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Four Requirements That Make a Difference in Creating Solutions

Recently I was working with a group of 25 professionals in developing their business analysis capabilities. Business Analysis as a profession has gained a lot of popularity over the last 10 years. All sorts of professionals and consultants are focusing on creating a tool kit so they can help businesses make better decisions.

One challenge I often see is the lack of understanding of the various types of requirements that a business has and the ability to link those requirements. It concerns me as there are a lot of professionals and business leaders doing things that are in no way connected to the business needs and the key strategic agenda items.

The first thing to consider is the definition of a requirement and the second is to know the four key requirements and how to apply them.

A requirement is a condition or capability needed by a stakeholder to solve a business problem or enhance an opportunity. It must satisfy a business constraint like a contract, standard, specification or formally imposed business rule.

There are four key requirements to consider when working on solving business problems or enhancing opportunities.

Business Requirements: These are generally high level statements as to what the business wants to achieve. They are inclusive of the business goals, objectives and needs. Often when considering the Business Requirements the values, guiding principles, strategic agenda items, strategic initiatives, stakeholders and outcomes must be considered. It is imperative that when creating Business Requirements that team understand what is on the strategic agenda of the organization and why it is important.

Stakeholders Requirements: These are bridge requirements. They are representative of stakeholder needs and they way they will interact with a business solution. This is often missed. Stakeholder Requirements require the business to capture key needs that link and align with the Business Requirements.

Solution Requirements: These requirements describe the characteristics of a solution that meet both the business and stakeholder requirements. Solution Requirements are functional and qualitative. Therefore they describe behaviour and environmental conditions that a business solution must have to remain effective. Everyone likes to just jump to solution requirements. This is a mistake. Solution requirements need to align with the business and stakeholder needs. Jumping to solutions negatively impact the business through ineffective use of time, money and resources.

Transition Requirements: These requirements are about implementation and change. They are the requirements needed in order to efficiently and effectively transition a solution that meets the business and stakeholder needs into the environment. They need to be well though out and require a plan of action that creates business success.

The thinking that goes into understanding business problems and opportunities crosses all professional and business leadership boundaries. It does not matter if you are in Human Resources, Information Technology, and Finance, Corporate Services or any other department. The reality is that understanding what a requirement is, gathering and capturing the right requirements, and linking requirements together is key to creating successful business solutions.

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