How To Write a Business Requirements Document (+Template)
Many businesses and organizations see their investments and resources wasted as a result of poor project performance. The key to achieving a successful project is the business requirements document (BRD).
When done properly, the business requirement document helps keep everyone on track and directs the project throughout all the phases of the project management life cycle.
To avoid scope creep and ensure that your project team delivers according to expectations and on time, follow these tips for writing an effective business requirements document.
Let’s get started.
What is a Business Requirements Document?
A business requirements document (BRD) is essentially a key document that clearly defines all the processes surrounding the project. The BRD defines the key stakeholders and resources required to deliver the project’s intended goals and objectives.
Changes that arise due to the project process are also contained in a business requirements document. The business requirements document also acts as a solution guide by detailing the customer’s needs and expectations while also proffering efficient strategies and mechanisms to deliver a successful outcome.
In simpler terms, a business requirements document is an efficient guide for the project team and all stakeholders involved in making key decisions regarding project processes that have a direct effect on the outcome of the project.
BRD serves as an informal agreement between customers and project stakeholders in ensuring the needs and expectations of the customers are met. A business requirements document can also be an efficient measure of the progress of the project as you can adequately track the project completion.
What Information Do You Put in a Business Requirements Document?
When drawing up an efficient business requirements document, some key elements need to be included in ensuring the document serves the purpose for which it was created.
These elements are essential in providing the necessary positive outlook for your business requirements document.
1. Executive Summary
The executive summary is written at the end of your business requirement document and aims at providing an extensive outlook of all the requirements of your document.
All the contents of your project requirement are also adequately summarized in this part of your business requirements document.
2. Project Objectives
Project objectives are essentially the rationale for carrying out the project. They detail what the project aims to achieve. Project objectives create a connection between the project process and the business as a whole.
3. Needs Statement
This section of your business requirements document entails the purpose of the project. Selling to your project stakeholders and customers why the project is noteworthy is what the needs statement aims to do.
4. Project Scope
The project scope is detailed at the beginning of your business requirements document and helps guide your project successfully through to its completion stage. When done correctly, project scope serves as an efficient tool in preventing scope creep.
5. Business Requirements
Business requirements provide a detailed summary of your project’s requirements. These requirements are usually the resources needed to drive the project successfully to its completion stage.
6. Key Stakeholders Identification
Key project stakeholders need to be identified in your business requirement document as well as detailing the roles each stakeholder is to play towards the success of the project. This provides the much-needed outlook of the project’s expectations as regards stakeholders’ input.
Carry out a stakeholder analysis to identify and understand the needs and expectations of key project stakeholders involved in the project.
7. Project Deadline
The project schedule, timeline, and milestone are key to the project process but they all have specific timeframes for their completion. Your business requirements document should not only include these key dependencies but their deadlines should be included alongside to allow room for accountability.
8. Cost-Benefit Analysis
This part of your business requirements document makes adequate provision for the capturing of all the costs expended during the project process. Cost-benefit analysis ensures effective tracking of the expenditure expended for the future where accounts would be reconciled.
3. Quality Control Measures
Certain measures are pivotal in ensuring the project is on course for successful completion at the expected deadline date. You can find them under the quality control measures section of your business requirements document.
The quality control measures section is crucial in navigating through potential project bottlenecks and should not be left out of your business requirements document.
How to Write a Business Requirements Document
Creating a business requirements document requires rigorous planning and processes in ensuring it meets the required standard.
1. Get All Project Stakeholders Involved
The first step in writing a successful business requirement document is to list out all the stakeholders to be involved during the project and their roles and responsibilities to the successful completion of the project.
Getting all project stakeholders involved is crucial in ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding the expected outcome of the project process. Involving all project stakeholders ensures all the necessary aspects regarding the business requirements document are adequately covered as stakeholders are assigned to perform various tasks.
Some of the key project stakeholders include business owners, analysts, marketers, developers, and financial analysts. They are key to the project process as they directly make inputs into the creation of the business requirements document.
All project stakeholders should be carried along with the project process to ensure you maximize the required skills and contributions towards what is necessary for your business requirements document.
The benefit of putting all available hands on deck is that you get a variety of innovative ideas and contributions in preparing your business requirements document.
2. Eliciting the Requirements
After successfully bringing all the necessary key stakeholders together in creating your business requirements documents, highlight all the key elements and requirements that should be contained in this document.
Each stakeholder usually comes with specific requirements about the project. The job of the project manager is to collate all these inputs and find a perfect working document that is acceptable to all.
In eliciting the requirements of stakeholders regarding the outlook of the business requirements document, project managers need to utilize effective methods in controlling the inputs of all concerned stakeholders.
Some methods used by project managers to elicit the requirements for the business requirements document include:
- Brainstorming of ideas among stakeholders
- Thorough review and analysis of past and relevant project documents
- Creation of focus groups in scaling the projected input of stakeholders
- Use of interface analysis software
- Conducting interviews with stakeholders on their inputs for requirements
- Use of adequate and efficient prototypes in testing potential requirements
- Conducting a workshop themed at enlightening stakeholders on requirements
- Use of surveys and questionnaires in getting the much-needed response from stakeholders regarding the business requirements document inputs
3. Establishing Standards for Requirements
Your project process is rather complex as it utilizes various strategies, methods, and stakeholders in accomplishing the project’s goals and objectives.
