The Importance of Analyzing Business Requirements to the Overall Project Success
posted by Regis King
on Jan 27, 2015
Creating business requirement documentation helps to set the overall direction for a project and also determines how the proposed solution will affect the key stakeholders involved. Stakeholders are individuals with a vested interest in the success of a change. We can group stakeholder together then quantify the level of impact the change will have on each group.
An example of the stakeholder effect image how many individuals would be impacted from changing a payroll solution from stand-alone application to web based application. Individuals impacted could be the regular employee group, HR group, Accounting Group and Information Technology Group. While regular employees may focus on the easy or complexity of entering in time the HR group may require a system with high-level security to protect sensitive information recorded in the application. Each group will be impacted in a different way and at a different level.
Through business analysis we can determine both the positive and negative effects of a solution on each user group, how it will improve processes, how it will offer additional protection (security), or increase accessibility and storage capability, and what special training would be required to use the solution (how user friendly). The requirements gathering process occurs when an analyst conducts either primary research, usually interviewing either the user group involved or individuals with intimate knowledge about the user groups or secondary research, gathering information from credible academic sources and consulting with Subject Matter Experts (SME) or both. This step is called the discovery or initiating phase, which happens prior to the creation of project plan.
Once the gathering process is complete the business analyst/ project manager will then translate the information about each stakeholder’s group received and put together a high-level document called a Business Requirements Document (BRD). The business requirement document will ensure that the business processes and risks have properly been identified. Risks may include permissions, security, and constraints on technology (available software), time and budget.
The business requirement documentation also serves as a proposal to the Business Owners to ensure the solution has been carefully mapped out. In this proposal we can utilize visual aide creating a conceptual design of an interface. The conceptual design can be displayed using wireframes and mockups within the Business Requirements Documentation. Wireframes serve as a sample of the skeletal framework of a web solution. Wireframes can display page layout, navigational features, content priority and functional requirements.
Software to Create Wireframes and Mockups
There are a wide assortment of software that are available to both web designers and analysts to create wireframes and mockups. I have personally used Balsamiq Mockups and I think it’s great. Balsamiq Mockups allows users to design their own web based solution including buttons, data tables, hyperlinks, etc. This software has a free 7-day trial period which user can save mockups to their CPU desktop.
Software to Create Workflow
An analyst may use several different tools to create workflow diagrams. Microsoft Office has a wide variety of built-in diagrams in the SmartArt section displaying hierarchical relationships, workflow cycle, process and even customizable shapes and object to create your own diagrams.
Microsoft Visio is probably among the most popular in professional software to create workflow and business process diagrams. Microsoft Visio offers features to bring clarity from business analyst to developers by linking diagrams to data, collaborate by sharing diagrams and working simultaneously in office 365 and SharePoint, and quickly model with several built-in diagrams.