What is a business requirements document template?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 15 September 2022

Published 29 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When a business invests in a new project, it's necessary to make sure they have a well-defined plan in place. Many companies develop business requirements documents to assess their project needs and provide their team with guidelines. If you're a business analyst of a project manager, then you may benefit from learning how to develop a business requirements document. In this article, we discuss project documentation, explain how to write a business requirements document and provide a business requirements document template.

What is a business requirements document template?

A business requirements document template is a useful file that you can use to create a comprehensive requirements document for a project you're developing. A business requirements document (BRD) is a document that describes every aspect of a project, including the problems it aims to solve. It also outlines the key steps to take to achieve that and provides vital information on the costs and revenue that the project can potentially generate for the company. After you create a BRD and present it to the stakeholders, they can decide if it's worth to invest their resources into the project.

What's important to note is that although it's possible to use a specific document template for creating a BRD, you can consider changing certain elements of it depending on the industry, company and the project scope. For example, when you're developing a project for a small company that uses the agile approach to documentation, it may be a better option to create a short document. Typically, large corporations often prefer longer documents because it's important for them to provide as much information as possible to everyone, as it simplifies communication between departments.

Related: 8 interview questions and example answers for business analysts

Why is a business requirements document important?

A BRD is a document of great importance for any company that approaches a new project. Learning about these key benefits that it creates for a company can help you better understand its main purpose:

Promotes collaboration

Thanks to creating and following a business requirements document, you can ensure everyone's focus is on achieving the same goal. An effective BRD serves as a guideline for all team members responsible for creating key project deliverables and the document helps them understand who's responsible for which phase of the work. Thanks to having this information available, they can concentrate on performing their tasks and know how to ask for help if they struggle with something.

Builds trust

An important purpose of the BRD is to inform the company's key stakeholders about the new project. The document shows them what steps you want to take to achieve the results they want to see. Through sharing regular updates on achieving important milestones, you can demonstrate your ability to successfully manage projects and gain their support for any future initiatives you want to work on.

Improves project success

There are many components of project success and an effective BRD is one of them. A business requirements document outlines all the important aspects of a project and steps to take to achieve the desired results. Having a detailed and neatly organised document that acts as a guideline allows you to keep the project on track.

How to write a business requirements document

Learning how to write a BRD is helpful when you're an aspiring project manager or business analyst, as it can significantly improve your qualifications. Here are some important steps to take when creating the document:

1. Start with summarising the project

The first thing you may want to do when creating a BRD is to summarise a new project. To do that, it's essential that you outline the requirements and needs for the project. Consider clearly explaining how the initiative aligns with the overall business goals of the company. During this step, you're likely to create content for the following opening components of a BRD:

  • executive summary

  • project description

  • needs statement

2. Decide what to include in your project

Once you have a general overview of the project, it's time to focus more on the details. This usually involves creating the project scope. The project scope serves as a tool to outline all activities, resources, timelines and deliverables in a project. This is an important element of a BRD that informs stakeholders on the more specific outcomes you want to achieve through completing the project.

3. Set goals

After concentrating on expressing the general idea behind the project, it's critical to focus on setting clear goals for the project. Effective goals are always realistic and measurable. To determine goals, it's usually vital that you define what success means for the project you're developing and assign specific performance metrics to different activities. Setting goals can be challenging for junior project managers, but it's an essential part of creating a business requirements document. To make this step easier, consider setting goals using the SMART method.

Related: How to develop SMART goals

4. List key requirements

After creating your scope and setting goals, you can consider listing functional requirements for each resource or activity you decide to list. Functional requirements can be any business rules or certification requirements that are necessary for completing specific parts of work. You can also consider creating an internal system for monitoring if the project team meets specific requirements that you gather.

5. Define key stakeholders

Project stakeholders include anyone who's directly involved in a project or whose interests that project might affect. For example, project stakeholders are project team members, investors, users or suppliers. Understanding who they are and defining their roles is essential for successfully assigning responsibilities to them. Once you define who the stakeholders are, it's important to inform them what you or the company expects from them throughout the project.

Related: How to create a stakeholder management plan (with steps)

6. Create a timeline

Using the information that you gathered through completing the previous steps, you can create a realistic project timeline that the team can follow. Typically, it's good to assign more time to each phase of the project than you think it can take. This way, the team has additional time to address any issues or challenges that arise as they progress through the project. If you're developing a timeline for a large project, it's crucial to think about including milestones in it. This way, you can keep track of the progress and keep the team motivated.

Related: 13 milestones in project management (with definitions)

7. Determine project limitations

Lastly, consider using your risk management skills to determine any limitations or challenges that the project might encounter and finding a potential solution to them. For example, outsourcing work to an external vendor can be a potential limitation because you're not able to control every aspect of the work that they deliver. To prepare for that, you can develop a process that monitors the quality of the vendor's work. A helpful tool for determining project limitations is a SWOT analysis.

Related: What is a SWOT analysis? (Definition, guide and examples)

Business requirements document template

Using a template to create your project documentation is helpful, as it makes it easier for you to remember about the important components of a requirements document. Consider following this template to make sure your project documentation provides the key company stakeholders or your supervisor with critical information about the project:

[Project name]
By: [Your name]
[Your job title]
[Company's name]
[Date]

Executive summary: [One of two short paragraphs that briefly introduce readers to your project and highlight the key elements of your business requirements document.]

Project description: [A few sentences that present the main purpose of the project.]

Needs statement: [Brief explanation of the specific business challenges this project aims to solve and how the company can benefit from investing in the project.]

Project scope: [A paragraph that concentrates on the most important components of the project, explains your focus areas and describes any tasks that are outside of the project scope.]

Functional requirements: [An outline of key tasks, job roles and project phases. Under the functional requirements, you can also rank how important each of these requirements is to help you prioritise them.]

Timeline: [A timeline that estimates the project's start and completion dates and any important milestones you plan to use to track progress.]

Personal statement: [List of the staff and resources necessary for completing the project successfully.]

Predictions: [A few sentences that outline any challenges you're expecting to encounter and how to plan to avoid or overcome them.]

Financial data: [Information that aims to predict how the project may impact the company's revenue and additional suggestions on how to fund the project.]

Budget: [A list of expenses you estimate the project to generate and a quick calculation to determine the total budget for the project.]

Related:

  • How to write a business requirements document (with template)


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