“Beyond Good Requirements- The Zoom In – Zoom Out Loop”


Business analysts are those who can support the enablement of a change. A change may be a new feature on a system, a new system or a change in procedures. One of the main tasks of business analyst is to elicit requirements. By elicitation we mean a dynamic process that is beyond just collecting customer's requests. It's more about negotiating, challenging and elaborating on what customers say they need. Then it’s a task of the business analyst to define those requirements in a usable and concrete way.

However in elicitation and defining requirements great analysts have in mind the value that needed to be delivered and the alignment with the whole context. This can be far more challenging than just discussing about specific features of the product in a workshop with clients.

A business analyst should avoid approaching requirements as piles of isolated objects. Human organizations and the mutual interaction between people and organization that provides a system, indicating the need of thinking the requirement as part that should harmonically be integrated to the whole puzzle.

Business architecture is important. As a business analyst you need to bring context to the environment in which the solution or change must be implemented.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the specific characteristics of the organization in which the solution will be applied?
  • How the organization provides value?
  • Is the requirement part of a solution that is aligned with the organizational goals?
  • Do you understand how the solution will not only drive revenue but value for the business?
  • Do you understand how the organization structures the roles and the people will be affected by the solution?
  • Are the requirements contribute towards keeping the wright perspective against organizational goals?

The business architecture is a way to understand current state and articulate many of the business and stakeholder needs that a BA will utilize to ensure that the requirements of the change produce a solution of value.

Before a BA starts formatting the requirements after collecting and analyzing them, he need to take into account how those requirements will function collectively with other elements of the organization like processes and business rules. A great BA has to dive into the business architecture and to ensure the requirements are not only aligned with project objectives but also with organizational goals and structure.

Mastering BA meaning you have to go beyond the surface of collecting and elicitating requests for new features. You have to collect evidence about the strategic plan and direction of the company. Make as much questions as possible to identify those things.

Beyond Validation and Verification

It is important to consider how your project and consequently the solutions that will be developed as part of it , no matter how small, will support the strategic goals of the company. Beyond verification and validation of the requirements you need to perform a check also for the alignment with the context and the level of strategic fit with the high level organizational goals. Although the project scope is supposed to be aligned with the goals of the organization checking either requirements with small impact for their strategic fit can be valuable.

As an analyst the more aware you are of the philosophy and the specific characteristics of the organization you will develop solutions the more focused your work will be and the more on target your requirements elicitation will be.

The following scheme provide a three level process of checking requirements:

a three level process of checking requirements


As an analyst you have to ensure your own understanding of the bigger picture. You have to zoom in and zoom out frequently. You need to analyze either in small initiatives the context under which the ba work will take place. It is possible to get so focused on the solution that your thoughts are stuck only in delivering the solution and forgetting to revisit frequently the alignment with the scope and the context. The BA always needs to ask if the task being performed is not only moving the project toward its goal(s) but also providing value to the organization.

 Author: George Sioutzos, Business Analyst, Business Author

George Sioutzos is working in the business consulting industry as a business analyst. He has experience in projects from different sectors. He holds a BSc in Management Science and Technology from Athens University of Economics and Business and Msc in International Business & Management. Numerous articles about business and technology issues have been published in most reputable Greek and foreign media.



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