All businesses set up processes for project management, implementation & production. One major part of building or enhancing any applications requires to understand the level of work involved from estimates of the scope of the project to the cost of implementation. This document is called many names: requirements specification document or, simply, business requirements. Business requirements are important activities for a project that must be performed to meet the business objectives while remaining technology solution dependent.
A business requirements document (BRD) details the business solutions required for a project not limited to but, including the documentation of customer needs and expectations. If an initiative intends to modify or change existing (or introduce new) components be it either software or hardware, a new Business Requirements Document should be created.
The most common objectives of the BRD are:
- To attain agreement with stakeholders
- To provide a foundation while communicating to technology service provider or internal IT team about what the solution needs to do to meet the ever-changing customers and business needs.
- To provide direction into the next phase for this project
The BRD is a major stepping stone because it lays foundational value for all subsequent project deliverables. Questions like what Inputs and outputs are associated with each process function. What process function delivers critical to quality. This document acts like the voice of the customer and hence describing what the system will appear to be in the future.
The BRD distinguishes between the business solution and the technical solution. When examining the business solution, the BRD should answer the question, “What does the business want to do?” For example, the business wants to serve 100 bottles of cold beer each night during a 10-day retreat and the beer must be 41 degrees Fahrenheit when poured. The technical solution should support the business solution. For example, the company would need a refrigeration storage unit capable of holding 1000+ bottles operating between 39 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
Who Should Be Involved in the Creation of the BRD?
- Multiple Teams are involved in the creation of a BRD.
- Project team
- Business Stakeholders
- Business Process Owners and Representatives
- SME’s (Subject Matter Experts)
- IT Service Management (Need by basis)
Prerequisites for BRD
For a BRD is a Project Charter created during early stages of a project. The BRD gives the team ‘a fall back on’ document to review the project charter to ensure that the objective, goals, scope, project team, and approvers are accurately reflected.
A current environment evaluation should be done. This will include gap analysis – a process flow map of the current state identifying and weight areas that will be changed during the project.
Overall Project Details and Best Practices
The BRD table of content should be used to list all core aspects of the BRD – constraints, assumptions and dependencies, business rules, scope and other critical elements.
Validate scope: Make sure there is no possibility or any ambiguity in the language that can cause scope creep. Clearly defined understood and signed off by Stakeholders & Project folks.
Components of a Business Requirements Document:
The components must have a logical flow and should be articulated and easy to follow. An example of a high-level list of components is as follows:
- Project charter information
- As is Process Flow
- Future State or To Be Process Flow
- Business rules and constraints
- Functional requirements
- Approver and Reviewer Contacts
- Project Team members
- Business Sign-off
- Stakeholder and project team Sign-off.
As with any tool, the BRD can have both benefits and failure modes. Benefits derived from a good BRD include reduced changes during the improve and change management control and reduced time to take business ideas from inception to conception. Failed System normally is created from a poorly drafted BRD. Creating a successful BRD requires co-ordination and critical thinking. Best practices should include dedicated session to complete and sign off on the BRD with all required resources 100 percent available.
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