Why creating the Requirements Breakdown Structure is beneficial to your project planning

Introduction to Requirements Breakdown Structure

What is the central part of a project?

The goals.

A list of project requirements.

Characteristics of an acceptable solution.

Expectations of stakeholders and end-users.

Anything that answers the ‘what’ question of a project.

All the above statements talk about the same topic – Requirements Breakdown Structure (RBS).

A hierarchical description of the project requirements is called Requirements Breakdown Structure (RBS). It is usually represented in the shape of a tree. The branches are the several requirements of the project. It is a decomposition of requirements presented in an easily understandable manner.

The key team members of the project mention these requirements. They derive these requirements from the needs of the end-users. The expectations of the product or software development team contribute to its listing.

The project has value for the end-user only if it complies with these requirements. You can consider them as technical needs, functional characteristics, or business benefits. So, requirements breakdown structure is essential for a project’s smooth run.

Work Breakdown Structure

People may confuse Requirements Breakdown Structure with Work Breakdown Structure. But, these are two different components of project management. A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchical description of the process of achieving project objectives.

Comparison of Requirements Breakdown Structure (RBS) with Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The key differences between RBS and WBS are as follows:

1

RBS describes the ‘what’ of a project whereas WBS describes the ‘how’ of a project.

2

RBS breaks down the project into different requirements or expectations from the outcome. WBS breaks down the project into small sections of work scope or tasks.

3

RBS precedes WBS since we need to define the requirements first. With the creation of RBS, it is easier to translate requirements into small tasks.

4

The key components of RBS are requirements at the first level. Functions and/or features comprise the next levels. In WBS, the different levels consist of tasks and sub-tasks. At each level, budget and time allocation are done for better clarity.

Importance of the Requirements Breakdown Structure

How can you work on a project, if you do not have complete clarity on what to do? Requirements Breakdown Structure gives you the clarity you are looking for. It represents the key requirements of the project that you strive to achieve.

The project team gets a detailed view of what is expected from them. This gives them a uni-directional focus to work towards achieving each of the requirements mentioned in RBS. Along with direction, it forms as the base for generating value.

Giving a clear, objective approach to your project management.
With a flawless Requirements Breakdown Structure.
Technovisors – your IT partner.

Kinds of Requirements in Requirements Breakdown Structure

Different kinds of requirements that comprise the Requirements Breakdown Structure include:

Business requirements

These are the high-level needs, also called the objectives of the project. These are quite general in nature. Project managers must define them at the beginning of the project.

For example, a toy store might have a business need of improving its brand awareness.

Stakeholder requirements

These are nothing, but a comprehensive interpretation of business requirements. These requirements describe the needs of all possible stakeholders of the project.

For example, the marketing team may need improvement in its social media presence to increase its brand awareness. So, improvement in social media presence is a stakeholder requirement.

Solution requirements

Solution requirements include functional and non-functional requirements. Functional requirements mean abilities that contribute to the functioning of the solution. It defines the operational capability or usability of a solution.

The solution can operate without the non-functional requirements, but they are crucial still. These requirements define the features or behaviors of the solution. They contribute to making the user experience better or worse.

Transition requirements

You may not define these requirements at the start of the project. These are the requirements, which take the user from the current state to the new state. The new state is the outcome of the project, for which the above-mentioned requirements are defined.

These are temporary requirements used only at the time of changeover. For example, implementation support or training requirements are transition requirements. Once the users start using the solution, there remains no use for them.

The Process of Creating a Requirements Breakdown Structure

Creating a requirements breakdown structure is a challenging process. But, it is necessary for a successful project planning. The project manager can select one or a combination of several methods to create the RBS.

You must be aware of the project requirements in detail. You must have a clear understanding of what the project wants to achieve. The key steps of creating a requirements breakdown structure are:

Identify the primary goal

You can start by writing the primary goal of the project at the top.

Identify the business requirements

Now, write the requirements essential to achieve that primary goal. These requirements are the business needs you must realize at the end of the project.

Identify the stakeholder requirements

The next step is writing the stakeholder requirements. You must be aware of all the stakeholders of the project to complete this step.

Identify the solution requirements

Now, comes the part of solution requirements. Here, you must mention all the functional requirements that make the solution operational. You must also write the non-functional requirements that contribute to the quality and experience of the solution.

Identify the transition requirements

The last step is to identify any transition requirements for the project. You may need them to shift from the current state to the desired state.

Conclusion

You have a clear understanding of what RBS is and steps to create RBS. You also understand the significance of RBS for your project planning. The blog also explains you about the key components of Requirements Breakdown Structure.

You can have the viewpoints of your project team to write the RBS comprehensively. There are also many tools available in the market to decompose the requirements. Alternatively, you can also engage an IT consultant for this.

Technovisors is a premium provider of IT consulting services in Ahmedabad. We manage all aspects of IT projects for our clients. Be it initiating, buying, implementing, or running an IT solution, we are there for you.

We become the connection between technology and your processes. We ensure that we find the best IT solutions for your needs and ensure their full implementation. Our expert IT consultants manage every aspect of your technological transformation.

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FAQs

Yes. Stakeholders are better aware of their expectations from the solution. So, their views are essential to forming the detailed requirements breakdown structure. You can have meetings with all stakeholders for a discussion on requirements.
No, WBS is not a part of RBS. Work breakdown structure is the next step of project management planning after requirements breakdown structure. The last level of RBS is the first level of WBS.
Different ways of collecting requirements are:

• Brainstorming
• Interviews with stakeholders
• Requirements workshop
• User stories
• Group sessions and meetings with stakeholders
• Iterations to create the RBS tree

Pathik Shah

(CISA, FCA, CS, DISA (ICAI), FAFP (ICAI))

Pathik is a multi-disciplinary professional with more than 22 years of experience in compliance, risk management, accounting, system audits, IT consultancy, and digital marketing. He has extensive knowledge of Anti-Money Laundering rules and regulations, and he helps companies comply with legal requirements. Pathik also helps companies generate value from their IT investments.