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Business Requirements Document


Quick Summary
This detailed, annotated outline provides a solid foundation for expressing the true requirements of the project—as well as the business case and context—so the development team knows what to go code before they start.


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What this is

A detailed, annotated outline for a document created by a business analyst or other representative of the Business customers for a new project. The document's purpose is to express the requirements of the customers and stakeholders to be served by the deliverables of the project-the perceived customer wants and needs for a product, system, or service.

The primary audience for the document is the project team, and specifically the functional groups that must determine how to implement the application, system, service, etc. to meet the customers' requirements. The team is responsible for determining how to develop what the Business has requested.

This particular outline and document title is common for IT and business-process related projects. A similar document for new product development projects is the Marketing Requirements Document (MRD), so-called because typically a Marketing department is acting as the voice of external customers and defining the customer/business-level requirements for the project. (See our related template.)


Why it's useful

A good Business Requirements Document ensures that the project is driven by true customer needs and a sound return on investment for the company. The BRD outline includes introductory sections for setting the company's "environmental" context-why is this application, system, or service needed, what business and user groups is it targeting? And what is most important to each target group? A good BRD will also make relative priorities of features or functionality clear.


How to use it

  1. After a project idea has been raised (hopefully with a brief New Project Proposal), fed into the company's project pipeline review process, and approved for further attention, a draft BRD should be created. A Business Analyst or other business representative typically writes this document, with assistance from the technology group, particular business users, finance, etc.

  2. Review the draft BRD (or elements of it) with internal customers and stakeholders, to ensure that these business-level requirements are accurate and get input on priorities.

  3. Create an economic justification for the project, to go along with the feature/function definitions in the BRD. This business case information can be included in the BRD in the Business Case section, or a separate business case document can be created if desired, and key information summarized in the BRD.

  4. Update the BRD with all review comments to date, then provide the document to the newly-formed project team.

  5. The project team will use the BRD as input for the project definition or scoping process. The BRD represents the master list of all the things that could be created by this project, if we could give the customer everything we think they want.

  6. Constraints on time and people will often mean that not all the items in the BRD can be done on this project. The team will negotiate what requirements make the cut. The Project Vision and accompanying, more detailed specs, such as a User Requirements Specification or Functional Specification, will ultimately reflect final decisions on what items will definitely be done on the project.

  7. If the BRD is also updated to be consistent with the final scope decisions, maintain a record of the original customer requirements before any trade-offs were made.


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Related Templates
Marketing Requirements Document 
Document created by Marketing or Business group or other representatives of "customers" and "users" to express the perceived customer wants and needs for product, system, or service.

New Product Business Plan 
A template for a Product/Project Business Plan that describes a new project for inclusion in the corporation portfolio of projects.

Project Budgets and Cost Tracking 
Spreadsheet formats for documenting the projected costs of a project and for high-level cost tracking.





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