Requirements Analysis (BABOK KA)

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Requirements documents are used to communicate the aims of a project in a clear, concise way to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page.  When we talk about a requirements document we are often referring to a Business Requirements Document - or a BRD.  But as well as a BRD, there are 9 other types of requirements documents that a business may want to use while pushing a project through its stages of completion. The type of format to be used depends on the result of the project itself, whether it’s a product, service or system, and the particular requirements it has.

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The previous article in this series discussed ensuring that high-level requirements (HLRs), within the context of an IT-based project, were properly high level. The remainder of articles in the series will look at detail requirements and the need for them to be sufficiently detailed. The objective of this article is to demonstrate how a data dictionary (DD) can be used as a tool for capturing the appropriate level of detail representing data-specific business needs.

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The purpose of the Trips-R-You Flight Booking Case Study is to provide an integrated, end-to-end set of requirement examples. In IIBA® BABOK® V3 terminology, end-to-end means from Business Requirements to Stakeholder Requirements to Solution and Transition Requirements. This case study, and associated artefacts, use the more traditional business terms Goals, High-level Requirements (HLRs), and Detail Requirements. Only functional requirements are addressed, and only within the context of a project chartered to deliver an IT-based solution.

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Let us look at it from a different angle now and derive the requirements out of the customer journeys.  It is impossible to introduce a change... if the change is big and you try to implement it in one go.  This is the reason we tend to break any solution into smaller components. Each solution component should be small and independent enough to be changed individually in a controlled manner. So that eventually we will compose a new experience out of them. Pretty much like using a set of Lego blocks.

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If someone said you could only perform a single quality practice on a software project, what would you choose? I’d pick peer reviews of requirements, which I believe are the highest-leverage quality practice we have available today.  In a peer review, someone other than the author of a work product examines the product for quality problems and improvement opportunities. Reviewing requirements is a powerful technique. Use them to identify ambiguous or unverifiable requirements, find requirements that aren’t sufficiently detailed yet, spot conflicts between requirements, and reveal numerous other problems.

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Reuse is an eternal grail for those who seek increased software productivity. Reusing requirements can increase productivity, improve quality, and lead to greater consistency between related systems.

Reuse is not free, though. It presents its own risks, both with regard to reusing existing items and to creating items with good reuse potential. It might take more effort to create high-quality reusable requirements than to write requirements you intend to use only on the current project. In this article we describe some approaches an organization could take to maximize the reuse potential of its requirements.

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The objective of this article is to provide business analysts with guidelines for distinguishing between high-level requirements (HLRs) and detail requirements (in IIBA® BABOK® V3 terms – Stakeholder requirements and Solution requirements respectively).

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Unfortunately, business rules often are a mystery in business. Most of time they are undocumented and worst they are a figment of someone’s imagination - no basis. However, mystery or not, we need them in eliciting stakeholder requirements in order to understand how the business obligations are kept, constraints are enforced and how decisions are made. And just like news reporters, we need to confirm the business rules with a second (hopefully authoritative and documented) source. Furthermore we need business rules to ensure a quality product and/or process through testing.
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Culture clashes frequently arise when teams are working on requirements. There are those who recognize the many risks associated with trying to develop software based on minimal or telepathically communicated requirements. Then there are those who think requirements are unnecessary. It can be tough to gain business-side cooperation on projects like legacy-system replacement if users see this as unrelated to their own business problems and not worth their time. Understanding why people resist participating in requirements development is the first step to being able to address it.

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Project Scope. We will see how scope statements, when making reference to business functionality, lead directly to High-Level requirements.  Gathering requirements for a business information system is most often done within the context of a project. Approval of a project includes its sponsors signing off on its scope. The scope for a business information system project is typically defined in functional terms. Items in scope make reference to (or should make reference to) business functions, processes and/or activities that are to be delivered.

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One of the three activities encompassed under Requirements Analysis is the process of ‘ Requirements elicitation’. IIBA’s definition of ‘elicitation’ is “An activity within requirements development that identifies sources for requirements and then uses elicitation techniques to gather requirements from those sources.

However, this definition appears incomplete from an analyst’s point of view as it relies solely on the assumption that one can come up with requirements only by running elicitation techniques; however, the process of elicitation is not as simple and straightforward as it seems. Let’s see why.

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This article provides high-level steps for eliciting requirements when interviewing or holding a facilitated meeting with stakeholders; it was motivated by an attendee question at a recent Modern Analyst webinar: “Functional vs. Nonfunctional requirements.”  The question was, “Can a Business Analyst elicit functional and nonfunctional requirements in the same iteration?” 

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One of the Sidebars to the Business Agility Manifesto unabashedly indicts the software industry for its long-standing failure to provide direct support for obligations, an obvious and fundamental aspect of real-life business activity.

Where can you find obligations in business? Virtually everywhere you look: acts, laws, statutes, regulations, contracts, MOUs, agreements, terms & conditions, deals, bids, deeds of sale, warranties, guarantees, prospectuses, licenses, citations, certifications, notices – and of course, business policies.

Direct support for obligations is a fundamental capability your organization needs in the Knowledge Age. What’s it about?

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In a classic business analyst universe, requirements are the soul of all the work a business analyst does. If a business analyst fails to identify and translate the right requirements, they’re out of a job. This is the reason why a successful business analyst is always good at requirements handling/management process. What makes requirements...
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What do you put down in non-functional requirements when you are documenting requirements in your project? When we say non-functional we typically mean those requirements that are not related to functionality of the system, then what exactly are these and why do we need them.

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