Business Requirements Management Handbook Review

Posted by BiZZdesign on Dec 7, 2011

Enterprise Architecture

Before even starting with an introduction about the Business Requirements Management Handbook, here's a short introduction about Business Requirements Management:

The demands of principals, users and other stakeholders, in other words the requirements, form the base for every organizational change process. The quality of possible IT systems ,that are being developed during the processes, are determined by the level at which they meet these requirements. During system development processes many negative findings are the result of qualitatively insufficient requirements. This handbook presents a tailor-made method for BRM.

Wilco Engelsman, Dick Quartel, Henk Jonkers and Henry Franken wrote the 2010 Business Requirements Management handbook in which they stated a method, language and tools for BRM. This blog briefly describes the content of this handbook, but overall the utility, readability and applicability of the content.

The handbook Business Requirements Management starts with the logic question: What is Requirements management. This is answered by the following definition: a process of finding a solution for a particular problem. Though this initially sounds very abstract, the handbook underlines that problems do not originate from IT but the business, which is a very clear statement.

The handbook directly links Business Requirements Management (BRM) to Enterprise Architecture (EA). They come to the conclusion that EA focuses on what the enterprise should do (think of as-is and to-be situations). But the logic question why lays out of the EA scope. The why questions has been formulated in the book in terms of motivation, rationale, goals, principles and requirements. In the introduction is stated that it is important to analyze how well a problem is addressed by some EA. This is the point where BRM gets inextricably interwoven with Enterprise Architecture.

figure 1: relation between EA and Requirements Engineering

BRM denotes that the early phase of Requirements management process is concerned with the identification, description, analysis and validation of requirements at the business level and their realization in EA. This early phase is triggered by the need for some organizational change, such as the introduction of a new product or service. Subsequent phases of requirements management process are concerned with requirements of the realization of the EA.

The authors have split up EA in EA design and EA realization. Therefore the handbook correspondingly splits up the RM process into two phases, Requirements Management for architecture design and for architecture realization. Since the requirements in the first phase typically originate at business level, this has been called business requirements management.

The authors introduce a generic way of working with Requirements Management in order to identify, describe, analyze and validate the requirements. To elicit goals and requirements and translate these into design artifacts that realize them, the book describes different methods (such as problem chains and the requirements engineering cycle). Further on in the book they give a more detailed way of working with the requirement engineering cycle, they describe a modeling language and analysis techniques. Also the book mentions supporting software tools for RM, but more important they elaborate on when to use these tools. The BRM handbook ends with a very operative roadmap about how to implement BRM into your organization.

This book clearly elaborates on the existence of BRM and it provides a toolbox for implementing and professionalizing Requirements management. The methods and analysis techniques are written in a very practical perspective and supported with a running example of a fictitious company, Pro-Fit, which makes the content even more understandable. Small side-note that can be made to this BRM handbook (also made by the authors) is that though the authors acknowledge that BRM is a part of a greater whole (BRM and EA), they do not consider how principles are developed or used.

Overall this book explains in a very understandable way the indispensability of BRM and provides the reader with readable and practical opportunities to get started with the implementation of Business Requirements Management.

Would you like to order the book? Go to Van Haren Publishing and order it directly at their website. For more information please contact BiZZdesign by calling +31 33 76 00 280 or email to

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