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Need vs. Want

Morgan T. LeeIt is very common for a business analyst to document what the business wants when we really should focus on the business needs. Business needs are the requirements that the system must have have in order to be successful. Wants on the other hand are generally additional functionality or cosmetic features where the system can perform fine without them. Wants are nice to have and can be included if the budget and time schedule allows.

Want requirements should still be documented and stored in a requirements backlog but offering the highest business value (need) should be your top priority.

Example of need and want:
Need – Our new financial software program must have a secure username and password feature to prevent unwanted users from accessing the system. Without this feature anyone can access the software and the information it contains. The system must have this security feature.

Want – The system should use alphanumeric characters when creating passwords and the username and should be a minimum of five characters and a maximum length of twelve characters. While this requirement may seem like a good feature to have it is not necessary for the success of the project.

The next time you are eliciting requirements, try and determine the business needs and wants. Knowing the difference can save your project a lot of time and money by delivering the most business value.

Posted in Business Analyst, Requirements.

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