How To Create Business Requirements

by Feb 3, 2020

In the last post of this blog series on being success­ful with digital analyt­ics, I explained why busi­ness require­ments are so impor­tant to your digital analyt­ics imple­men­ta­tion. In this post, I am going to walk you through the process of creat­ing busi­ness require­ments.

If you did your home­work from the last two posts, you should have a list of veri­fied busi­ness objec­tives and some support­ing busi­ness ques­tions that your team has iden­ti­fied. You can now begin to create your busi­ness require­ments spread­sheet. When you add require­ments, try to write them in easy to under­stand language that makes sense to non-tech­ni­cal folks since you will be review­ing them with people outside of the analyt­ics team. Begin by adding all of the busi­ness require­ments that your team brain­stormed, the asso­ci­ated busi­ness objec­tives, the busi­ness bene­fits and consider adding a require­ment number just to be safe. Next, you should add a cate­gory for each require­ment (i.e. Onsite Search, Shop­ping Cart, etc.) that will help you later when it comes to sorting. Then you should add an owner for each require­ment who is the person at the orga­ni­za­tion who would care the most about it or be in the best posi­tion to answer ques­tions related to the require­ment. When you have done all this, it might look like this:

Once you have this, you are on your way! The next step is to popu­late the require­ments spread­sheet with all of the busi­ness require­ments that exist in your current analyt­ics imple­men­ta­tion. To do this, we are going to play a game that I call analyt­ics imple­men­ta­tion Jeop­ardy! Using your Solu­tion Design Refer­ence (SDR), I want you to look at all of the data points that currently exist and write down any and all busi­ness ques­tions that you think can be answered. For example, if you have metrics for Form Starts and Form Comple­tions and a Form Name dimen­sion, you might add the follow­ing:

  • How often do visi­tors start forms and complete forms?
  • What is the form comple­tion rate trend over time?
  • Which forms are started and completed the most/least?
  • Which forms have the best/worst form comple­tion rate?

Add as many require­ments as you can to the spread­sheet, being sure to fill in the require­ment busi­ness benefit, busi­ness objec­tive, cate­gory and owner as you go. In addi­tion, while doing this for the require­ments coming from your imple­men­ta­tion, I suggest that you docu­ment in the spread­sheet which data points each require­ment came from like this:

Docu­ment­ing the data points will be helpful down the road when it comes to updat­ing your solu­tion design.

Once you have a list of require­ments that includes your brain­stormed items and the items from your current imple­men­ta­tion, you should have a pretty decent list. I like to target no more than one-hundred busi­ness require­ments. If you have too many, consider group­ing similar items together, espe­cially ones that lever­age the same data points, objec­tive and owner.

The next step is to sort your busi­ness require­ments by cate­gory. This may require you making some adjust­ments to your cate­gories, but the goal is to align these cate­gories with differ­ent groups at the orga­ni­za­tion with whom you will meet to discuss the require­ments. For example, if you have a team that focuses on market­ing and paid media to drive visi­tors to the website, you would want to have a Marketing/Campaigns cate­gory and review those require­ments with the Market­ing team.

You should meet with all of your key stake­holder teams in a two-hour session and review with them the require­ments that you have specific to their area. This will allow you to get their thoughts on the require­ments you have gener­ated, find out if more are needed and iden­tify require­ments that are not needed. I have found that if you approach a team and ask them how your analyt­ics team can help them, they tend to not have much to say. But if, instead, you approach them with a good list of poten­tial require­ments, it is much easier for them to react and tell you if you are on the right track. Some­times hearing some ideas gets their minds working and can bring out even better require­ments since they likely know their area of the busi­ness better than you. Having this type of meeting also helps you get buy-in since the group is being given a chance to voice what they want. That can go a long way in many orga­ni­za­tions.

Action Items

For your home­work assign­ment, I want you to build your busi­ness require­ments list using the steps provided above:

  • Finish brain­storm­ing busi­ness require­ments within your analyt­ics team
  • Create a busi­ness require­ments spread­sheet like the one shown above and add your brain­storm require­ments
  • Reverse-engi­neer your current imple­men­ta­tion and add those require­ments to the spread­sheet
  • Fill in the busi­ness objec­tive, benefit, owner, cate­gory, etc. for each require­ment
  • Sched­ule meet­ings with your key stake­holder groups to review the require­ments list with them (I know that may take a while, but get the process started)
  • For bonus points, add a prior­ity column to your require­ments spread­sheet and work with your stake­hold­ers or your team to assign a prior­ity for each busi­ness require­ment (i.e. 1 — Crit­i­cal, 2 — Impor­tant, 3 — Even­tu­ally Needed, 4 — Low Prior­ity, 5 — Future)

Next post, I will show you how to score your busi­ness require­ments list so you can see where you stand today in taking action against these require­ments.

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