Contrary to what may seem at first glance, needs and requirements are not the same, especially in IT projects. In business analysis, the saying that needs and requirements are two sides of the same coin has been accepted. So what is the difference between them?
1m 30s of reading
To illustrate the problem clearly, let us use a simple, very simple example. The place where we usually start working with the system is the log in page. So what is our need? Be able to log in! So what will the requirement look like? We must rather use the plural here. This need can be described by dozens of requirements, for example by answering such questions as:
- • Should logging in be done by entering login and password?
- • Should logging in be done via a fingerprints reader?
- • Should logging in be done via Facebook, Google+, etc.?
- • Does the system have to check if I have given an empty login and password?
- • Should the system display any information or messages?
- • Should the system ask if your login and password is to be remembered?
- • What happens if you provide an incorrect login and / or password?
So how to change your need into requirements? Redefine. Though that's not all. Even a detailed need will not neccessarily be a requirement from the point of view of an IT project. The requirements must comply with the number of additional criteria, out of which, the uniqueness and comprehensibility for all persons participating in the project are absolutely fundamental. The requirements must be clear and obvious both to the client and the developer and tester. They cannot be the subject of individual interpretation. Login via Facebook is login with Facebook. Writing "The system is to allow logging in via social media" is not enough.
Why is it so important? On the basis of the requirements, the developer prepares the code, and the tester checks if the effects of the work are correct. The customer receives a product that meets his needs in 100%, specified together with the analyst at the initial stage of the project.
At this point, we move on to another important area related to business analytics. Well, customer needs are often abstract. The customer always talks about the world known to him.
As an anecdote, the statement of Henry Ford is given, who, when asked about the success of the legendary Ford T model, said: "If we asked customers what they needed, they would say that a faster horse because they did not know what a car was actually."
This quote perfectly reflects the task of a business analyst at the stage of transition from needs to requirements. His role is to patiently inquire and understand what are the actual expectations of the client, going far beyond the simple perception of the world.
What is more, if the business analysts didn’t exist, the world would be poorer with many innovative, revolutionary ideas, solutions, methods and products. Therefore, if you decide to omit the business analysis stage and you exclude analysts from the project team, you can be sure that the system will not meet your actual expectations.
If you're preparing to start a project and you have just realized that you did not have a business analysis, let us know. We'll be happy to help you. We have been doing this for customers since 1999.