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What is the difference between a Business Requirement Document (BRD) and a Functional Specification Document (FSD)?

Posted by BAZ

Article Rating // 209844 Views // 6 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Requirements Analysis (BABOK KA), Functional Specifications


Business Requirement Documents are written to define the requirements of a business process or a system that needs to support a business process.  For purposes of contrasting the Business Requirement Document (BRD) and the Functional Specification Document (FSD), the description of the BRD that follows is written in terms of preparing a BRD for a system. The exact scope of a BRD and FSD vary from company to company.  However, the two documents are typically defined as follows:

The BRD contains the business requirements that are to be met and fulfilled by the system under development.  These requirements specify "what" the system must do in order to fulfill the requirements of the business.  They often take the form of "The system shall..."  Each requirement, or group of similar requirements, is typically accompanied by a business rationale. The business rationale explains "why" the business requirement is necessary.  This is often important later if analysts or developers have questions regarding the purpose or validity of the requirement.  The rationale can be used to support the need for the business requirement or clarify ambiguous language by providing a context for the requirement. In addition to a rationale, constraints can be provided for each requirement along with other supporting reference material.

In contrast, the FSD defines "how" the system will accomplish the requirements by outlining the functionality and features that will be supported by the system.  Ideally, the functionality of the system will be described in logical terms so that the FSD is technology and platform independent. This gives the architects and developers more freedom in making development and design decisions about the physical design of the system.  Inevitably, however, some things have to be explained in physical terms.  The User Interface is one such example.  Many FSDs include screen mockups or wireframes for communicating the layout and design of the system screens.



DeEtta posted on Monday, July 7, 2008 2:44 AM
Below is a link to the products page of my website. Within this page is a link to publications on I have written 2 e-books at a very affordable price. There is a book Introduction to Business Analysis & UML that covers the basic essential of Business Analysis. It is a how to guide on conducting business analysis that include, UML, SDLC, methodologies, use cases and Requirement types and traceability. There is also a book of business analysis templates. Both books together are very good guides for learning the basics of business analysis -
Sachin posted on Monday, August 4, 2008 6:02 AM
hi dbaltha,
the link given by you is not working... Please help me out by any other way...
DeEtta posted on Monday, August 4, 2008 2:40 PM

Business Requirements are what an organization must perform in order to do business. A business requirement states a high-level business objective of the organization that builds a product or an objective of the customer.
Example: Increase the student enrollment by 10%.

Functional Requirements - describe the functionality the system must have. When you are analyzing functional requirements for a system, the key questions we need to ask are; who will be using the system, and what will they be using it to do?
Example: The system must provide the capability to generate reports

I also wanted to give the definition of User Requirements. Sometimes they are confused for Business Requirements

User Requirements - are used in terms of the business processes and information that people use to do their jobs. User requirements can also describe the details of the business Requirements.
Example: Provide the ability to allow user to enter registration information

Sorry about the link. The webpage has been changed. The books are on lulu. The reason I am recommeding these electronic books is that they describe in detail requiement types and the template book has a complete set of Business Analysis templates including a Business Requirement and Functional Requirment Template with examples. Very good resources to have.

Introduction -
Templates -
vk posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 4:04 PM
These links dont work
siddhesh posted on Thursday, June 4, 2015 1:42 PM
Business Requirements Document (BRD) describes what the required business achievements should be and means to measure the quality of those achievements. It typcially expresses the broad outcomes the business requires rather than specific functions the system may perform. Specific design elements are usually outside the scope of this document.
A Functional Specification Document (FSD) in software development is the documentation that describes the requested behavior of an engineering system. The documentation typically describes what is needed by the system user as well as requested properties of inputs and outputs.
A Software Requirements Specification (SRS) is a description of an organization's understanding of customers or a potential client's system requirements and dependencies. It's initial purpose is to ensure that the provider understands the customers' or client's requirements prior to any actual design or development. The SRS states in precise and explicit language all functions and capabilities as well as the constraints by which the software system must abide. It functions as a blueprint for completing a project with as little cost growth as possible. It is often referred to as the "parent" document because all subsequent project-related documents such as design specifications, statements of work, software architecture specifications, testing and validation plans are derived from it.
Mahmood posted on Thursday, February 25, 2016 4:21 PM
Siddhesh, will it be possible for you to provide a simple example and the associated BRD, FSD, and SRS?
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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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