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How to create a business requirements document (BRD)
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How to create a business requirements document (BRD)

A headshot of Helen Jackson
Helen Jackson
26th December, 2023
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A headshot of Helen Jackson
Helen Jackson
26th December, 2023
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What is a business requirements document?
Why you need a business requirements document
How to create an effective business requirements document
Components of a business requirements document

For project success and intelligent decision-making, don’t start anything without a business requirements document.

Are you planning a new project? Don't start without learning how to create a business requirements document (BRD). If you want to skip ahead and just make one now, read our guide about Confluence macros to give you a head start in formatting your space.

For the new starters, a BRD is so important that if you get the perfect template, you can align stakeholders and streamline decision-making with such ease that you'll never look back. This article explores what's in a business requirements document and how to make a best-in-class document for your business.

What is a business requirements document?

A Business Requirements Document (BRD) is a detailed document that provides all the requirements and specifications for a business project or process. Using a BRD, multiple teams and individuals can understand the roadmap and requirements of any project without prior knowledge.

The ultimate purpose of a BRD is to deliver complete clarity around a project, no matter what your level of understanding is. Without a good BRD, teams can work against each other, misunderstand project goals, or duplicate work.

Why you need a business requirements document

Typically, the role of a BRD is to improve project management, but you don't need to be a Project Manager to use one. Any business activity can involve multiple stakeholders; every project needs firm management to stay on track.
A BRD lays out the goals and aims of a project from the start, as well as the people who will be involved in it. It's a document designed to adapt and change as you get more information, and it should be something you refer to often.
Regardless of a project team member's seniority, technical skills or level of involvement, a BRD should be written clearly and logically to ensure anyone can see what the project requires.
Ensuring clarity and alignment within a team is its core benefit, but a BRD can also positively impact decision-making and project success by removing ambiguity.
Essentially, you need a BRD if you struggle to ensure a project launches with a clear scope or if projects launch too soon without meeting all their goals.

How to create an effective business requirements document

To craft a successful BRD, begin with a blank document or sheet of paper.

  1. Write down the project as you understand it, following the outline below in the Components of a BRD.
  2. Schedule individual time with the most apparent key stakeholders, ask for their input individually, or meet as a team.
  3. Identify discrepancies and gaps between the interviews or identify missing stakeholders.
  4. Arrange a follow-up meeting to cover new ground and highlight differing opinions to strengthen BRD.
  5. To ensure your BRD is written in clear and concise language, give a copy to a team member uninvolved in the project to get their take.
  6. Ensure the document is stored safely, editable, and referred to on an ongoing basis. Undertake regular reviews and revisions as the project evolves or new information emerges.

Components of a business requirements document

Don't scrimp on the time you allocate to complete a well-structured BRD. Here are the items you'll want to detail.

Project Overview:
Start with a high-level project summary, providing a snapshot of the objectives and scope to show the project's purpose and ownership.
  • Example: "Our goal is to create a mobile app for e-commerce that can sell our shoes anywhere in the world. Our top features will be…"

Stakeholder Analysis: Identify the key individuals or groups with an interest in the project and their needs, expectations, and influence on the project's success.
  • Example: "Stakeholders include the Head of Marketing, IT Director, Head of UX and the CFO. The IT Director will influence technology selection, data security, and system integration decisions...”

Objectives: Add top-level goals and intended outcomes to ensure everyone understands what success looks like.
  • Example: "The objective of the app is to increase online sales revenue by 20% within the following year.

Functional Requirements: Specify the features and capabilities of the project.
  • Example: "The app must allow customers to make secure online payments." or “The new store will be staffed with 3 members at all times.”

Additional Quality Requirements: Quality requirements go beyond functionality and encompass performance, security, and scalability.
  • Example:"The app must be secure and capable of supporting over 500 users without a significant drop in performance." or “The store should be capable of accommodating up to 100 customers at any given time.”

Assumptions and Constraints: What could affect the project's execution? Budget, time or team issues could hold you back.
  • Example:"We have a fixed project budget that cannot be exceeded, which may represent a constraint."

Use Cases: Use cases are scenarios that describe the project's effects.
  • Example: An image of a customer app journey through to completing a successful purchase would be an example of a use case for tech, as would a journey detailing a store security system or ‘customer flow’.

Acceptance Criteria: This will be well used, so spend time planning your acceptance criteria! It clearly defines the conditions that must be met to accept project delivery.
  • Example:This approach avoids one team 'pushing' the project live when it's not considered complete. "The app must load product pages within 2 seconds." , “The store must safely hold 100 customers.”

Business requirements documents are indispensable in project management, but in any business, they can provide clarity during decision-making, offering a chance for alignment and a roadmap for project success. Create your own BRD template today!

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Written by
A headshot of Helen Jackson
Helen Jackson
Content Writer
Helen is a freelance content writer specialising in Software as a Service (SaaS). She has a BA Hons degree in English, a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification, and over ten years of experience in content marketing.

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