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What is a Business Requirements Document? Definition, Tips & Template

What is a Business Requirements Document? Definition, Tips & Template

This blog will provide you with an explanation of what a Business Requirements Document (BRD) is, along with templates and helpful tips for creating one.

Table of Contents

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What is a Business Requirements Document?

A Business Requirements Document (BRD) is a formal report that covers all the essential elements needed for a new project to be successful. It spells out the project’s goals, what to expect as it progresses, and the necessary resources to make it happen. This document helps everyone involved to understand exactly what the project requires, ensuring everyone stays on track and avoids any confusion.

Why BRD is Important?

A BRD is an important document because it helps in:

  • Clear Direction: The BRD provides a clear outline of what the project aims to achieve. It sets the destination and ensures everyone is on the same page.
  • Defines Scope: It outlines the boundaries of the project. This helps in managing expectations and avoiding scope creep.
  • Sets Expectations: It defines the expected benefits and outcomes, ensuring that all parties involved have a common understanding of what success looks like.
  • Guides Decision-Making: The document acts as a reference point for decision-making throughout the project. It provides a benchmark against which proposed changes can be evaluated.
  • Facilitates Communication: The BRD serves as a communication tool, enabling effective interaction between different stakeholders. It provides a common language for discussions.
  • Risk Management: By identifying potential risks and constraints upfront, the BRD allows for proactive planning and risk mitigation strategies.
  • Budget and Resource Planning: It helps in estimating both human and financial resources required for the project. This aids in budgeting and resource allocation.

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Who Creates a BRD?

A Business Requirements Document (BRD) is typically created by a business analyst or a project manager in collaboration with stakeholders, subject matter experts, and other relevant parties. 

The process of creating a BRD involves gathering and analyzing information from various sources, conducting interviews, workshops, and research to understand the business needs and goals. The document is then drafted, reviewed, and refined with input from stakeholders to ensure accuracy and completeness.

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Key Components of a Business Requirements Document

Following are the major components of BRD:

Executive Summary:

  • What it is: It gives a quick overview of the main points in the BRD.
  • Why it’s important: It helps the executives and decision-makers understand the project’s essence without diving into all the details.
  • Example: “The executive summary highlights that our new software project aims to streamline customer service operations, boost efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction.”

Project Objectives:

  • What they are: These are the specific, measurable goals you want to achieve with your project. 
  • Why they are important: They keep the team focused and help measure progress.
  • Example: “Our project objective is to increase website traffic by 20% and conversion rates by 10% within the next 12 months.”

Project Scope:

  • What it is: This defines the boundaries of your project. It tells you what’s included and what’s not.
  • Why it’s important: It prevents “scope creep,” where the project keeps expanding without control.
  • Example: “The scope of our website redesign project includes updating the homepage, product pages, and contact page, but excludes changes to the mobile app.”

Business Requirements:

  • What they are: These are the specific needs and features of a project.
  • Why they are important: They guide the development team in building what the business actually needs.
  • Example: “The business requires an online ordering system that supports multiple payment options, real-time order tracking, and customer reviews.”

Key Stakeholders:

  • What they are: These are the people or groups who have a significant interest in or influence on the project’s success.
  • Why they are important: Understanding their needs and concerns helps in effective project management.
  • Example: “Key stakeholders in our construction project include the project manager, investors, the local community, and government regulators.”

Project Constraints:

  • What they are: These are the limitations or boundaries that can affect how the project is executed, such as budget, time, or resources.
  • Why they are important: Knowing constraints helps in realistic planning and managing expectations.
  • Example: “Our project faces a budget constraint of $500,000 and a tight deadline of six months.”

Cost-Benefit Analysis:

  • What it is: This is a systematic way of evaluating whether the benefits of a project outweigh its costs.
  • Why it’s important: It helps in making informed decisions about whether to proceed with a project or not.
  • Example: “Our cost-benefit analysis indicates that investing in energy-efficient equipment will result in $100,000 in annual savings, making it a worthwhile project.”

Business Requirements Document Template

Want to know how a BRD looks like? Here is an example of a BRD to guide you:

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Steps to Create an Effective BRD

Here are the steps that will help you to write a BRD that is effective and efficient:

  • Begin with a concise summary of the document.
  • Clearly state the main goals and outcomes of the project.
  • Explain the reasons and context behind starting the project.
  • Define the project’s boundaries, specifying what is included and excluded.
  • List the specific features and functions the project must deliver.
  • Identify the individuals or groups with significant interest or involvement in the project.
  • Highlight any limitations or restrictions that may affect project execution.
  • Provide a timeline indicating start and end dates, along with key milestones.
  • Summarize the financial evaluation of the project, including costs, benefits, and expected returns on investment.

Difference Between a BRD and FRD

A BRD (Business Requirements Document) explains all the things a project needs to do, like a complete story. On the other hand, an FRD (Functional Requirements Document) focuses on the step-by-step actions one specific part of the project should take. 

Here is a table showing the major differences between BRD and FRD:

AspectBRD (Business Requirements Document)FRD (Functional Requirements Document)
PurposeBusiness goals and high-level scope.Specific system functionalities and features.
FocusBusiness perspective and objectives.Technical details and functional specifics.
StakeholdersBusiness stakeholders and development team.Development team, QA, and technical experts.
Changes Over TimeLess likely to change.More prone to changes as development progresses.

Best Practices for Writing a BRD

Here are the best practices or you can say tips for writing a Business Requirements Document (BRD):

Tip 1: Pre-Plan

Before you start writing your Business Requirements Document (BRD), take some time to plan ahead. This means thinking about what you want to include, who will be involved, and setting a clear timeline for completing the document.

Tip 2: Use Clear Terms

When writing your BRD, it’s important to use language that everyone can easily understand. Avoid using jargon terms that might confuse people who are not familiar with them. 

Tip 3: Refer to Past Projects

If your company has worked on similar projects in the past, it’s a good idea to refer to them in your BRD. This can provide valuable insights and lessons learned that can be applied to the current project.

Tip 4: Include Visuals

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Consider including diagrams, charts, or other visuals to help illustrate your points. This can make it easier for stakeholders to grasp complex concepts.

Tip 5: Use Clear Action Verbs

When describing actions or tasks in your BRD, use strong and specific action verbs. This helps convey a sense of purpose and clarity about what needs to be done.

Tip 6: Edit and Validate It

After you’ve written your BRD, take the time to review and edit it. Look for any areas that may be unclear or need further clarification. Once you’re satisfied, validate it by getting feedback from relevant stakeholders to ensure that it accurately captures their requirements and expectations.

Conclusion

To conclude, Business Requirement Documents (BRDs) are like a project blueprint. They lay out what needs to be done, why, and how. This helps everyone involved understand the plan and reduces confusion. 

BRDs also encourage teamwork and clear communication. They are like a guiding map that keeps the project on track and helps in making smart decisions. Taking the time to create a clear and detailed BRD is a smart move because it ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals, leading to a more successful project in the end.

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Aparna is a Senior Copy Editor, who combines a passion for precision with creative flair. With a background in law and market research, she has extensive experience in crafting compelling content, she excels in refining narratives to captivate audiences across diverse platforms.