Better Business Requirements

First of all... what are business requirements?

Business requirements result from the stated project objectives or goals that are to be achieved and if met... is the definition of project success.  They are the highest level of requirements which will be broken down into more detailed requirements such as functional, design and testing requirements.  There are many things that you can do to improve your ability today to improve the definition of requirements.  Here's a short list of some ideas:

1.  One sentence per requirement.  It should be a complete sentence containing an object and a verb.  If there are specific conditions or constraints they should be noted as well.  example:  The new system (object) will be available (verb) 24 x 7 (condition).

2.  One requirement per sentence.  Many people feel that they need to write paragraphs of words to be thorough.  This isn't true.  In many instances, the extra verbiage is ambiguous, conflicting or extraneous.  Hint:  if your sentence includes the word "and" there's a good chance you've combined two requirements into a single sentence.  Separate them.

3.  Be unambiguous.  Have several people read the requirement.  Make sure everyone who reads it interprets it the same way.  If seven people read it and have seven different interpretations, you still have work to do to clarify the requirement more.  

4.  There should be a good mapping from the project's business objectives to the business requirements and then into more detail as technical, functional, non-functional, testing and all other project requirements.

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