Requirements define the future. They express conditions that their author expects the future to fulfill. Unfortunately, the word “requirement” has become a four-letter-word in many organizations, particularly when the requirements define a future Information Technology (IT) application. The reason? 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 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 Better Requirements in Plain English" gives you a set of 3 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).
This course is the first in a series of three that will dramatically 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 will help. It is interactive (includes exercises with instant feedback), instructionally designed (based on modern learning theory), and "intellimated™" (uses animated visuals with an accompanying audio track) to hold your interest and increase retention.
"An Overview of Business Analysis for Information Technology" below is a video that will give you a bird’s-eyes view of the field of Business Analysis including requirements. The other links are articles on the problems and/or benefits of requirements.
This exercise will make you aware of how challenging effective communication can be.
A brief look at some real-life examples of communication problems.
Are you working in an Agile Environment? The video "User Stories: Agile Requirements Definition (Part 1)" below might interest you:
This exercise will test your interpretation of Rule 1.
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.
This exercise will test your interpretation of Rule 2.
This exercise will test your ability to brainstorm common components of a business solution containing an IT application.
If you are working in an Agile environment you might be more interested in our video below "User Stories: Defining IT Requirements (Part 3)".
This exercise will test your ability to extrapolate components from requirement statements.
Presents a detailed overview of the first three rules for writing better requirements in plain English.
"Writing Requirements" is a small part of the field of business analysis. If you would like to know more about other common business analysis techniques watch our very popular YouTube video below (What Techniques Do Business Analysts Use? )
This comprehensive exercise will test your interpretation of all three rules combined by presenting you with a different scenario and a set of associated requirement statements.
The material covered in this course is also available as an instructor-led course (see below - Online BA training How To Write Effective User Requirements for IT BA-EXPERTS).
If you are working in an Agile environment you might be more interested in our instructor-led course "Techniques for Eliciting, Documenting, and Analyzing Stakeholder Needs in User Story Format" (see below - Online BA training How To Write Effective User Requirements for IT BA-EXPERTS).
The remainder of links are additional tips on the topic of "Writing Effective Requirements".
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