It is very pertinent to know the need for business requirement analysis while going in for a new project. Although things are ready to go ahead and the project team is keen to get started, it would still not be prudent to ignore this aspect of a project. The simple reason is that the business requirement agreed upon must be properly documented so that adherence to the terms and targets are ensured and the final product is in conformity to the business needs and the improvement achieved is discernable and measurable.
Recognizing Specific Needs
After finalizing a project, a formal agreement is entered into by different parties to it, principally end-users, owners and project managers and is documented with respect to the business requirement specification. It specifies the expectation of the end-users on completion of the project and what exactly should be included. Of course, this is applicable to a situation where the existing one is intended to be extended; as for instance, improvement to a software system, as well as a completely new situation such as the development of new corporate policies.
New projects emerge in response to the needs or failings of a business. Much time and treasure are expended in fulfilling the targeted need of the business. However, too often, the outcome stands in large variation to what was really intended out of the project. Such an undesirable eventuality can be avoided by making a business requirement analysis because it defines and documents the specific business objective in clear and unambiguous terms. Moreover, it breaks down the needs of business into specific tasks and clearly and precisely defines the scope of the project. Consequently, it aids in the assessment of the resources required for the completion of the project.
Techniques of Analysis
There are a number of techniques adopted for collection of information required for the documentation of business requirements. However, they are not exhaustive. It needs to be recognized that the broader picture may be overlooked because the individual businessman views it from his own perspective. The analysis aims at understanding different perspectives and inks down what exactly will be achieved by the designated project. Adopt these common techniques to get to the required objectives:
Stimulate Ideas by Brainstorming
By adopting this method, a lot of ideas can be generated in the least possible time. Not more than 12 people associated with all the areas of the project are identified and are made to sit for an hour in a relaxed environment. Brainstorming through questioning, interacting, ventilating and expressing constructive ideas is stimulated. The business analyst encourages the participants for delivering their ideas and notes them down on a white board, flipchart or post-it notes. After collecting a large number of ideas and suggestions, a screening by the analyst determines the best solutions that could be taken for further discussion.
Focus on Element by Storyboarding
In this process, the project is broken down to smaller elements so that one element is focused at one time. This facilitates in the identification of information that is lacking thereby needing more analysis. Moreover, clear communication can be established with the end-users.
Interview the Chief Project Personnel
Information becomes most relevant and dependable if it is extracted by conducting personal interviews of the key personnel associated with the designated project. But it is pertinent to interview the concerned people only and that the questionnaires set for the purpose of interview are focused on the designated topic. The open type questionnaire requires more than one worded and brief answer encompassing basic points related to function, features, preferences and expertise of users.
Any new product, system or process cannot be comprehended or visualized easily before it comes to its actual form or shape. Therefore, if the project does not aim at extending the improvement on the existing product or process, it becomes imperative that a prototype or an imitation of the likely end-product is devised and put in 3 dimensional shapes. This will facilitate the end-users make a total and clear picture of their final product. Moreover, after inspecting the prototypes, features that are irrelevant, inconsistent and problematic for actual use or application can be identified in advance.
Elucidation of the Requirements
After the collection and documentation of all the requirements it becomes necessary for determining the useful and unnecessary ones for achieving the targeted business objectives. Requirements vary with regard to their usability and necessity. Therefore, priorities have to be drawn out eliciting the ones that are essential and indispensable for delivering
an end-product, service or a system that can be effectively and appreciably be adopted for regular use and application in business. The impact of the end-product of the new project needs to be assessed, particularly on the skill and levels of the staff.
Impeccable Documentation of the In-Depth Requirements
The language used for documentation of the requirements must be easily understandable, brief and free from any ambiguity. If it is not written in the first language of any of the reviewers of the project, the language needs to be simple and clear-cut. It is advisable to avoid technical jargons, which if mandatory should be clearly elaborated in comprehensible tone and language.
Sufficient details of the product, process or service must be provided on the document. At the same time, the detail must be quantified and must be measurable in suitable units. It must also be possible for testing the new product with regard to the extent to which it meets the objectives of the business.
The following checklist covers the basics of a business requirement document:
Prior to kicking off the designated project work, it is imperative for the project manager to get the agreement of the business requirement document signed by the stakeholders. This certifies that the document describes the business needs accurately and thoroughly.