Are Requirements and Designs the same?
April 5, 2020

Are Requirements and Designs the same?

By Lau

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

– Pele —
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. – Pele Click To Tweet

The distinction between requirements and designs is not always clear. The techniques used for the analysis process are the same for both. The definition of a requirement leads us to a design and this to a new requirement. In most cases, and even more so as the analysis progresses, the differentiation between these appears to be very subtle.

Most of the information in this article has been taken from the BABOK® Guide. The information has been reorganised, summarized and clarifying descriptions have been added to make it easier for beginners to understand.

Requirements and Designs

Let’s start with the definition of both terms. 

The Cambridge dictionary defines the term requirement as “something that you must do, or something you need” and the previous article we saw the different types of requirements, that’s why we know that requirements are needs. On the other hand, the design is defined as “a drawing or set of drawings showing how a building or product is to be made and how it will work and look”.

It is here when we ask ourselves. why if their definitions are so different we still confuse them?

The answer to this question is associated with the deliverables that business analysts have to create. The deliverables that define the user’s need are called requirements and those that fulfil the function of proposing a solution are called designs. 

View from this last point of view, the distinction between both terms still seems to be quite clear, but what if I tell you that these two documents are usually only one, this is when the confusion begins.

The reality is that requirements and designs are actually two different things. However, in practice, the two of them go together. So, what you have to know is that requirements are focused on the need and designs are focused on the solution.

Requirements are focused on the need and designs are focused on the solution

The following table will help you to better understand this differentiation. It has been taken from the BABOK Guide and it provides some basic examples of how information may be viewed as either a requirement or a design. 

You might also like to read about the Business Analysis Approach.

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See you soon. 😉