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New Post 6/30/2009 1:36 PM
User is offline Veena
5 posts
10th Level Poster


Functional and system level requirements 

Can anyone please explain to me what are system level requirements and how are they different from functional level requirements?

I joined as BA a week back and have been involved in this low budget 1month project. My supervisor gave me partially filled table, which has columns like requirement id, requirement category, functional level requirement, system level requirement, design id, test script id etc.

The table has info in for the first three columns and I'm supposed to complete the rest. I have no clue what should go in the system level requirements. Any ideas please…

 

 
New Post 6/30/2009 7:36 PM
User is offline David Wright
141 posts
www.iag.biz
7th Level Poster




Re: Functional and system level requirements 

The question is: what do these things mean at your company? What do they mean to your supervisor? There is no point in using someone else's definitions if your company/supervisor does not agree with them. Any particular methodology in use? Any BA training?

Now, if these things are not defined at your company,  that's a big problem, bigger than your current project.

In any case, are the functional (level) requitrements one of the first three columns? If so, what would be an example of one?


David Wright
 
New Post 7/1/2009 6:32 AM
User is offline Veena
5 posts
10th Level Poster


Re: Functional and system level requirements 

David,

Thanks for the reply. I know that my supervisor is probably the best person to answer this question but she is on family vacation.

I tried to ask other BA's in the company and got the same answer that you gave me "system requirements could mean different things to different people".

Anyway to answer your question, yes I do have a functional requirement column that's complete. We are actually trying to build a data tracking system for a training institute which has about 20 different locations. We need to centralize data for all these centers by getting enrollment and pass/ fail data etc. We will then be sending them reports based on that.

So in this case one of the examples of functional requirement is that “our system should be able to import data from the training centers”. Now I have to translate that requirement into system level requirement.

Sorry if this info provides incomplete picture.

Thanks!

 
New Post 7/1/2009 5:47 PM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster


Re: Functional and system level requirements 

 

Functional requirements (often also referred to as Conceptual Requirements) address the needs of a user that interacts with the business environment (business, department etc and their systems.). System requirements address the needs of a user that interacts with the computer systems, ONLY. In one instance the business is the boundary and another instance the system is the boundary. Therefore an oversimplified equation is Functional Requirement = Workflow + System Requirements. What is key to this definition is the boundary.
 
To illustrate: lets say you want to join a library. As a prospective member you interact with the library where the boundary includes all systems, books, librarians etc. However, after you’ve filled in and submitted your application forms, the librarian enters your details into the computer system.Back to our little equation: Functional Requirement (Member must be able to join library) = Workflow (member fills in form) + Systems requirement (Librarian enters details from form into computer/our system must be able to maintain member details).
 
Lets say you work in the account receivable department (which is one boundary) and you have a debtor system (which is the other boundary). Therefore paying an invoice becomes: Functional Requirement (Clerk must be able to record invoice payments) = Workflow (clerk prepares remittance advice and cheques) + System Requirements (Clerk enters remittance information/our system must be able to accept invoice payment).
 
The reason why you get different answers from different people is, the boundaries are unclear. For those of us who work with use-cases, the difference is obvious, because the square box we draw illustrates the boundary. Sometimes the square box represents the business, sometimes the department, and sometimes the systems. For the use case aficionados, it’s a box within a box within a box. This has smacks of the old Venn diagrams that we did at school. It’s a circle within a circle within a circle.
 
For those of us familiar with DFDs. We would draw bubbles for the workflow and the entry of details (as in the library case above). At some point we would draw an automation boundary around those areas we deem as system requirements.
 
Boundaries are important things.One of the questions to ask your colleagues and your supervisor, is, “please define the boundary for each of the columns on the traceability matrix”.
 
This answer is oversimplified, but I trust this helps a little bit.
 
Time permitting today I’ll answer your second implied question about the traceability matrix that you received from your supervisor.
 
Warm regards,
K
 
New Post 7/1/2009 6:16 PM
User is offline David Wright
141 posts
www.iag.biz
7th Level Poster




Re: Functional and system level requirements 

K has stated this nicely, it provides details about what is a Business Use Case and what is a System Use Case, things I use all the time.

However, sound like no use cases of any type were used to come up with the Functional Requirements in this situation, but you do have some. So, when creating any kind of requirement or any artifact, I am usually doing it because someone wants it, and will use it for something. So, I would find out who wants the system requirements for your project (designers/developers?) and ask them what they would consider to be good system requirements that they could use; ask them what they got on previous projects, and which of those projects had the best system requirements. Then you will have at least some idea of what is wanted.

dww


David Wright
 
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