What is a Requirements Breakdown Structure, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Requirements Breakdown Structure
A Requirements Breakdown Structure (RBS) is a hierarchical, usually tree-shaped description of all project requirements which must be present in the end product in order to deliver the expected business value. Whereas a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) focuses the how of a project, an RBS focuses on the what of a project.
Description of Requirements Breakdown Structure
Requirements are conditions or tasks that need to be addressed and completed in order for the project to be accepted as complete. They originate from the project’s stakeholders and can be expressed as physical deliverables or business benefits, as aspirations or solutions, and as functional or technical needs. As an example, if you are building a website, a requirement could be that it should be integrated with an e-commerce solution.
There are 4 kinds of requirements that must be addressed on order to gain a complete overall vision of the project.
Business Requirements: These are the high-level business needs that need to be resolved by the project. They are usually general needs, such as “Grow Sales” or “Increase Brand Awareness.”
Stakeholder Requirements: These refer to the needs of those most impacted by the project and are usually a more detailed version of the Business Requirements. For example, from the general needs stated above, you would describe more specific ways you will grow the sales numbers or increase the brand awareness.
Solution Requirements: These requirements address specifics, such as quantifiable numbers to judge success. For example, sales numbers will increase X% with the proposed initiative.
Transition Requirements: These requirements relate to needs that are only present during the transition, and can be phased out once the project is up and running. This could include training or rollout activities.
RBS Tips for Success:
- Go to the lowest possible level:Be as detailed as possible in the planning. What may seem obvious to one team member may not be so to another team member or stakeholder.
- Hold a requirements workshop: Instead of holding individual interviews, you can engage the group of stakeholders at the same time in order to clarify assumptions, identify redundancies and avoid misunderstandings.
- Be objective: Write the requirements in a clear, objective way.
- Don’t focus on the implementation: Implementation comes later when building the Work Breakdown Structure. For now, only be concerned about the “what” not the “how” of the project.
Tools & Templates
Various Project Management methods, Risk Assessments and Process Maps can all be used to provide insights, data and additional support when creating a Requirements Breakdown Structure.
upBOARD's Online Requirements Breakdown Structure Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Requirements Breakdown Structure techniques, upBOARD’s online RBS tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other project management best practice tools and templates including:
Action Item List, Agile Project Management, Benefits Realization Methodology, Critical Chain Project Management, Critical Path Chart, Critical Path Method, Event Chain Methodology, Extreme Project Management, Gantt Chart, Integrated Project Management, Issue Tracker, IT Roadmap, Lean Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, Plan of Intent (PoI), Plan of Record (PoR), PMBOK Project Management, PRINCE2 Project Management, PRiSM Project Management, Process-Based Project Management, Program Management, Project Budgeting, Project Charter, Project Dashboard, Project Portfolio Management (PPM), Project Portfolio Timeline, Project Risk Management, Project Rollup, Project Schedule, Project Scorecard, Project Timeline, Project Tracker, Requirements Breakdown Structure, SCRUM Project Management, Skills Requirement Checklist, Task List, Time Card, To Do List, Waterfall Project Management, and Work Breakdown Structure.