  • What type of database will be used?
  • Will all data be stored in one database or certain fields in one place and others in another database?
  • How long is that data stored?
  • How often will the database be updated and what will that update process be?

If the system is built to meet the requirements of the user, the Business Analyst can be sure it will deliver the features the user expected.

Learn all the skills you need to confidently and expertly fulfill your role as BA. Check out my online training series for more info!

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