Detailing Business Data Requirements

Download PDFMissing a critical piece of data or incorrectly defining a data element contributes to the majority of maintenance problems and results in systems that do not reflect or support the business needs. Business users often fail to articulate their business data needs because they are so inherent in their work that it is difficult to uniquely identify data requirements. A business analyst, skilled in data elicitation and definition, can save the business significant time and cost for any project.

Even if your organization has a data administrator or data warehouse team who is responsible for documenting and managing the organization’s information needs, every project uses a subset of that enterprise information in its own unique way. Business analysts must understand the importance of data in all of their projects and include data requirements in their business requirements documentation. Failing to document which data elements need to be used in a calculation, or displayed on a report, leaves the developer the responsibility of choosing the correct pieces of business data from hundreds if not thousands of available fields. These missing requirements often lead to expensive and lengthy project delays during the testing phase.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify core requirements beginning with project initiation
  • Identify relationships between data elements and their impact on the business
  • Identify excellent requirements at the appropriate level of detail
  • Detail the data requirements (using a data dictionary and data model)
  • Detail complex data related business rules
  • Use data to verify and communicate a more complete understanding of the business domain
  • Assist with the transition of business data to database design
  • Utilize easy normalization techniques (without all the mathematical theory)
  • Validate data requirements with activity (process or use case) requirements

Class Experience

This course teaches students an in-depth approach to data modeling: identifying and defining all necessary data components using both textual templates and an entity relationship diagram. This course teaches techniques for eliciting, analyzing, and documenting data requirements to both new and experienced practitioners. Additionally, this data requirements training will tie together other analysis techniques by highlighting the impact of data on the other core requirement components. Eliciting information needs often uncovers additional processes and business rules. Every business process uses data and almost all business rules are enforced by or govern data.

Students will be given data templates with a suggested documentation structure for defining business data requirements. It supports and expands on the techniques in the IIBA BABOK® Guide. Mentor-led workshops require students to practice the techniques as they learn. Students are encouraged to bring their own projects to class.

Course Outline

Introduction1 hour

  • What is business data and how do data requirements support your project solution?
  • What is the difference between business data and database design?
  • Review the 7 characteristics of "excellent" requirements

Entities and Attributes5 hours

  • Review the project initiation and scope analysis to identify initial business data needs
  • Understand the basic building blocks of the business data: entities, attributes, and relationships
  • Learn to define entities and attributes with business goals in mind. Utilize suggested naming guidelines for consistency and readability
  • Identify critical attributes for each entity highlighting their data types, valid values and other attribute characteristics
  • Discuss entity unique identifiers
  • Differentiate unique business facts within a given attribute
  • Workshop using case study to identify and detail entities and attributes

Entity Relationships and Diagramming Conventions4 hours

  • Learn how business requirements are displayed in an entity relationship diagram
  • Detect the business rules of data by identifying key relationships between entities
  • Define relationships and business rules in more detail using naming conventions
    • Learn relationship cardinalities and understand their impact on your solution functionality
  • Review common diagram notations for data related business rules
  • Workshop to identify and detail entity relationships:
    • Create a logical entity relationship diagram that accurately reflects the business domain

Detailing the Data Requirements5 hours

  • Detail repeating data elements
    • Break down attributes into their components using proper naming conventions and clearly document the requirements with example data values
  • Identify and define advanced entity types to drive effective analysis
  • Detail complex data business rules and identify additional attributes to describe the business relationships (many to many relationships)
  • Detail and differentiate between sub-type entities
  • Review techniques for documenting data conversion, interface requirements and performing gap analysis
  • Workshop to refine and update the entity relationship diagram to reflect newly discovered requirements

Transition from Business Data to a Physical Design2 hours

  • Learn how to link the data and process elements to identify missing or incomplete requirements
    • Each essential process must use data, and each data element must be used by at least one essential process
  • Learn how business data transitions into database design
  • Review the requirements for completeness, understand how logical components are translated to physical components, and develop a strategy for maintaining the business requirements
  • Scope the design area using subject areas
  • Understand de-normalization and the effect on database design

Workshop - Identify and document data requirements for the case study (Student’s projects may be used for this workshop)4 hours

  • Identify and document entities
  • Identify and document attributes
  • Identify and document data related business rules

Appendix - Data NormalizationOptional

  • What is data normalization and why is it important?
  • What are the rules of normalization?

