Category Archives: Business Transformation


Business requirements transform business. They provide the roadmap to fulfilling client and customer satisfaction. By doing so, they give you your competitive edge.

How do you make that happen though? To some, it seems mystical and magical. To others, it seems obvious, so get out of the way and let them get started. But what really happens is that you must work the business requirements, in order to get work out of them.

To start with, as mentioned in a previous blog post, a good statement of a business requirement is both actionable and testable. It is simply, but completely stated so that it may be implemented without misunderstanding. There is truth in saying that identifying a problem is half way to solving it. Half the work of implementing a change to your organization is in defining its business requirement clearly.



These business requirement requirements are controversial. There are several reasons, but they all boil down to time and money. The principal objection is that creating and publishing well-written requirements becomes too daunting a task when there are thousands of requirements to list. Careful decisions must be made up front with respect to requirements which reference other requirements, to requirements which are subordinate to or included within others, or to requirements which may even duplicate others.


Business requirements are not exactly specifications, but they are close. They “specify” an understanding of your business model in terms that can be communicated clearly to other members of your team. A better analogy may be a statement from statutory law. If you want to see an example of good requirements, read a few paragraphs of your state’s published family law code.


This is getting pretty technical, but bear with me while I try to get through the next part quickly. The next few concepts are essential, but they can also be controversial.

  • Here is the first business requirement requirement: Each business requirement must be written as a complete statement. Just as in any other written communication, incomplete sentences and fragments create ambiguity, confusion and misunderstanding. If your statement is unclear, others may misunderstand it during implementation. That, in turn, will create more deliberation or rework. That costs you.
  • Each requirement must contain the word “must” or another similar term such as “needed,” “required” or “specified.” This makes the intent clear to all readers that this is not just a guideline or recommendation.
  • Each requirement must be a simple and clear statement. If you have a compound sentence then it may disguise multiple requirements. Clarity is essential to dispel ambiguity.
  • Each requirement must be actionable and testable. You can ask yourself these questions: How do I approach the task of implementing this requirement? How do I know when the requirement has been met? If you can answer these questions with confidence, then you have in hand a well-written business requirement.
  • Finally. a requirement statement must present the actual need, the actual deed to be implemented, and not describe only the requirement in general terms.


A single well-written business requirement will save vast amounts of work and improve your bottom line immediately. A poorly-written requirement will not only fail to accomplish its purpose, it can also create cause immediate damage to your operation. That is because the business requirement is an essential written business communication. So, you can see that the title of this entry is neither redundant nor oxymoronic; “Requirements for Business Requirements” is a recursive idea that allows us to dig a little deeper in successive stages.


Now here’s the kicker, the icing on the cake. Once you have a clear notion of a business requirement, you can refine it, quantize it, and then optimize it to produce a better business model. When you do that, you are beginning to transform your business. That realization should lead you to the “why?” of Business Analysis: It is the discipline of defining business requirements for the purpose of transforming business processes in order to make the business more efficient, more competitive, or more profitable.

 In my next blog I will show you that there are requirements for defining business requirements. What a drag, right? The devil’s in the details, though. If you get it right, Grasshopper, then many rewards await, though variously defined.


There may be a common denominator among these views that could give you a unified perspective of the way your business operates. There may even be several common denominators. Understanding these might give you some sort of competitive advantage, don’t you think? What would you do with that knowledge?


Let me suggest that the central commonality among all your organization’s aspects of is an abstract notion called the “business requirement.” That doesn’t sound so abstract, though, does it? It is some fact, which you know, that is a need for you to do business. Whether you perform a business management analysis, a unit profitability analysis, a performance analysis, or some other sort of business analysis, what you focus on is defining the baseline requirements you must meet in order for you to harvest a profit. That is the bottom line.

More later…


What is business analysis? The answer seems obvious to you as a business professional, doesn’t it? You know that business analysis looks at your business and tells you characteristics that you want to know about it. But your understanding will differ from that of your colleagues in other parts of your organization. Analysis of your business from a Human Resources perspective will not be the same as from the Accounts Receivable viewpoint. In fact, separate business analyses might also focus on your organization’s management, investor relations, sales and marketing, information technology, engineering and research, operations, safety, security, profitability, governmental compliance, and so forth. Each stakeholder in your company will have a different, yet valid, view of the success of your business.

More to follow…

IT’s Alive!

It’s alive! It’s ALIVE! IT’S A-A-LIVE!! Bwahahahaha-ha!!! And now IT’s the target of righteous villagers everywhere bearing torches and pitchforks….

Information Technology (IT) services are boring but necessary. IT is a dry subject for industry outsiders, but competitively cut-throat among self-important cognoscenti.

What follows should be a light and sometimes humorous discussion of enterprise transformation practices (!) while delivering solid ideas for business leaders choosing new directions. So jump the creative spark with me to make better things for better reasons!