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Requirements Analysis and Design Definition

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Business value streams and capabilities
17 November 2020
Knowledge area solution evaluation
Solution Evaluation
7 December 2020

The Requirements Analysis and Design Definition knowledge area focuses on processing business analysis information obtained from the Elicitation and Collaboration knowledge area. Business Analysts can perform these information processing tasks as a one-time activity or incrementally and iteratively depending on the selected business analysis approach.

What is this knowledge area about?

Let’s imagine that you finished the elicitation activities. You have data from your research activities; you have a lot of information from stakeholders. Now it is time to analyze elicitation results and find the best possible way to represent them in an understandable and eligible way for your audience. It means you have to make decisions, e.g., whether to write requirements statements or/and use models. Depending on your initiative’s character, you may decide to use matrices, tables, or diagrams. You have to decide on the level of detail in your requirements. When ready, you verify requirements to ensure that they meet quality standards set up by the business analysis community or your organization. Then you perform requirements validation to ensure the requirements align with the already defined business requirements.

When working on the requirements, you define their structure that supports all the representation forms you decided to use. It also captures the traces between requirements at different decomposition levels (business-stakeholder-solution). This structure is called a Requirements Architecture in BABOK. Development of the requirements architecture helps determine whether a set of requirements is complete and aligned between levels.

As you progress with requirements analysis, you also think about possible solutions to address them. These possible solutions are named design options in BABOK. Design options have to be documented and their advantages and disadvantages analyzed.

Finally, you estimate the documented design options on the value they bring. This analysis delivers a recommendation to the organization on how to proceed.

Structure of the knowledge area

Hopefully, you recognize some of these aspects from your daily practice, don’t you? We can now put all elements that we discussed above as inputs, tasks, and outputs that have to be performed in the Requirements Analysis and Design Definition knowledge area.

Requirements Analysis and Design Definition

Requirements [elicited]

Business Analysis Information Management Approach

Solution scope

Change strategy


Specify and model requirements

Verify requirements

Validate requirements

Define requirements architecture

Define design options

Define potential value and recommend a solution


Requirements and designs [specified, modeled, verified, validated]

Requirements architecture

Design options


Detailed task description

Let’s take a quick look at each task and its role in this knowledge area.

Specify and model requirements

This task focuses on the analysis and refinement of elicited requirements. It also addresses the topic of requirement representation – what is the best way to document the requirement: as a text, as a table as a diagram, or perhaps a combination of different formats? This is determined based on stakeholders’ knowledge, organizational standards, and sometimes by regulatory prescriptions.

Verify requirements

This task ensures that the created requirements and designs meet the quality standards. It also checks whether the requirements and designs are usable to those who will work with them. Verification activities often include checks against company standards, notation checks, and cross-check with other information.

Validate requirements

Requirements validation task ensures that requirements and designs align with the higher-level business requirements. The check is done whether the requirements allow the organization to achieve the future state as defined in the Strategy Analysis knowledge area.

Define requirements architecture

This task is all about organizing the requirements and designs so that they are relevant and informative for the target audience(s). The stakeholder groups have different information needs, and this information needs are called views in BABOK. When working on requirements, you try to foresee what views are required, then define how the requirements and their relationships will be represented. Then you create the requirements architecture to support it.

Define design options

When you perform this task, you define the solution approach. You decide whether to create or buy a solution or combine these two approaches. You identify improvement opportunities and define design options with their performance measures. To check how the design option addresses the problem, you map the requirement to the design option.

Define potential value and recommend a solution

You are expected to recommend one design option for further development. To do this, you perform activities that compare design options against each other to allow you to objectively select the option that delivers the most value to the organization in the given situation. You list costs and benefits for each option to determine the potential value it delivers. When making a recommendation, you also consider aspects like available resources, earlier identified constraints, and dependencies.

I hope this short explanation gives you a basic insight into the Requirements Analysis and Design Definition knowledge area and its tasks. The main focus is to create a coherent and consistent set of requirements and designs that address the change and allow delivery of the desired future state.

The next post will be about the last knowledge area: Solution Evaluation.

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 the BABOK®.


BABOK Guide V3

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