In keeping up with the complexities that arise as a result of the project process method, you need to create a smart and efficient requirement for your business requirements document. This ensures the quality and standard of the project process are not compromised.
4. Use Visual Elements
Applying the necessary visual tools and elements gives a unique read about your business requirements document and should be well-utilized.
The use of visuals can effectively increase the digestibility of your business requirements document as there is relative ease in conveying the project requirements to project stakeholders.
Tips for Writing a Business Requirements Document
1. Practice Effective Requirements Elicitation
Your business requirements document would fall short of its required effectiveness if the requirements for the project are not properly identified and highlighted.
To achieve the expected effectiveness for your business requirements document, you need to properly utilize the necessary elicitation method suitable to your project type and stakeholders’ involvement. Doing this helps bring about a sense of togetherness and cohesion among project stakeholders.
Elicitation methods such as brainstorming, document analysis, interface analysis, use of focus groups, prototyping, organizing requirements workshops, conducting interviews and surveys need to be properly incorporated in your business requirements document creation process.
You should utilize a combination of a couple of the elicitation methods to get a more comprehensive look at your project’s needed requirements. In applying your selected elicitation method, you need to ensure that the process of gathering requirements is continuous throughout the project process and not just restricted to the initial project phase.
Oftentimes, new requirements arise during the project process. Your business requirements document should be flexible enough to implement such changes.
2. Use Clear and Easy to Understand Language
The outputs of your business requirements document are usually voluminous and well-detailed to ensure the totality of the project requirements is adequately accounted for in the business requirements document.
You need to ensure your business requirements document is written in the clearest of terms to avoid confusion and misinterpretation as a result of a lack of proper understanding.
Your business requirements document during the project process would pass across a vast majority of project stakeholders involved. Ensure that the BRD can easily be interpreted and understood by the vast majority of project stakeholders. Keeping your business requirements document clear ultimately guarantees a level of understanding from the project team.
3. Research on Past Projects
Before embarking on new business projects, you must research similar projects conducted in the past and review their processes. Researching on past projects helps in providing a basic oversight knowledge of the expectancies and the likely bottlenecks to be encountered during the project process.
Documents relating to similar past business projects should be extensively reviewed and scrutinized as they serve as an efficient guide in identifying required requirements.
4. Validate the Documentation
You must seek validation and approval of your drawn-up business requirements document from key executives and your project team. Validating your project documentation ensures all project stakeholders are carried along and gives room for much-needed scrutiny before implementation.
Feedback emanating from this business requirements document validation process often helps point out corrections and changes that need to be implemented.
5. Include Visuals
Your business requirements document should not be restricted to texts alone. Consider spicing it up with the utilization of various visual elements to give it much more fun to read.
Efficient business requirements document visual tool is the business process diagram that helps to break down complex documentation into a series of simpler and easy-to-understand requirements.
Business Requirements Document Example and Template
Based on the key information that comprises your business requirements document, here is an efficient example and template guide on what a well-constructed business requirements document looks like. This example is for a business company X which aims to improve engagement on its eCommerce platform.
- Company X is faced with the challenge of constantly losing potential shoppers on its e-commerce platform.
- The challenge was highlighted to be caused majorly by impending user engagement on its platform.
- The time spent on the e-commerce platform after an effective survey was conducted was pegged at 1 minute. This factor accounted for the visible loss of potential shoppers by company X.
- Company X has highlighted a project of redesigning the business landing page of its eCommerce platform in a bid to shorten the user engagement time.
Company X aims to achieve the following aims and objectives through its newly redesigned eCommerce platform.
- Increase its user engagement to 20,000 visitors by Q4 Of 2022.
- Increase average user engagement time to 5 minutes.
A redesigned and effective eCommerce platform is required to increase user engagement and visitation on our platform. Implementing this would increase the revenue stream of the company.
This project will actively cover the following:
- The redesign of the user engagement interface on the e-commerce landing page.
- Redesign of the eCommerce product page.
This project will not cover:
- The eCommerce platform background theme.
Here are some of the key requirements for the redesigning of the e-commerce platform.
- Effective goal management for tracking the progress of the project.
- Active performance evaluation and reviews for mid and end-of-year performances.
- Regular reporting of the progress made on the redesigned eCommerce platform.
Key Stakeholders Identification
Some of the key project stakeholders and their roles and responsibility to the project process include:
- Project Manager: Tasked with the responsibility of holding all project stakeholders accountable to the project timeline.
- Web Designer: Responsible for effectively redesigning the eCommerce platform.
- Customer Service Relation: Tasked with the responsibility of tracking the impact of the newly redesigned eCommerce platform on its user engagement outlook.
- Company X Executives: Responsible for approving selected requirements and strategies recommended by the project team.
The expected completion dates for the redesignation project are:
- Phase 1: Strategy and Planning – 2-3 weeks.
- Phase 2: Design – 8-10 weeks.
The estimated cost for the project is pegged at $20,000 while the expected gross profit benefits from the project are pegged at $50,000. This shows a positive cost-benefit.