As the business analysis profession evolves we will get more consistency around our terminology. One of the phrases that is still used inconsistently is requirements management. Most experienced BAs use the phrase “requirements management” to mean the activity of “managing” the requirements. This includes tasks like deciding where requirements will be stored, how they will be documented, how they will be presented, how they will be maintained, who will update them, etc. This use of the phrase makes sense to me and I would like to endorse it. I also encourage organizations to maintain requirements after the project is complete and “manage” them over the life of the system/solution. Re-using requirements on future enhancement projects provides a huge productivity gain for business analysis work.

The problem that we have with this phrase is that CMM and other sources who have been around for many years were using the phrases “Requirements Management” to describe the activities around eliciting, analyzing and documenting requirements. Since CMM was well established and well known it will be difficult for us to change the meaning of this phrase. In more recent years CMMI-Dev has narrowed the definition of Requirements Management but many people do not seem to be aware of the newly updated definition.

Many of the vendors selling requirements tools are doing a better job of distinguishing between performing requirements definition and requirements management.

You can Google “Requirements Management” today and find many different definitions.

I am interested in your thoughts about the use of this phrase and/or others you think create confusion in our industry. How does your organization use the term Requirements Management? How difficult do you think it will be to change people’s perceptions and move to a consistent meaning?

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