Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

Katie Sawyer

Katie Sawyer

February 27, 2019

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

Katie Sawyer,
February 27, 2019


Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

When you are trying to grow your company by using the services of third parties to improve business processes, a business requirements document can help you make the most out of your partnership, while minimizing your company’s risk to harm.

Your business requirements document should be as detailed as possible to ensure that all parties are aware of expectations, tasks, and responsibilities. A business requirements document needs input from many different stakeholders. Therefore it’s important that the person in charge of this document has strong leadership skills.

It’s also important that you’re equipped with everything you need to handle the stresses & roadblocks that comes with running a business. This means making sure you have software in place that’s able to turn spending hours each week on creating employee schedules into a fleshed out and efficient process. If you’re experiencing issues with your own employee scheduling procedures, click on the link below to start your free trial of Deputy. G2 Crowd’s highest-rated workforce management app.

TRY G2 CROWD'S #1 WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT APP


What is a business requirements document?

This type of document details your company’s needs for the completion of a special project or for a long-term contract, such as outsourcing business processes. A business requirements document defines the overall goals and expectations your company has. This document is also known by the following names:

  • Business Needs Specifications.
  • Business Requirements.
  • Requirements Specification.

The following are the objectives of a successful business requirements document:

  • Clear communication of your business needs and the type of outcomes that will satisfy your customers and your company.
  • Achieve agreement among all stakeholders.
  • Provide input into later phases of the project.

What are the reasons for completing a business requirements document?

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

Business owners often need to use the expertise of an external service provider. These services may involve accounting, information technology (IT) or marketing.

For instance, the economy relies heavily on technology. However, unless the company’s leadership or staff have the necessary expertise in relation to technology, they will need assistance with IT.

If a business wanted to take advantage of the benefits of artificial intelligence, large businesses have access to their own IT teams to implement the necessary business processes. However, it may be more beneficial for smaller companies to hire independent consultants generally known as managed service providers (MSPs).


How to write a business requirements document

It’s best practice to separate the process for creating your business requirements document into two phases.

The first phase

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

Your document creation team should set all the basic requirements for your project or contractual relationship in writing.

These requirements include:

  • Anticipated benefits
  • Costs
  • Implementation details
  • Implementation timeline
  • Milestones

The second phase

The document with all of your company’s requirements can be made into a contract between the hiring company and the external provider.

The basic sections of a business requirements document

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

Although business requirement documents can vary according to different companies, they should contain some essential sections to achieve your objectives.


The following should be included in your business requirements document:

1. Project objectives

Objectives include all of the steps involved in achieving the ultimate goal of the business proposal on which the business requirements document is based.

Project objectives should be:

  • Tangible
  • Concrete
  • Narrow
  • Precise
  • Measurable

Additionally, your proposal should outline two other objective types.

They are:

  • Process objectives – These describe specific tasks with defined beginnings and endings.
  • Impact objectives – This type of objective relates to the anticipated impact your proposal will have if you move forward with it.

2. Background justification for project or business relationship

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

You must explain why this project or outsourced relationship is necessary. This is known as a “needs statement” and is an essential ingredient for your business requirements document. You will only be able to measure the success of your project if you can show how its completion meets the needs of your business.

Your needs statement should include the following:

  • Statistics supporting your proposal – This can include using research and comparative statistics. Consider referencing another company’s similar venture and its beneficial outcome, to show how your company could benefit.
  • Use the most current data available – With the most up-to-date information, you can be confident that the business relationship you are considering will benefit your company under current business conditions.

3. Project scope

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

Clarify all of the elements to be included in the project. Specify the work and the responsibility that the hiring company should handle, as well as the responsibilities the contracted company will handle.

4. Financial projections

Your business requirements document must include the way your project or proposed business relationship will affect your company’s financial bottom line. The proposed funding mechanism for the project or business relationship is a key element in your document. The funding source should be very reliable, for example a bank loan.

Make sure you include a financial statement, which will provide an overview of your company’s financial health and ability to complete the specified proposal to the required standard. This statement will provide insight into your company’s financial strengths as well as any weaknesses.

The three essential parts of a financial statement include the following:

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

  • The balance sheet

This serves as a snapshot of your company’s finances at a specific point in time. These time frames may be the end of a quarter or tax year. Your balance sheet shows your company’s assets (how much your business owns) and liabilities (how much your company owes).

  • Income statement

This is, in essence, a profit and loss statement. This statement shows your company’s revenues and expenses at any point in time.

  • Cash flow statement

This statement identifies the amount of cash that has flowed into and out of your company during a defined time period.

The financial statement is an essential tool when making business decisions, so having an up-to-date and easily accessible statement is essential when preparing for a project or external business relationship.

5. Human resource needs

Your document should address whether your company would need to hire workers. It should detail the specific job categories you will need and how you will fund them. Human resource requirements must also be considered as a part of your financial projections.

