Business Requirements Document (BRD) – Understanding the basics

By 5th September 2018 July 30th, 2020 Requirements

Business requirements document comes handy when you are looking for a technology service provider, consultant or a contractor to help you with a project. In this article, the key concepts related to BRD and its importance for the success of a project is discussed.

What is a Business Requirements Document (BRD)?

BRD definition: “A Business Requirement Document (BRD) focuses on the business perspective as it holds the details of the business solution for a project.”

Business requirements document also emphasizes on the needs and expectations of the customer. In simpler terms, BRD indicates what the business wants to achieve.  The BRD indicates all the project deliverable and the inputs and outputs associated with each process function.

The process function is responsible for Critical to Quality (CTQs) parameters that relate to needs and wants of the customer. CTQs are responsible for a positive Voice of Customers (VOC). VOC describes the customer’s feedback about their experiences with your products or services. BRD focuses on the business objectives and distinguishes between the business solution and technical solution.

Objectives of a business requirement document:

  • To get an agreement among stakeholders
  • Communicate to the technology server provider, the business needs, the customer needs, and what the solution needs to do to satisfy business and customer needs
  • To determine the input to the next phase of the project
  • Describe in details of the needs of the customer and business that the solution intends to meet

Business requirements document BRD

Difference between BRD & FRD

The Business Requirement Document (BRD) describes the high-level business needs whereas the Functional Requirement Document (FRD) outlines the functions required to fulfill the business need.  BRD answers the question what the business wants to do whereas the FRD gives an answer to how should it be done. FRD is derived from a BRD.

Business Requirements Document- Key elements

A business analyst or a project manager who has a thorough understanding of the business processes drafts business requirement document. The business requirement document is drafted for a project to ensure the implementation of all the requirements to achieve business objectives.

The most critical component of a business requirement document is the scope of the project along with the restrictions and constraints. The scope comprises of three key things:

  • What are the problems which the business wants to solve?
  • What are the restrictions?
  • Is it worth to invest the time and money required for the project?

What are the preparations required to create a business requirements document?

There are a few things that you need to do before creating a business requirements document:

  • You should define the need of the company/ organization
  • You have to get all the stakeholders involved.
  • You must identify the phases of the project.
  • You should establish benchmarks/ standards for all project requirements.
  • You need a process in place to monitor the schedule & measure milestones.
  • You will also need to use a suitable template.

Who is responsible to create a Business Requirements Document (BRD)?

To create a business requirements document, you should include the project’s team, the business partners, and anyone else who may be needed for the project. Businesses grow or change in phases and cycles, and as they change, the requirements may also change. For the changes in the phases of the business, you must create a business requirements document. The size or stage of the development is of little relevance, but what is important is that different requirements are needed for the business to survive or progress to new phases.

Who should be involved in business requirements document creation?

A number of teams and partners should create the BRD:

  • Core team of the project
  • Any or all business partner(s)
  • Process owner(s) or representatives
  • Subject matter experts
  • Change/project/product management, quality department and/or IT management as needed or available

Business Requirement Document Template – An ideal BRD template

The ideal business requirement document template or sample BRD template should have the following components:

  1. A summary statement
  2. Project objectives
  3. Needs statement
  4. Project scope
  5. Financial statements
  6. Functional requirements
  7. Personal needs
  8. Schedule, timeline & deadlines
  9. Assumptions
  10. Cost & Benefit

 1- A summary statement

The executive summary is the outline of the requirements of the project. The best time to formulate a summary statement is once the BRD is written completely.

2- Project objectives

The project objectives should be written in a SMART format which implicates they must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

3- Needs statement

The needs statement outlines why the project is needed for the business and how the project will be able to meet the needs.

4- Project scope

The project scope outlines what to be included and what should not be included.

5- Financial statements

The financial statements indicate the impact of the project on the company’s balance sheet and revenue over the specific period of time. This also holds the information on the funding of the project and how it would be done.

6- Functional requirements

This section outlines in a detailed manner the functional requirements and corresponding features including diagrams, charts, and timelines.

7- Personal needs

This section covers the human resources aspect of the project. Who needs to be hired and when the hiring needs to be done. It also covers the cost of the resources.

8- Schedule, timeline & deadlines

Each phase of the project is covered in detail in this section.  This helps to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of what is required and when it will be required.

9- Assumptions

The assumptions outline anticipated events that would occur during the course of the project.

10- Cost & Benefit

This section holds a detailed list of all the costs involved in the project along with the cost-benefit analysis.  The savings from the project are also listed here.

Tips for writing a business requirements document

Are planning to write a successful business requirements document? Here are some tips that you can follow for writing an effective business requirements document:

  • Be action-oriented:  Don’t use complex jargon rather use simple easy to understand language that encourages action.
  • Engage stakeholders: Encourage all the other project stakeholders to get involved in activities such as brainstorming, surveys, focus groups, interviews, and ideas for prototyping.
  • Do feasibility research: Research some of the past projects to determine the feasibility of your BRD. Evaluate your project to understand whether the solution desired can be developed within the constraints of time & cost.
  • Include visuals: Include visuals and graphical representations, such as charts and diagrams, when necessary, as they can be powerful in making your point.
  • Validate the contents: After writing the business requirements document, have it reviewed thoroughly before distribution. Obtain validation of the information and the contents–including the assumptions–and ensure that all errors or omissions are corrected.

Best Practices for Business Requirements Documents:

Here are the best practices for BRD:

  1. Validate the scope: You must review and refine the scope as needed based on a process detail table, identify the changes to find out what is in or out of scope now that the requirements have been developed. Complete this process prior to obtaining the business partner(s) sign-off and lock down the scope of the project. Any changes to the project after approvals from business partners should be handled through a change control process.
  1. Create impact document: Create a design-elements diagram for each level two or three process function for impact assessment for:
  • Process
  • People
  • Technology
  • Product
  • Materials and supplies
  • Facilities
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Others as necessary (depending on the organization)
  1. Definitions and acronyms: Define any terms not clearly understood by all.

Summary

Business Requirement Document will help you throughout the project lifecycle to keep the deliverable in line with the business and customer needs.

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