For those of you who have been writing requirements for years, this is a trivial question, but for newer BAs or people who work with BAs it may not be obvious.

Requirements are related to other requirements. By their very nature they often do not stand alone. For example, a business process uses data and is usually constrained by at least one business rule. These relationships between different requirements components are challenging to document and keep track of, even more so if you do not have a requirements management tool to help. This linking of relationships between requirements is called “tracing” or “traceability.” A high-quality requirements package includes clear links from one requirement to the next so that they may be traced. The only way to effectively create and maintain these relationships is by giving every requirement a unique name or number.

Some BAs use matrices to show links between requirements. A popular matrix is referred to as CRUD. It includes processes along one axis and data along the other. In the cells we use the letters C (Create), R (Read), U (update), and/or D (Delete) to indicate what the process does with the data. This is a great way to find missing processes or missing data elements. For example, if process P1.2 doesn’t contain any letters in its column, we may be missing a data element. And if a data element Course.number doesn’t contain a “C” in any of its cells, we may be missing the process that creates it.

Just like we uniquely identify all of the things in our lives that are important (people, places, pets), requirements deserve their own name also!

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