Jamal's Musings – Who Is A Requirements Analyst?

So, who is the requirements analyst? He has to perform several roles at once. He has to be a translator, since he is responsible for capturing the requirements expressed in the language of the user or customer (typically a non-technical language) and translating it to the language understood by the technical project resources.


For example:


"The car must be really fast"


 converts to:


"The car shall be able to travel at a speed of up to 100 mph"


She has to be a keen observer, since she has to observe the work performed by the user from the user's rather than from the technical resource's perspective.


The requirements analyst has to be an interpreter of the work to be performed; in other words he should be able to reveal the essence of work, not its incarnation.


For example:


"The bottle opener must be rectangular in shape"


converts to:


"The bottle opener shall be able to open bottles with both round and rectangular necks"


Very frequently the requirements analyst is someone who invents better ways of performing the work described by the user.


For example:


“The dryer should have different drying cycles to accommodate for different types of loads”


converts to:


“The dryer shall have three different drying cycles (small, medium and large)”


“The dryer shall have a dryness sensor that will shut the device down once the laundry is completely dry”


Requirements analyst is also a scribe who should be able to record the results of her analysis in the form of stakeholder-understandable requirements specifications and analysis models that are necessary, verifiable, attainable, unambiguous, complete, consistent, traceable, concise and prioritized.


For example:


“We want our house to be energy efficient”


Will convert to (see Table 1):


Table 1

Feature ID

Req ID

Requirement Description


F 6.0

R 6.1

The building shall be built from sustainably harvested wood

Nice To Have

R 6.2

The insulation materials  used shall range from R-20 to R-30 in the walls and from R-50 to R-70 in the ceilings

Must Have

R 6.3

The basement and the foundation shall also be insulated

Should Have

R 6.4

The builder shall locate as many electrical appliances in the basement as possible

Nice To Have

R 6.5

The builder shall use vapor retardant materials in construction of the walls

Must Have

R 6.6

The smaller windows (less than 9% of the floor area of the room) shall be located on the north, east and west sides of the building

Must Have

R 6.7

The windows on the north, east and west sides of the building shall be made of the glass with low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

Must Have

R 6.8

The larger windows (approximately 12% of the floor area of the room) shall be located on the south side of the building

Must Have

R 6.9

The windows on the south side  of the building shall be made of the glass with high Solar Heat Gain Coefficients (SHGC)

Must Have

R 6.10

All of the potential air leaks everywhere in a home’s thermal envelope shall be sealed

Must Have

R 6.11

Heat recovery ventilators (HRV) or energy recovery ventilators (ERV) shall be installed in the house

Should Have

R 6.12

Energy Star certified furnace shall be installed in the house

Should Have

R 6.13

Energy Star certified appliances shall be used in the house

Should Have


This is an excerpt from my new book “Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects” that is being published by CRC Press The book should soon be available on Amazon.

About the Author

Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP – president and founder of Thinktank Consulting is an internationally acclaimed expert and speaker in the areas of project/portfolio management, scope definition, process improvement and corporate training. Jamal Moustafaev has done work for private-sector companies and government organizations in Canada, US, Asia, Europe and Middle East.  Read Jamal’s Blog @ www.thinktankconsulting.ca

Jamal is an author of two very popular books: Delivering Exceptional Project Results: A Practical Guide to Project Selection, Scoping, Estimation and Management and Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects.