EC: Writing Requirements for IT — Simply Put!

Apply Four Simple Rules to Improve the Quality of Your IT Requirements

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Preview CourseDuration: 3.5 hours
Format: Online course
Author: Tom and Angela Hathaway

 

Also covered in this eWorkbook and in an instructor-led course (live and online classroom).

Sneak preview

What is this course about?

Effective Requirements Reduce Project Failures

Writing requirements is one of the core competencies for anyone in an organization responsible for defining future Information Technology (IT) applications. However, nearly every independently executed root-cause analysis of IT project problems and failures in the past half-century have identified “misunderstood or incomplete requirements” as the primary cause. This has made writing requirements the bane of many projects.

The real problem is the subtle differences between “understanding” someone else’s requirement and “sharing a common understanding” with the author.

“Writing Requirements for IT — Simply Put!” gives you a set of 4 simple rules that will make your requirement statements more easily understood by all target audiences. The focus is to increase the “common understanding” between the author of a requirement and the solution providers (e.g., in-house or outsourced IT designers, developers, analysts, and vendors).

The rules we present in this book will reduce the failure rate of projects suffering from poor requirements. Regardless of your job title or role, if you are tasked with communicating your future needs to others, this course is for you.

How to Get the Most Out of this Course?

To maximize the learning effect, you will have optional, online exercises to assess your understanding of each presented technique. Lessons prefaced with the phrase “Exercise” contain an exercise that we have prepared to give you an opportunity to try the presented technique yourself.

These exercises are optional and they do not “test” your knowledge in the conventional sense. Their purpose is to demonstrate the use of the technique more real-life than our explanations can supply. We hope you enjoy them and that they make it easier for you to apply the techniques in real life.

You can learn more business analysis techniques by visiting the Business Analysis Learning Store to see a wide selection of business analysis books, eCourses, virtual and face-to-face instructor-led training, as well as a selection of FREE Business Analysis training.

Who should take this course?

  • Product Owners
  • Business Analysts
  • Requirements Engineers
  • Business- and Customer-side Team Members
  • Agile Team Members
  • Subject Matter Experts (SME)
  • Project Leaders and Managers
  • Systems Analysts and Designers
  • AND “anyone wearing the business analysis hat”, meaning anyone responsible for defining a future IT solution

What Can You Do After the Course?

Upon completion of this course, you can:

  • Write requirements that focus on the business need
  • Test the relevance of each requirement to ensure that it is in scope for your project
  • Create and maintain a question file to reduce the impact of incorrect assumptions
  • Minimize the risk of scope creep caused by missed requirements
  • Confirm that each audience shares a common understanding of the requirements
  • Use our Peer Perception technique to find ambiguous words and phrases that can lead to misunderstandings
  • Reduce the ambiguity of a statement by adding context and using standard terms and phrases

Detailed Course Outline

Setting the Stage for Writing Effective Requirements

  • Welcome to the Course Free Preview
  • Why Do You Need Better Requirements? Free Preview
  • Managing Uncertainty
  • Exercise: The Subjectivity of Language
  • The “Real” Problem with Requirements

Capturing Requirements

  • Follow the KISS concept
  • Exercise: Simple, Complete, and Well-Structured
  • Define the Business Need
  • Exercise: Avoiding the Elusive “How”

Requirements and Project Scope

  • Keep Your Requirements in Scope
  • Exercise: Relevant Requirement Components
  • Combat Scope Creep from the Start
  • Exercise: Testing the Scope Boundaries
  • Recap of Rules One through Three
  • Exercise: Applying the First Three Rules

Finding and Fixing Ambiguous Requirements

  • Ambiguity Is Our Worst Enemy Free Preview
  • The Challenge to Understanding
  • Exercise: Finding Ambiguity with the SME
  • Use Peer Reviews to Increase Understandability
  • Exercise: Requirement Interpretations
  • Combatting the Major Cause of Project Failure
  • Exercise: Revising Requirements to Reduce Ambiguity

Best Practices for Improving Understandability

  • Use Acronyms and Corporate Standards
  • Exercise: Using Revisions to Reduce Ambiguity
  • Add Context to Eliminate Ambiguity
  • Exercise: Appropriate Context Reduces Ambiguity
  • Write to the Readability Level of Your Audience
  • Exercise: Using Readability Indices
  • Recap of Rule Four
  • Exercise: Rule 4 Applied

In Closing

  • Claim Your Job Aid
  • Where Does Your Path Go from Here?

Lesson Previews