Functional Requirements and Design - How to ensure the business gets the solution that meets their needs

Traditionally we are responsible for the 'What' (Requirements) and 'Why' (Objectives/Rationale), not the 'How' (Solution). Increasingly out of necessity, desire, or working in agile environments, we simply cannot avoid the 'How'.

Do we need to describe the How to ensure the business gets the solution that meets their needs?

How do we ensure we describe the 'How' without getting into technical design discussions?
  • What does functional requirements and design mean to you?
  • Is it the responsibility of a requirements BA to write FRD or Technical BA should do it?
  • At what point on this journey do we stop being business analysts ourselves and turn into something else?
  • How does the Business analyst partner effectively with IT for the solution option and design?
  • What if your IT project leads expect you to know the technical details and/or the PM is driving the project approach from a solution point of view?
  • If you include solution detail in the requirement, what advise would you give to ensure alternative solutions are considered?


James Shields

Highly experienced and enthusiastic business analyst. Worked mainly in financial services for major institutions, also has experience of other sectors. Equally at ease in dealing with business and technical people, at all levels.

Coming from a systems development background, has in-depth experience of most roles in the development life cycle including project manager, business analyst, systems analyst, tester, and developer – now specializing in business/systems analysis.

Particularly adept in gathering system requirements from the business, communicating them to the developers, testing that they have been implemented as expected, and then integrating the changes into the business processes.

Real believer in the power of teams. Acted as mentor to help develop other business analysts.

David Morris

Is a business agility practitioner, coach, and instructor; delivering product management, business analysis, team leading, facilitating, coaching, and training services to customers throughout New Zealand - currently working with Fiserv as a Product Owner on one of their scrum projects.

With nearly 30 years’ experience in project delivery, he has worked in and led teams and run his own business across strategic, business, and technical projects following structured, iterative, and agile methodologies.

He is certified as a BA professional, agile practitioner, and as a scrum-master; runs study groups and training courses; organises, chairs, and talks at conferences and events in Europe and Australasia; has contributed to several books (including the ‘Agile Extension to the BA Body of Knowledge’); and is an active blogger, tweeter, and Wikipedia editor.

Mark Tunnicliffe

Enjoys working with business owners to: develop; crtique, refire and present requirements for technolofy and process change. I’m passionate about engaagin directly with system archetects, developers, testers to ensure clear expectations and outcomes between the business and technology functions

His best work is done in from of a whiteboard throwing up business process models or screen mock ups.

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