14 reviews for Detailing Business Data Requirements

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  1. Jennifer S.

    Ali was amazing!! I walked in knowing nothing and walked away with skills that will help understand as a PM what questions to ask and information to gather to help ensure things are built right!

  2. Diana B.

    This training was excellent. I believe the material and presentation was extremely effective and will provide BAs the ability to gather data requirements immediately. I appreciate the level of information provided in this class. It was just the right level to be of value to a business analyst, not too high or too low in the weeds. It will allow me to communicate better with both the business as well as the technical team.

  3. Marc T.

    I thought this was the best of the trainings we have had so far. Very concrete information conveyed.

  4. Lauren F.

    The course itself was excellent and well-presented. I feel that I have a much better understanding of how data is used and organized, which can only improve my job performance.

  5. Jacob K.

    I thought this class was excellent and really allowed all studnets to grow in their understanding of data requirements. The amount of application exercises really enhanced the learning and the collaborative nature of the course allowed everyone to understand different shades of data requirements. kathy was a truly fantastic instructor and really showed she knew the material and how to teach it in a meaningful way. Overall, I got a lot of value out of this experience. Thank you!

  6. Karen S.

    Ali’s approach to teaching Data Modeling was incredible. She was able to break it down into understandable pieces and pull it all back together again. This provided a complete and usable understanding of the material. Between the exercises and Ali’s ability to answer questions pertaining to our own projects, I obtained the knowledge necessary to begin using the techniques in my current projects. Can’t say enough about Ali’s teaching style.

  7. Marissa S.

    The instructor did a great job of relating the training to my job. For each exercise we used our current projects as examples. This made it really easy to relate the topics to our projects!

  8. Stacy D.

    Great class, we were encouraged to use a current project in the activities which made this work relevant. I feel as though I learned new tools and techniques that I could use for most projects and will help the entire team understand the goals. Definitely one of my favorite classes!

  9. Dave A.

    I’m a data architect who was already versed in data modeling. My purpose for sitting in on the class was to understand what was being taught to the BAs and TSAs and facilitate/collaborate the data models we already have developed but are not fully introduced to the organization. I think this has been a great start to a stronger collaboration across our 3 organizations.

  10. Summer H.

    This is my first experience with B2T. I was very impressed with the entire company. The instructor was very knowledgeable and did an excellent job of explaining the information. Awesome learning experience!

  11. Debby D.

    The training was laid out very logically, building upon it each day in a very understandable fashion. Despite not having a programming background or technical experience in this topic, I left the class with a very comprehensive understanding of the topic. I highly recommend this class.

  12. Malissa B.

    I know I will be able to apply a great deal of the material from this class that I learned to my daily work.

  13. Jen H.

    Really engaging exercises. I normally hate to have the “participation” activities but these greatly added to the class and were fun.

  14. Kellie J.

    This is one of the few trainings I’ve seen us take where we’ve actually started to make use of what we learned almost immediately.

Data Requirements Training
Request Onsite
Length 3 days
Intended Audience

This course is designed for business analysts, systems analysts, data administrators, database administrators, or any other project team member involved with business analysis. This course may also be appropriate for individuals who manage or mentor business analysts.

Prerequisites We recommend that students first attend our Essential Skills for Business Analysis class or have experience in project scope definition, gathering requirements from subject matter experts, and understand how business requirements fit into the entire systems development effort.
Study Guide Detailing Business Data Requirements Study Guide
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