5 Tips on Project Requirements Definition

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Successful projects begin with a well-documented understanding of the project requirements, ensuring clear communication between client and service provider.

Project requirements graphic

It would be nice if you could download the ideas for your next project to someone else, but today you have to define project requirements.  That term is used often and everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a “requirement”.  According to the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysts) a requirement is:

1.  A condition or capability needed by the stakeholder to solve a problem or achieve an objective.
2.  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.
3.  A documented representation of a condition or capability as in (1) or (2).

Whew!  What does that really mean?  You can think of a requirement as a foundation of a system or component.  Something that is essential for performance or operation.  There are many different types of requirements:  business requirements, user requirements, and functional requirements.  Most people can’t give you specific rules about writing requirements, but they can certainly identify “bad” requirements.

Here are 5 tips on defining project requirements for your next project:

  1. Identify the gap, what the system needs to do to meet the need.  Make sure you understand the business or subject matter before finalizing the requirement.
  2. Verify the requirements with a peer review among other teams, for example Operations and IT.  Each team has different objectives for the system and look at things in different ways.  Users that interact with the system every day can provide invaluable insights as to the strengths and areas of opportunities for a given process.
  3. Requirements can be text, but modeling requirements also works:  screen mockups or flow charts.  The Business Analyst can derive requirements from the models provided.  You know the old saying…a picture is worth a thousand words.
  4. Define the impact of the requirement.  The requirement can impact other processes in your operation or the data interfaced between systems.
  5. How will success be measured?  If a requirement is specific and measurable it will be simple for your provider to understand, and you can easily verify the requirement is met.

Whether you are installing a new software package or material handling system, defining your project requirements will ensure the project is a success from start to finish.

I have been with Bastian Software Solutions since 1985 and lead a team of Information Analysts (IA's). As the lead IA, I focus on understanding customer requirements and educate customers on the capabilities of Exacta, our supply chain software. With a strong background in both the software and warehousing industries, I help ensure Bastian Software develops high quality supply chain solutions.

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