Writing Requirements for IT — Simply Put!
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Writing Requirements for IT — Simply Put!

Use Four Simple Rules to Improve the Quality of Your IT Requirements
4.3 (31 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
605 students enrolled
Last updated 7/2017
English
Current price: $10 Original price: $55 Discount: 82% off
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Includes:
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 15 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Assignments
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • 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
  • Apply 3 simple rules to create technology-independent, component-focused requirements
  • Reduce the ambiguity of a statement by adding context and using standard terms and phrases
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • No technical background required
  • Need or desire to define user requirements, features, user stories, etc.
  • Interest in finding more efficient ways to communicate business needs to the development community
  • HTML5 compatible browser for exercises
  • No additional materials are required
Description

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.

Who is the target audience?
  • Subject Matter Experts
  • Product Owners
  • Business Process Managers
  • Business Process Users
  • Product and Project Managers
  • Line Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • Anyone wearing the Business Analysis (BA) hat!
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
32 Lectures
01:19:54
+
Setting the Stage for Writing Effective Requirements
5 Lectures 18:11

The instructor, Tom Hathaway, presents an overview including the scope and purpose of this course and introduces the learning objectives. 

Preview 02:45

  • The Problem with Requirements
  • The Benefits of Effective Requirements

External Resources with links to articles on the problems and/or benefits of requirements.

Preview 03:22

  • The Uncertainty Principle
  • What Do You Really Know?
  • THE Question File
Preview 08:18

This exercise will make you aware of how challenging effective communication can be.

Exercise: The Subjectivity of Language
00:34

A brief look at some real-life examples of communication problems.

The "Real" Problem with Requirements
03:12
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Capturing Requirements
4 Lectures 14:07
  • Express Each Requirement as a Simple Sentence
  • Reducing Complexity Increases Comprehension
  • A Complete Sentence Forces a Complete Thought
  • Structured Requirement Statements

Are you working in an Agile Environment? The video "User Stories: Agile Requirements Definition (Part 1)" below might interest you:

Follow the KISS concept
08:47

This exercise will test your interpretation of Rule 1.

Preview 00:29

  • Focus on “What”, Not “How”
  • Consider the Business Result, Not the IT Solution

This lecture introduces the second rule for writing better requirements in plain English. For those working in an Agile environment, watch our YouTube video below (User Stories: What, Not How) that describes rule 2 using User Stories.

Define the Business Need
04:23

This exercise will test your interpretation of Rule 2.

Exercise: Avoiding the Elusive “How”
00:27
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Requirements and Project Scope
6 Lectures 11:34

This lecture addresses the scope issue on IT projects as it relates to requirements. It covers:

  • Enforcing Your Project Scope
  • The Project Scope Statement
  • Defining Scope at the Component Level
Keep Your Requirements in Scope
04:12

This exercise will test your ability to brainstorm common components of a business solution containing an IT application.

Exercise: Relevant Requirement Components
00:18

  • Focused Requirements Minimize Misinterpretations
  • Relevant Requirements Reduce Project Effort
  • Identifying Relevant Requirements

If you are working in an Agile environment you might be more interested in our video below "User Stories: Defining IT Requirements (Part 3)".

Combat Scope Creep from the Start
04:44

This exercise will test your ability to extrapolate components from requirement statements.

Exercise: Testing the Scope Boundaries
00:21

This lecture gives you an opportunity to test your understanding of the first three rules.

Recap of Rules One through Three
01:37

This exercise will test your ability to evaluate requirements for compliance with all of the rules we have covered.

Exercise: Applying the First Three Rules
00:22
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Finding and Fixing Ambiguous Requirements
7 Lectures 19:57

This lecture discusses the difficulties that plague IT requirements. It presents:

  • Avoid Ambiguity in Your Requirements
  • Ambiguity Kills Projects
  • Who Needs to Understand Your Requirements?
  • Roadblocks to Effective Communication
Ambiguity Is Our Worst Enemy
05:27

This lecture addresses the problem that ambiguity causes in the world of requirements for IT projects. It covers:

  • Rampant Ambiguity
  • Desk-Checking Uncovers Ambiguity
The Challenge to Understanding
02:34

This little exercise will help you identify ambiguous terms.

