Follow us...

1.3  Key Concepts

1.3.1 Domains

A domain is the area undergoing analysis. It may correspond to the boundaries of an organization or organizational unit, as well as key stakeholders outside those boundaries and interactions with those stakeholders.

1.3.2 Solutions

A solution is a set of changes to the current state of an organization that are made in order to enable that organization to meet a business need, solve a problem, or take advantage of an opportunity. The scope of the solution is usually narrower than the scope of the domain within which it is implemented, and will serve as the basis for the scope of a project to implement that solution or its components.

Most solutions are a system of interacting solution components, each of which are potentially solutions in their own right. Examples of solutions and solution components include software applications, web services, business processes, the business rules that govern that process, an information technology application, a revised organizational structure, outsourcing, insourcing, redefining job roles, or any other method of creating a capability needed by an organization.

Business analysis helps organizations define the optimal solution for their needs, given the set of constraints (including time, budget, regulations, and others) under which that organization operates.

1.3.3  Requirements

A requirement is:

  1. A condition or capability needed by a stakeholder to solve a problem or achieve an objective.
  2. A condition or capability that must be met or possessed by a solution or solution component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed documents.
  3. A documented representation of a condition or capability as in (1) or (2).

As implied by this definition, a requirement may be unstated, implied by or derived from other requirements, or directly stated and managed. One of the key objectives of business analysis is to ensure that requirements are visible to and understood by all stakeholders.

The term “requirement” is one that generates a lot of discussion within the business analysis community. Many of these debates focus on what should or should not be considered a requirement, and what are the necessary characteristics of a requirement. When reading the BABOK® Guide, however, it is vital that “requirement” be understood in the broadest possible sense. Requirements include, but are not limited to, past, present, and future conditions or capabilities in an enterprise and descriptions of organizational structures, roles, processes, policies, rules, and information systems. A requirement may describe the current or the future state of any aspect of the enterprise.

Much of the existing literature on business analysis is written with the assumption that requirements only describe an information technology system that is being considered for implementation. Other definitions may include future state business functions as well, or restrict the meaning of the term to define the ends stakeholders are seeking to achieve and not the means by which those ends are achieved. While all of these different uses of the term are reasonable and defensible, and the BABOK® Guide’s usage of the term includes those meanings, they are significantly narrower than the way the term is used here.

Similarly, we do not assume that requirements are analyzed at any particular level of detail, other than to say that they should be assessed to whatever level of depth is necessary for understanding and action. In the context of a Business Process Management initiative, the requirements may be a description of the business processes currently in use in an organization. On other projects, the business analyst may choose to develop requirements to describe the current state of the enterprise (which is in itself a solution to existing or past business needs) before investigating changes to that solution needed to meet changing business conditions.

.1  Requirements Classification Scheme

For the purposes of the BABOK® Guide, the following classification scheme is used to describe requirements:

  • Business Requirements are higher-level statements of the goals, objectives, or needs of the enterprise. They describe the reasons why a project has been initiated, the objectives that the project will achieve, and the metrics that will be used to measure its success. Business requirements describe needs of the organization as a whole, and not groups or stakeholders within it. They are developed and defined through enterprise analysis.
  • Stakeholder Requirements are statements of the needs of a particular stakeholder or class of stakeholders. They describe the needs that a given stakeholder has and how that stakeholder will interact with a solution. Stakeholder requirements serve as a bridge between business requirements and the various classes of solution requirements. They are developed and defined through requirements analysis.
  • Solution Requirements describe the characteristics of a solution that meet business requirements and stakeholder requirements. They are developed and defined through requirements analysis. They are frequently divided into sub-categories, particularly when the requirements describe a software solution:
    • Functional Requirements describe the behavior and information that the solution will manage. They describe capabilities the system will be able to perform in terms of behaviors or operations---specific information technology application actions or responses.
    • Non-functional Requirements capture conditions that do not directly relate to the behavior or functionality of the solution, but rather describe environmental conditions under which the solution must remain effective or qualities that the systems must have. They are also known as quality or supplementary requirements. These can include requirements related to capacity, speed, security, availability and the information architecture and presentation of the user interface.
  • Transition Requirements describe capabilities that the solution must have in order to facilitate transition from the current state of the enterprise to a desired future state, but that will not be needed once that transition is complete. They are differentiated from other requirements types because they are always temporary in nature and because they cannot be developed until both an existing and new solution are defined. They typically cover data conversion from existing systems, skill gaps that must be addressed, and other related changes to reach the desired future state. They are developed and defined through solution assessment and validation.