A business requirements document, or a BRD, is a document that outlines the specific needs of a business. More specifically, it describes what a business needs to successfully implement a new project or application. Project goals, risks, specific requirements, and relevant stakeholders all fall under the category of matters Business Requirements Documentation discusses. Companies can use this document to ensure that their website or software meets the needs and expectations of their customers.
In this article, we will discuss what goes into good business requirements documentation, as well as tips for creating one.
The first step in creating business requirements documentation is to gather information from stakeholders. This includes individuals within the company who will use the website or software, as well as customers or clients. In order to best satisfy the needs of customers, a business needs to know what those customers are looking for. Specifically, the information that should be gathered includes what parts of the website or software customers are having difficulty with, how the use of it could be improved or made easier, what customers think is needed, etc. Moreover, it’s important to include as much detail as possible to avoid any misunderstandings later on.
Once you have gathered all the information, it’s time to draft the document. The most important thing to remember is that the BRD should be easy to read and understand. To sum it up, use clear terminology and never use technical jargon unless absolutely necessary. Even then, you should make sure to only use jargon if you are sure your audience would understand it.
Summary of Business Requirements Documentation
Ideally, the business requirements documentation should include an overview of what the business in general does and why it needs a website or software solution.
It’s also helpful to provide some background information about how your company developed. This will help readers to better understand your practices and where you’re coming from when discussing requirements. Make sure this section both has enough detail and is clear enough for someone who knows nothing about web development or software engineering to understand. In essence, strike a balance between providing necessary details and clarification of complicated ideas.
After outlining these basic details, it’s time to get into more specific needs, such as functionality, expectations, and features.
Specific Needs in Business Requirements Documentation
The requirements for a project that are listed in a BRD include an understanding of what the project is meant to achieve, what features it should have, the infrastructure requirements to develop the project, the budget costs involved, and the time needed to complete the work. Like with the overview and background information mentioned above, make the descriptions of specific requirements both sufficiently detailed and clear enough to understand.
What are the Benefits of Business Requirements Documentation?
There are numerous benefits to using business requirements documentation. These include:
- Decrease chances of strategy failure because of misaligned or misrepresented requirements.
- Help businesses connect to a wider range of business goals and monitor the overall status of your project.
- Establish collaboration between team members and stakeholders.
- Cut down on costs related to training and infrastructure.
- Provide a greater understanding of what is needed to ensure a project’s success.
- List and make precautions for possible risks associated with the project.
Furthermore, they establish timelines and budget expectations. By doing this, business requirements documentation helps developers to get a better idea of what they have to work with and how long they should expect each stage of the work to take. It’s also helpful to list out any dependencies that may exist — for example, if you need an existing database integrated into the new website.
All stakeholders contribute to the document’s creation. This includes individuals within the company who will use the software or website. In this way, each stakeholder can make sure their interests regarding the project are taken into account. This, in turn, makes it more likely that the project will ultimately benefit everyone.
What Are The Objectives Of Business Requirements Documentation?
- Help a company’s website or software meet the needs and expectations of their customers
- Ensure the involvement of all stakeholders in the document’s creation, including individuals within the company who will use the software or website.
- Ensure everyone gets an overview of the business plan and the project’s final product.
- Make sure no information is confusing before executing the project.
- Ensures managers have a guide they can depend on in order to meet work and budget expectations.
- Keeps the team and stakeholders informed about the objectives.
When creating business requirements documentation, you should also keep in mind the differences between this sort of document and other types of business documents. This will give you an idea of what should specifically go into a BRD, and what information should instead be used in other documentation.
Business Requirements Documentation vs Other Business Documents
While at times similar, business requirements documentation is quite different from other types of business documents. So what are those differences?
Business Case Document
A Business Case Document is a type of documentation “that explains how the benefits of a project overweigh its costs and why it should be executed”. Such a document should include an executive summary and an overview of the project objectives to provide readers with the context for what’s being proposed. It should also contain evidence that shows the benefits of the project and specifically how they outweigh the potential drawbacks. The purpose of these types of documents is not only to outline the reasoning behind the project proposal but also to identify opportunities for improvement so that stakeholders have all the necessary information before implementing decisions.
Where a business requirements document explains what the project requires to succeed and what it would accomplish, a business case document seeks to justify the project and show why the requirements would be worth the investment.
Software Requirements Specification Document
A software requirements specification document, or SRS, is a more technical document that focuses on a system’s specific requirements. In addition, these software documents explain how the project actually works and how it will achieve the intended goal. A software engineer uses this documentation to create a design for a project plan.
In essence, the business requirement document gives an overview of why a business needs a website or software solution and what information the business requires to implement it, while a requirement specification document focuses on the specific requirements of a system and how that system will provide a solution.
System Design Document
A System Design Document, or SDD, is another kind of technical document. A development team uses a system design document when outlining a built system. This document includes information such as data flow diagrams, process flows, screen mockups, and user stories. Unlike a Business Requirements Document, a System Design Document focuses on the technical aspects of a system’s development, and on how someone would use it.
Business Requirements Documentation (BRD) Template
A business requirements document (BRD) gathers and documents all requirements for the final project to be deliverable. The document should be easy to understand and written in clear language.
The document breaks down into sections, each of which contains different information about what needs to be done to achieve an end goal (e.g., a website redesign or software implementation). These sections include:
- The overview of the business itself
- The intended goal of the project
- The requirements for implementing the project
- Key stakeholders and their connection to the project
- The timeline for the project’s completion
- The project’s scope
- The cost and the expected benefit
The sections listed above comprise the main information found in business requirements documentation. Consider using this list as a template when making a BRD.
Once you have gathered all this information, it’s time to draft the document and ensure that everything has been covered before sending it off to other team members.
How Can I Implement Best Practices?
To develop best practices for a BRD, you should involve all stakeholders in the document’s creation. As previously mentioned, this includes individuals within the company who will use the software or website, as well as customers or clients (if it applies). Also, everyone should clearly understand what you are talking about before moving forward with any further steps.
In addition, be specific about each condition and issue, so there are no misinterpretations after the implementation — this includes things like functionality expectations from both parties involved and also what types of content need to go where (e.g., blog posts).
5 best practices of BRD
- The business requirements document should be easy to read and understand, with clear language.
- Past projects can be a great source for reference.
- A BRD should include an overview and information about what the business does.
- Include visuals, such as diagrams, infographics, and flow charts.
- Background information about how your company came to be – again so that readers can better understand your starting point when talking about requirements.
Business requirements documentation’s goal is to guide and prioritize the project plan so that it stays aligned with the business’s goals. It is also vital for the team and stakeholders to be on the same page when tracking the project. Documentation, when used correctly, is an incredibly powerful tool.
How EDC Can Help
Whether you need a single technical writer for a brief project or a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation, the quality of our work is guaranteed for you. Our clients work closely with an Engagement Manager from one of our 30 local offices for the entire length of your project at no additional cost. Contact us at (800) 221-0093 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.