The definition of requirements in terms of solving problems and satisfying objectives, originally specified by the IEEE, is now widely used.
It is referenced by both the IIBA and the BCS international Diploma in Business Analysis. It is the definition that we often refer to at Capiro.
In this article for the IREB Requirements Engineering newsletter, the authors examine this definition and some of its implications.
The IEEE definition of a requirement is probably not perfect – What is? But it does highlight that solutions cannot be defined in a vacuum – they need context. That context is the problem that needs to be solved or the objective that needs to be realised; problems stand in the way of the achievement of objectives.
The article emphasises the importance of looking at the big picture. Problems and objectives (goals) tend to be related to other problems and objectives. Proposed solutions will each demonstrate varying degrees of support for the achievement of corporate (strategic) objectives. Stakeholders will have differing opinions as to what constitutes a problem, a goal or a solution. Any one solution will have implications in terms of risks, costs, benefits, stakeholder support, implementation challenges and operational characteristics.
The authors invite comments on their article.
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