Carrywater - business architects

Defining business needs and functional requirements for IT systems


Failures of IT system implementation projects are frequently caused by errors
in defining and documenting the stakeholders’ business needs and functional requirements. A correct execution of that project stage has direct impact on the scope, schedule and budget of the implementation of the new system and on its consistency with the expectations of its users, and otherwise might even result in the solution not being used at all.

Defining and documenting the needs and the functional requirements is a task that not only requires familiarity with the business area the new IT tool is intended to support but also the knowledge of the best practices of the industry leaders and an appropriate workshop, experience and acquaintance with the tools of the trade. Unfortunately, many organisations at which new systems are implemented lack those skills and knowledge.

Carrywater’s solution

Our proprietary method of defining functional requirements for IT systems references them directly to the Customer organisation’s model of business processes.

We compile the list of functional requirements during interviews and workshops conducted with the future key users of the IT systems to be implemented. We guide the workshops by suggesting optimal solutions which we have already built or observed in the course of other projects we conducted,  which allows us to use proven and tested solutions and avoid errors.

We link the requirements to the model of processes, which ensures that each piece of functionality is viewed in the context of specific steps of the Customer’s business process.

The list of functional requirements we prepare has a form which makes it directly useful to the Customer in its interaction with the potential vendors of IT systems. It can be also used without any changes to build a Specification of Essential Terms of a Contract. To achieve that, we prioritise the individual requirements in close cooperation with the Customer.

Business value

The set of functional requirements defined with our assistance is a comprehensive and clearly worded document, which is comprehensible both to project participants on the part of the Customer as well as to other employees of its organisation and system vendors.

Our approach allows the Customer to minimise the significant risk of implementation project failure, thus ensuring better security to its investment.


Depending on the scope agreed, our involvement usually produces the following deliverables:

  • Comprehensive list of functional requirements for the new IT system, complete with comments on its integration with other IT systems and priorities assigned to the individual requirements

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