6. Assumptions

It is important for your document to include assumptions about the completion of your proposal. This step has often been neglected in business requirement documents. However, including the assumptions on which you are basing your proposal can prevent future problems. For instance, define how much office space your proposal may require for carrying out the necessary business processes and whether you will need to lease extra space.

7. Benefits in relation to costs

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

This is a cost-benefit analysis. This section of your business requirements document should outline your anticipated costs and how your company will benefit from this expenditure within a specified time period.

The best cost-benefit analysis identifies, quantifies and adds all the favorable factors that may result from your proposal. The next step involves analysts gathering all the negative factors involved in your proposal.

When a company’s leadership reviews the results of this analysis, they will make a decision about whether to move forward with the proposed project. If a business requirements document has been commissioned, it is highly likely that the company has already conducted the cost-benefit analysis.

8. Timelines and deadlines

When you’re creating a document for a project, make sure you outline your anticipated time frames for completing its various phases and milestones. This way everyone involved will be aware of the tasks that need to be completed along with the due dates.

9. Functional requirements

This section is where you can add very specific aspects of your projects, which could include organizational charts, diagrams and flowcharts.

For instance, organizational charts can display not only the current structure of your company, but it can also specify the proposed organizational structure that will be in place as a part of the project or contractual relationship.

Another term for deadline flow charts is process mapping. This part of the business requirements document shows all the steps, decisions and project tasks that must be completed, including any necessary deadlines.

10. SWOT analysis

The acronym SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. All business requirements documents should include this analysis. It analyzes the hiring company and how the proposed project, or other contractual relationship, fits with the goals and objectives of that company.

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

Company strengths and weaknesses are categorized as internal factors while opportunities and threats are classified as external factors.

Examples of business strengths include:

  • The number of repeat customers.
  • Happy customers – Includes customers who are satisfied with the service they receive from your company and recommend it to others.
  • Walk-in business if your company is a brick and mortar retail business.

Possible business weaknesses:

  • Inadequate marketing (for instance, dependence on a website and word-of-mouth for public exposure).
  • Out of date website.
  • No marketing plan.
  • Very low marketing budget.

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

Opportunity examples:

  • Increasing the use of social media for promotion.
  • Possible increase in walk-in traffic.
  • Regular business-related events.

Threats:

  • Increased competition.
  • Competitors already have a strong public profile through advertising.
  • Media advertising costs.

Once you have worked out your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, it’s now time to evaluate some important questions about your business proposal.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do your strengths provide new opportunities?
  • Is there a way to turn your weaknesses into strengths?
  • How do you focus on your opportunities?
  • How do you handle threats?

This SWOT analysis provides your company with the information necessary to ensure that the project or business relationship you are considering can be successful.

Summary statement

Helpful Tips for Preparing a Business Requirements Document

This part of the document summarizes general project requirements. Usually, the document team will write the summary statement after it has completed the main body of the business requirements document.

When does a business requirements document become a contract?

While your document has included all the specifics of the project or contractual relationship you are proposing, you should now think about the final step, which is the contract with the external service provider.

Your business requirements document has described all the important elements of your proposed business relationship. You have also done your due diligence in terms of research into the company with which you expect to work.

It’s now time to outline the particulars of your business relationship. Up to this point, you may have analyzed the general costs of the proposed project, but you should now specify exactly what you will pay for the services you receive from your external contractor. This is known as the contract stage.

Before you and your chosen contractor sign off on the project, you must add standard contractual language to your business requirements document. It’s highly recommended that you use an attorney for this part of your proposal.

The contractual language should include the following:

  • Assurances of providing services and paying for these services.
  • Restrictive covenants – These will prevent the contractor from stealing or sharing your company’s trade secrets.
  • Consequences for contract breaches, if either party fails to fulfill the obligations they agreed to.
  • Verification of any necessary insurance coverage and hold harmless clauses.
  • Provisions for arbitration and litigation.

After all of these contract elements have been set out in writing and both parties have thoroughly reviewed and agreed to them, the final step is signing the contract.


About Deputy

Deputy provides a complete staff management toolkit that gives you the convenience to manage and schedule your team in minutes. We are trusted by more than 90,000 businesses including McDonalds, Amazon, and Nike to manage and schedule their hourly staff.

Click the button below for a free trial to see for yourself why Deputy is trusted by brands like Nike & Amazon.

TRY NIKE & AMAZON'S TRUSTED WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT APP

Important Notice
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on Deputy's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. Deputy is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article. Deputy disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.


SHARE THIS POST
comments powered by Disqus
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Sawyer
Katie is the Director of Content Marketing at Deputy. She's happiest when she can help people do more of what they love. She likes telling stories, meeting new people, and being a word nerd.
Join 90,000+ business leaders by subscribing now
TRENDING ARTICLES

Never miss a beat!

Join 90,000+ business leaders by subscribing now