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Defining and Managing Business Requirements

Understanding and articulating business requirements is the weakest link in projects. Using realistic cases, practice discovering, understanding and documenting clear and complete business requirements that can speed development, reduce maintenance and delight customers.

This course can be applied to the following certificates:
Business Analysis Certificate
Project Management Certificate


Robin  Goldsmith, JD

Robin Goldsmith, JD

Robin F. Goldsmith is the owner of a consulting firm, working with business and systems professionals in requirements analysis, quality and testing, software acquisition, project management and leadership, metrics, and process improvement. Previously he was a developer, systems programmer/DBA/QA, and ... read more

Who Should Attend

  • Project managers
  • Business and systems analysts
  • Business managers and product owners
  • Engineering and systems managers and professionals
  • Quality/testing professionals and auditors

Benefits and Learning Outcomes

  • Discover the REAL business requirements that provide value when met
  • Identify the differences between business and product requirements
  • Use the powerful Problem PyramidTM to identify and solve the right problem
  • Avoid the main source of scope creep that causes most project overruns
  • Gather data, spot the important things, and interpret it meaningfully
  • Distinguish appropriate formats for analyzing and documenting business requirements
  • Apply techniques and tools to manage requirements changes and trace ability
  • Define the important requirements so everyone understands them in the same way
  • Gain immediate results to take back to your daily applications
  • Network with others to collaborate on real world challenges/solutions

Course Outline/Topics

Requirements Role and Importance
• How requirements produce value
• Two places for requirements in project success
• Project manager versus business analysis roles
• Survey on improving requirements quality
• Sources and economics of system errors
• Business versus product/system/software requirements
• How mistaken models create creep
• Software packages and outsourcing

Discovering “REAL” Requirements
• Do users really not know what they want?
• How the “REAL” requirements may differ
• Understanding the business needs
• Horizontal processes and vertical silos
• Customer-focused business processes
• Powerful Problem Pyramid™ tool
• Aligning strategy, management, operations
• Technology requirements versus design
• Who should do it: business or systems?
• Joint Application Development (JAD) limits
• System design vs. preferred practices

Data Gathering and Analysis
• Interviewing
• Surveys and questionnaires
• Research and existing documentation
• Observing/participating in operations
• Prototyping and proofs of concept
• Focus groups
• Requirements workshops (JAD)
• Organizing and understanding

Formats to Aid Understanding
• Business rules, structured English
• E-R, data flow, organization diagrams
• Responsibility matrices
• Data model
• Performance, volume, frequency statistics
• Sample inputs, reports, screens, menus

Formats for Documenting and Communicating
• IEEE standard for software requirements
• Use cases, strengths and warnings
• 7 guidelines for documenting requirements
• Requirements vs. implementation scope
• Iterating to avoid analysis paralysis
• Conceptual system design solutions
• Detailing for clarity, clarifying quality

Getting More Clear and Complete
• Some of the 21+ ways to review requirements
• Identifying all the stakeholders
• Addressing relevant quality factor levels
• Independent expert validation

Managing the Requirements
• Incorporating traceability
• Supporting and controlling changes, tools
• Measuring the “proof of the pudding”


"The instructor brings real life experience in addition to theory. That’s one of the reasons I come for training at this facility. The examples were great!"  —  Amy Cooley, West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.

"Very well laid out program. Problem Pyramid was an insightful tool. I enjoyed the interview segment on gathering data."  —  Peggy Dille

Companies need Business Analysts now more than ever. Our certificate program prepares you for this growing career.

Dates and locations to be announced.