How to prioritize Business Requirements
The requirement prioritization must be influenced by stakeholders needs, ensuring the maximum value is achieved.
Software requirement prioritization is one of the challenges faced by the Business Analyst. For being an ongoing process, with priorities changing as the context changes, it can be a source of problems if the stakeholders are not engaged in determining the requirement importance.
Recognize the factors that must influence the requirements prioritization
As the basis of prioritization, the Business Analyst needs to identify the typical factors that must influences it, such as:
- Benefit: requirements that offer the most benefits.
- Penalty: requirements that meet regulatory or policy demands imposed on the organization.
- Cost: take into consideration the effort and resources needed to implement.
- Risk: requirements that minimize the risks involved.
- Dependencies: requirements that cannot be satisfied unless the other requirement is fulfilled.
- Time Sensitivity: requirements that need to be delivered before a certain date.
- Stability: establish a lower priority for unstable requirements to avoid rework and wasted effort.
- Regulatory or Policy Compliance: requirements that must be implemented in order to meet regulatory or policy demands imposed on the organization.
Identify the challenges of prioritization
The prioritization of requirements is an arduous task, an assessment of relative value, that involves some challenges, such as:
- Conflict amongst stakeholders: Sometimes, the stakeholder may value requirements differently, what is most important for one stakeholder, can be not interesting for another.
- Difficult to define priority: For some stakeholders are difficult to define what is most important in a project, where sometimes, all requirements became a priority or less important requirements are put in place of another really important requirement.
- Stakeholders that try to influence the result: It´s possible that stakeholders may (intentionally or unintentionally) indicate a priority to influence the result to their desired outcome.
For all factors above, will be required abilities as negotiation and conflict resolution to mediate a correct prioritization.
Keep a continuing prioritization
Priorities tend to vary as the change evolves, old requirements are met, and new requirements emerge. Therefore, the Business Analyst must maintain a continuous service of prioritization with the stakeholders on different levels, such as:
- Initial stage: prioritization is done at a higher level of abstraction.
- After requirements refined: prioritization is done at a more granular level.
- Implementation stage: re-prioritization based on the sequence in which they must be implemented due to technical constraints.
Prioritization is an important step in Business Analysis. It must involve the stakeholders, requirements analysis and understand the effect of different factors that may interfere in the requirements order implementation importance, ensuring the maximum value is achieved.