Business Analysis - Requirements Mngmt

Gathering software requirements is the foundation of the entire software development project. Soliciting and gathering business requirements is a critical first step for every project. In-order to bridge the gap between business and technical requirements, the business analysts must fully understand the business needs within the given context, align these needs with the business objectives, and properly communicate the needs to both the stakeholders and development team.

The key stakeholders wish that someone could explain customer / client requirements in plain English. Will this benefit them from understanding the value at a high-level? This will be the main-focus area, as they will try to map the documentation with the requirements and how BA could communicate in the best possible way.

Why Projects Fail

There are many reasons why projects fail but some of the common areas include the below −

  • Market and Strategy Failure
  • Organizational and Planning Failures
  • Quality Failures
  • Leadership and Governance failures
  • Skills, Knowledge and competency failures
  • Engagement, team work and communication failures

At the core of the issue is that projects are increasingly complex, changes occur and communication is challenging.

Why Successful Teams do Requirements Management

Requirements management is about keeping your team in-sync and providing visibility to what is going on within a project.

It is critical to the success of your projects for your whole team to understand what you are building and why – that’s how we define requirements management. The “why” is important because it provides context to the goals, feedback and decisions being made about the requirements.

This increases predictability of future success and potential problems, allowing your team to quickly course correct any issues and successfully complete your project on time and within budget. As a starting point, it’s valuable for everyone involved to have a basic understanding of what requirements are, and how to manage them.

Let’s Start with the Basics

A requirement is a condition or capability needed by a stakeholder to solve a problem or achieve an objective. A condition or capability that must be met or possessed by a system or system. Component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed documents.

A requirement can be expressed with text, sketches, detailed mockups or models, whatever information best communicates to an engineer what to build, and to a QA manager what to test. Depending on your development process, you might use different terminology to capture requirements.


High-level requirements are sometimes referred to simply as needs or goals. Within software development practices, requirements might be referred to as “use-cases”, “features” or “functional requirements”. Even more specifically within agile development methodologies, requirements are often captured as epics and stories.

Regardless of what your team calls them or what process you use; requirements are essential to the development of all products. Without clearly defining requirements you could produce an incomplete or defective product. Throughout the process there can be many people involved in defining requirements.

A stakeholder might request a feature that describes how the product will provide value in solving a problem. A designer might define a requirement based on how the final product should look or perform from a usability or user interface standpoint.

A business analyst might create a system requirement that adheres to specific technical or organizational constraints. For today’s sophisticated products and software applications being built, it often takes hundreds or thousands of requirements to sufficiently define the scope of a project or a release. Thus, it’s imperative that the team be able to access, collaborate, update, and test each requirement through to completion, as requirements naturally change and evolve over time during the development process.

Now that we’ve defined the value of requirements management at a high-level, let’s go deeper into the four fundamentals that every team member and stakeholder can benefit from understanding −

  • Planning good requirements: “What the heck are we building?”
  • Collaboration and buy-in: “Just approve the spec, already!”
  • Traceability & change management: “Wait, do the developers know that changed?”
  • Quality assurance: “Hello, did anyone test this thing?”

Does everyone know what we’re building and why? That’s the value of requirements management.

Collaboration and Buy- In from Stakeholders

Is everyone in the loop? Do we have approval on the requirements to move forward? These questions come up during development cycles. It would be great if everyone could agree on requirements, but for large projects with many stakeholders, this does not usually happen. Trying to get everyone in agreement can cause decisions to be delayed, or worse, not made at all. Gaining consensus on every decision is not always easy.

In practice, you don’t necessarily want “consensus,” you want “buy-in” from the group and approval from those in control so you can move the project forward. With consensus, you are trying to get everyone to compromise and agree on the decision. With buy-in, you are trying to get people to back the best solution, make a smart decision and do what is necessary to move forward.


You don’t need everyone to agree that the decision is the best. You need everyone to support the decision. Team collaboration can help in receiving support on decisions and in planning good requirements.

Collaborative teams work hard to make sure everyone has a stake in projects and provides feedback. Collaborative teams continuously share ideas, typically have better communication and tend to support decisions made because there is a shared sense of commitment and understanding of the goals of the project.

It’s when developers, testers, or other stakeholders feel “out of the loop” that communication issues arise, people get frustrated and projects get delayed. Once everyone has bought-in to the scope of work, it is imperative for requirements to be clear and well documented. Keeping track of all the requirements is where things get tricky.

Imagine having a to-do list a mile long that involves collaborating with multiple people to complete. How would you keep all those items straight? How would you track how one change to an item would affect the rest of the project? This is where traceability and change management add value.