Whether it is a full implementation, addition of new functionality, or a change to business process, a successful project begins with an understanding of the related needs of your business. The starting place in Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management is the gathering of Business Requirements.
Requirements carry a lot of weight in a project. You may use them for:
- Fit/Gap Analysis
- Project Scope Definition
- Testing design
- Go/No-go Criteria for go-live
- Success Evaluation post go-live
What is a Requirement?
Because they are critical, it is important to begin with an understanding of what a business requirement is. I have found these criteria useful to keep in mind and to share with users as the project begins:
Based on business need: A requirement is driven by what your business must do to run well. It is not based on how the current or future software works, or how one user likes to do things. It is the core business need. That may take a little digging and discussion: it will be well worth it!
What, not How: At the Requirements gathering stage, you are not defining the solution. “A Serial button on the receiving screen” doesn’t tell us the business need, it suggests a solution to an unclear problem. “Ability to track serialized material from receipt to shipping” would be a business need, and a clear requirement.
Specific: It is not uncommon for at least one user early in the Requirements process to say, “I need to do my job!” or something similar. They aren’t wrong, of course. But to have a list that will drive a successful project, you will need more detail. “Ability to change the date on a PO and see the impact on production planning” or “Ability to group sales prospects by country and region for reporting” are better examples of a specific business need.
Creative Ways to Get Requirements From Users
- Have users keep a spreadsheet or log for a week and capture things as they think of them in real time while working.
- Have a “paper prototype” meeting where you pass information through the company without using your current computer systems. (You may need email: it is, after all, 2021!) The idea is to determine what the key things each person needs to receive are and what they add and pass along, without the constraint of a specific technology.
- Once a basic list is created in meetings, have a Requirements fair, in person or virtually. Post lists of the requirements and have everyone in the company able to review, comment, or add. Bonus idea: have a door prize!
- In each requirements discussion, ask users what they want to STOP doing. It is a twist of thinking that can bring out good requirements, like ending repetitive entry or manual processes.
Don’t Forget These Often-Neglected Areas for Requirements
Security: Don’t forget to think about user and system security requirements early in the project.
Periodic processes: Monthly, quarterly, or annual processes are sometimes missed in requirements gathering. Annual Physical inventory? Quarterly reporting? Month-end financial close? Be sure the requirements are captured.
Corrections and re-work: No business is perfect. Don’t forget to visit what is needed when things don’t go exactly to plan. Production rework, adjustments to inventory or financial transactions, or corrections to a sales order may have details for your requirements list.
Regulatory constraints: Be sure if you have certifications and regulations that demand specific processes and data that they are all included in the requirements list.
Hopefully these tips will help you get a great start on your next project! If you’d like to talk to us about Business Requirements in Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management, please reach out.
"We met our three project goals of 100% completion of critical business requirements at Go Live, completed with 90% Best Practices or better, and GO Live done in a timely manner."