This exercise is designed for Internet Explorer (IE). It may not work with other browsers.

Exercise: Finding Ambiguity with the SME
00:29

This lecture a quick-fix for discovering and reducing some of the ambiguity in your requirements. It covers:

  • Requirements Define the Future
  • Restating Requirements to Find Ambiguity
  • Picking the Right Peers
Use Peer Reviews to Increase Understandability
05:17

A two part exercise for you to identify good requirement rewrites and then write your own rewrites.

This exercise is designed for Internet Explorer (IE). It may not work with other browsers.

Exercise: Requirement Interpretations
00:07

This lecture introduces a second technique for reducing some of the ambiguity in your requirements. It covers:

  • Revise Ambiguous Elements
  • Revising, Defining, and Clarifying Your Requirements
Combatting the Major Cause of Project Failure
05:42

This exercise is designed for Internet Explorer (IE). It may not work with other browsers.

Exercise: Revising Requirements to Reduce Ambiguity
00:21
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Best Practices for Improving the Understandability of Your Requirements
8 Lectures 12:31

This lecture discusses the proper use of acronyms and standard terms for further reducing ambiguity in your requirements. It covers:

  • Acronyms, Yes, BUT …
  • Make Use of Corporate and Industry Standards
  • The Power of a Glossary
Use Acronyms and Corporate Standards
04:18

Deciding whether to expand an acronym, use a glossary, or replace a term with an industry standard could require some thought.

Exercise: Using Revisions to Reduce Ambiguity
00:19

This lecture explains how maintaining context in your requirements will help you reduce ambiguity. It covers:

  • The Major Cause of Ambiguity
  • Adding Context and Other Missing Information
Add Context to Eliminate Ambiguity
02:51

Deciding whether to expand an acronym, use a glossary, or replace a term with an industry standard could require some thought.

Exercise: Appropriate Context Reduces Ambiguity
00:14

In this lecture we will explain what readability indices are and how to use them in your requirement writings. An understandable requirement is written to the readability level of the target audience by staying within standard readability indices.

If you work in an Agile project environment, browse these links:

Write to the Readability Level of Your Audience
03:01

What readability level do you score?

Exercise: Using Readability Indices
00:16

A summary of requirements and ambiguity.

Recap of Rule 4
01:13

Exercises: Applying Rule 4
00:18
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In Closing
2 Lectures 02:32

An introduction of rule 5 targeting Solution-level requirements. Download a printable copy of the "5 Simple Rules for Effective Requirements" using the link below.

Claim Your Job Aid
01:33

If you enjoyed this class, you might also enjoy additional training offers from BA-EXPERTS.

Bonus Lecture - Where Does Your Path Go from Here?
00:59
About the Instructor
Tom and Angela Hathaway
4.3 Average rating
169 Reviews
2,217 Students
7 Courses
BA-EXPERTS: Business Analysis for Anyone Wearing the BA Hat

Tom has been in business analysis since long before it was called business analysis. He has over 30 years experience in the fields of information technology, methodologies, and business analysis. In his writings and lectures he strives for enlightening while entertaining. As a facilitator, he achieves results through inclusion and synergistic group-building. He has taught thousands of students business and systems analysis skills since the '80's and has facilitated hundreds of requirements discovery sessions under a variety of acronyms (JAD, ASAP, JADr, JRP, etc).

Angela and Tom Hathaway (previously Hathaway & Associates, Inc. and Requirements Solutions Group, LLC) founded BA-EXPERTS in 2011. As a team, Angela and Tom have trained, consulted, mentored and coached thousands of business analysts around the world for organizations from small businesses to Fortune 100. Hundreds of current and past customers include TIAA-CREF (Financial), Cathay Pacific (Airline), Manitoba Telecom Services (Telecommunications), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Hospitality), government agencies, and a myriad of organizations spanning all sizes and industries. Our training, consulting, and mentoring efforts have saved our customers around the world millions and can help your organization improve its business analysis practices