Getting It Right
eBook - ePub

Getting It Right

Business Requirement Analysis Tools and Techniques

Kevin Brennan, Don Wessels, Kathleen B Hass

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  1. 210 pages
  2. English
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eBook - ePub

Getting It Right

Business Requirement Analysis Tools and Techniques

Kevin Brennan, Don Wessels, Kathleen B Hass

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About This Book

Volume of the Business Analysis Essential Library Series
Getting It Right: Business Requirement Analysis Tools and Techniques, presents principles and practices for effective requirements analysis and specification, and a broad overview of the requirements analysis and specification processes. This critical reference is designed to help the business analyst decide which requirement artifacts should be produced to adequately analyze requirements. Examine the complete spectrum of business requirement analysis from preparation through documentation. Learn the steps in the analysis and specification process, as well as, how to choose the right requirements analysis techniques for your project.

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Part I

Preparing for Requirements Analysis and Specification

This part navigates business analysts through everything they need to do before plunging into requirements analysis and specification. Chapter 1 defines requirements analysis and specification.
Chapter 2 explains the infrastructure that must be present before requirements analysis and specification gets underway.
Chapter 3 addresses issues that are relevant when transitioning from elicitation to analysis.
Chapter 4 discusses requirements management, because you need to start thinking about managing requirements before you analyze and specify them.

Chapter 1
Introduction to Requirements Analysis

In This Chapter:
  • Defining Requirements Analysis and Specification
  • Challenges in Requirements Analysis
  • Requirements Analysis Activities
  • What Are Models?
  • Stages of Requirements Analysis
  • Wrapping Up Elicitation Before Starting Analysis

Defining Requirements Analysis and Specification

Requirements are the necessary and sufficient properties of a product that will satisfy the consumer’s need. Software requirements are the necessary and sufficient properties of software that will ensure the solution achieves what it was designed to accomplish for its users and for the business.1 Requirements for a new business solution, therefore, are the necessary and sufficient properties of a business system that will ensure the business goals and objectives are met.
Requirements analysis is the process of structuring requirements information into various categories, evaluating requirements for selected qualities, representing requirements in different forms, deriving detailed requirements from high-level requirements, and negotiating priorities. Requirements analysis also includes the activities needed to determine required function and performance characteristics, the context of implementation, stakeholder constraints and measures of effectiveness, and validation criteria. Throughout the analysis process, requirements are decomposed and captured in a variety of formats, in both text and graphics. Analysis represents the middle ground between requirements and design.2
Requirements analysis encompasses the activities involved in scrutinizing the information that has been elicited about the business need and the scope of a new or changed business solution. In analysis, requirements information is decomposed, examined, and restated until the requirements specifications are accurate, unambiguous, and complete. Specifications are representations of requirements in the form of diagrams and structured textual documents that are elaborated from and linked to the various requirement components, thereby providing a repository of requirements. Requirements analysis is an important part of the business solution life cycle (BSLC) process whereby business analysts, in collaboration with business and technical subject matter experts (SMEs), analyze and then specify, document, and validate the requirements of the business entity undergoing change (see Figure 1-1). Because the business analysis profession is just now emerging and a standard language has not been put into place, requirements analysis can also be referred to with any of the following phrases:
  • Requirements engineering
  • Systems analysis
  • Requirements specification
  • Business requirements analysis
In generally accepted engineering practice, requirements analysis and specification is typically completed before design and design is completed before construction. Of these phases, requirements analysis is considered by many the most vital part of the business solution development process. As mentioned in the first book of this series, studies reveal that project costs and technical risks can be reduced through rigorous and thorough requirements elicitation, analysis, specification, and validation. Indeed, it is not uncommon for projects that are following one of the agile methods for incremental development to spend up to nine months on requirements development and release planning prior to design and construction of the incremental releases. It must be noted, however, that requirements elicitation, analysis, and specification is an iterative process. Depending on the product development methodology used, it often continues at a progressively more detailed level throughout design and construction and even, to a limited degree, into the test activities.
Figure 1-1—Business Solution Life Cycle
The traditional way of doing requirements analysis is to capture all information about the business need in a single (often very large), rather unstructured document and leave the task of requirements analysis to the developers. However, organizations are beginning to realize that requirements analysis is a specialized field, with the analysis best carried out by experts. These experts are business analysts, who bridge the gap between the business world and the technology world. The business analyst’s role is increasingly accepted in industry, as evidenced by the formation and rapid growth of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). (See the first book in the series for more information about the IIBA, or refer to its website, In addition, techniques used to analyze requirements are maturing into efficient and effective methods. Techniques introduced in the mid-1980s and 1990s, like a robust stakeholder analysis, the use of prototypes, Unified Modeling Language (UML), use cases, and agile development, are currently in vogue and promise to provide more effective analysis results than those of the past.

Challenges in Requirements Analysis

It is not a trivial endeavor to identify the relevant stakeholders, give them all an appropriate level of involvement in defining and validating requirements, and document their perspectives in a clear, concise format. In addition, the project team is expected to determine whether it is feasible to design and construct ...

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