Requirements Life Cycle Management

Elicitation and Collaboration
Elicitation and Collaboration
4 October 2020
Strategy Analysis
Strategy Analysis
11 November 2020

The knowledge area Requirements Life Cycle Management ensures that requirements and designs, created by Business Analysts during their work, are managed and maintained. The requirements and designs are also traced, prioritised, and approved. If changes are requested, these changes will be first evaluated and only when approved requirements and designs are updated in line with agreements. In the Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring knowledge area, the maintenance work is agreed and planned, in the Requirements Life Cycle Management knowledge area, Business Analysts execute the planned requirements life cycle management activities.

In previous posts, we introduced the IIBA®, the BABOK® Guide, and the knowledge areas: Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring and Elicitation and Collaboration.

What is Requirements Life cycle Management about?

If I look at my responsibilities as a Business Analyst, quite often I have to maintain the requirements created during the elicitation phase. I assume it is expected of you, too. What does this requirements maintenance mean precisely? If I consider my activities again, it means that I ensure that the requirements are up-to-date, accurate, and consistent with each other. I create traces between requirements and designs. I also link requirements to interview/workshop notes, and other business analysis information that is relevant, and help understand the requirement. I take care of requirements prioritisation, either by working with the Product Owner or other stakeholders with decision-making power. I prepare requirements for approval, organise reviews, and, promote requirements to Approved status in line with review results. Finally, when a change is submitted, I register the change, do impact analysis, and ensure that the relevant stakeholders decide on the resolution.

I hope this sounds familiar to you. It is perhaps not the most interesting part of business analysis work, but it is certainly a very important one. Having access to accurate, well organised, and linked information is crucial to any project’s success. The Requirements Life Cycle Management knowledge area is all about that – having correct and consistent business analysis information.

Structure of the knowledge area

Hopefully, you recognise some of these aspects from your daily practice, don’t you? So now we can put these elements that we discussed above together as inputs, tasks, and outputs that belong to the Requirements Life Cycle Management knowledge area.

Requirements Life Cycle Management
Main Inputs (from other Knowledge Areas) Requirements

Designs

Proposed Changes

Task Trace Requirements

Maintain Requirements

Prioritize Requirements

Assess Requirements Changes

Approve Requirements

Main Output Requirements [traced, maintained, prioritized, approved]

Designs [traced, maintained, prioritized, approved]

Requirement Change Assessment

Design Change Assessment

 

Detailed tasks descriptions

The BABOK® Guide V3 decomposes the requirements life cycle management activities into a series of tasks. Let’s take a quick look at each task separately and discuss its role in the management of requirements/designs.

Trace Requirements

The focus of this task is to create relationships between requirements and designs on different levels. This task ensures that requirements and designs are in sync with each other. You decide what traces are relevant for your initiative and what value they bring. Setting up traceability and maintaining is expensive work that has to be justified. In highly regulated environments (e.g. healthcare) a regulator may enforce traceability.

Maintain Requirements

The requirements and designs must stay accurate and consistent throughout their life cycle. This means that as a Business Analyst you maintain the requirements, designs, and their attributes so that they reflect the current initiative’s status. You also check whether requirements can be reused (to speed up the requirements development process), or perhaps make an effort to create a set of reusable requirements for other initiatives.

Prioritize Requirements

This task focuses on ranking the requirements in order of relative importance. It requires that you know the relevant stakeholders who should participate in the prioritisation process. Priority is relative importance, so as a Business Analyst you need to know what factors form a priority: think of benefit, cost, risk, dependency. The key stakeholders have to understand and agree with these factors, too. Additionally, you will be responsible for managing conflicts among stakeholders and for working towards a resolution and alignment between parties.

Assess Requirements Changes

This task is about the evaluation of the implications of a proposed change. You assess the change against the overall project objectives. You clarify among others how does this change affect the business value? what is the impact on time? what is the impact on the budget?. Depending on the business analysis approach, you can decide to be more or less formal about change management. Nonetheless, these questions require answers and this task makes sure that the impact of the change is known and well-understood by stakeholders.

Approve Requirements

When you execute this task, you obtain agreements and approvals on requirements and designs. To be able to perform this task you have to know the roles of stakeholders and their authority level. You will gain consensus on approvals and manage any conflicts that may arise due to differences between stakeholders. Finally, you will also communicate the approvals to the remaining stakeholders, who did not participate in the approval process.

Summary

I hope this short explanation gives you a basic insight into the Requirements Life Cycle Management knowledge area and its tasks. The main focus of it is to ensure that requirements and designs, created by Business Analysts during their work, are managed and maintained throughout their life cycle.

The next post will be about the Strategy Analysis knowledge area.

Further study

If you wish to get more in-depth information about these knowledge areas, competencies, or techniques please consider buying the BABOK® Guide, or become a member of the International Institute of Business Analysis®. As an IIBA member, you receive your own (electronic) copy of the BABOK® Guide for further study.

BA Coach also provides online workshops about BABOK®.

References

BABOK Guide V3
Picture from Pete Linforth via Pixabay