Business Requirements Are the Outcome of Strategic Business Analysis
Historically (e.g., in a Waterfall approach) Strategic Business Analysis was the preliminary work preceding a project or initiative.
The purpose of Strategic Business Analysis was to clearly define the scope and goal of proposed IT projects. If the initial feasibility analysis determined that the project was unlikely to deliver a positive outcome for the organizations, it was canceled. If the outcome was to approve the project, Strategic Business Analysis delivered high-level business requirements.
As per the IIBA® definition, “Business Requirements” define an outcome that would benefit the organization as a whole or a specific subset.
Whether you call it “Strategic Business Analysis” or not and whether you create “Business Requirements” or not, someone must decide whether to solve a particular problem or take advantage of an opportunity.
Decision makers at this level of detail are typically senior executives or owners of the organization. At this lofty level, the software development method (SDM) has limited impact on the decision-making process.
An example of a Business Requirement for a startup marketing company could be:
By the end of 2022, we will increase our market share by 25% through aggressive use of social media.
This structure specifies:
- WHAT the organization wants to achieve (increase market share by 25%)
- WHEN they want to achieve it (by the end of 2022)
- HOW they expect to achieve it (through aggressive use of social media)
Notice that both the goal (WHAT) and the timeframe (WHEN) are expressed in measurable terms.
A good guide for writing business requirements is the SMART acronym. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Business requirements are primarily used by management to decide if they are willing to invest resources to achieve the desired outcome.