KK: What Are IT or User Requirements?

A Look at Software Requirements including Business, Stakeholder, Solution, and Transition Requirements


Author: Tom and Angela Hathaway
Video Duration: 12.52 minutes

This KnowledgeKnugget™ is part of an eBook and an eCourse

Video Overview

In this KnowledgeKnugget™ you will learn about several types of software requirements including different levels as defined by the International Institute of Business Analysis® (Business, Stakeholder, Solution, and Transition Requirements)

Video Transcript Excerpt

IT Requirements Are a Form of Communication

In the world of business analysis, a requirement defines:

  • a feature that a future solution has to enable such as cloud access
  • a function that a future solution has to execute like calculate savings
  • a fact that a future solution has to enforce i.e. IRS regulation XYZ
  • or a quality that a future solution has to exhibit as in “access to a file in 1 second”

Requirements are the foundation upon which information systems are built and, just like a building, if the foundation is not solid, the building will not stand.

Fundamentally, a requirement is how we communicate what the builders (or buyers) of the solution need to build (or buy). This gets us fully into the world of human communication with all of its misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and misrepresentations. Finally, what requirements are depends to some degree on the Software Development Methodology (SDM) that your organization uses and where in the development life cycle you are. In an Agile SDM, requirements are fundamentally negotiable whereas in a traditional (Waterfall or Iterative) SDM changes are only allowed within a rigorous change management process.

Requirements As Defined by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®)

To reduce the problems of communication between those who want a solution and those who can provide it, the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) in its Business Analysis Body of Knowledge™ (BABOK®) defines four fundamental types of requirements:

  • Business requirements define the goals and objectives that the organization as a whole strives to achieve.
  • Stakeholder requirements are the specific needs and wants of groups or individuals within the organization.
  • Solution requirements are the functions and qualities that a solution has to encompass to be accepted.
  • Transition requirements define attributes and actions necessary to implement the new solution in the existing organization.

As you can see, each type of requirement expresses a different level of detail. Business requirements are very high level and a typical project will address very few. Business requirements beget stakeholder requirements beget solution requirements. A typical project needs many stakeholder requirements to specify the business requirements from the perspective of the people involved. Solution requirements turn the focus of the stakeholder requirements towards the solution technology. There can be a very large number of solution requirements. Finally, transition requirements define components of the solution that only exist to replace the current solution, as it exists today. Let us look at each type in more detail.

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