Business Rules, Business Policies, and External Constraints

Lesson 3.5 of the eCourse “Exposing Functional AND Non-Functional Requirements” View the full course overview and outline at
Prefer reading? Also available as part of an eBook at

DESCRIPTION (lesson 3.5)
Constraints express absolute limits that any solution has to meet or it will fail. In this section, co-author and presenter Tom Hathaway defines, contrasts, and presents examples of both internal and external constraints. Internal constraints are often expressed in the form of business policies or business rules whereas external constraints are imposed by the physical or regulatory environment.

Business and Stakeholder Requirements define the business need in business terminology that all involved parties can understand, but the devil lies in the detail. Solution Providers (i.e., those responsible for building, buying, assembling, or configuring an IT application) need to know what the application has to do, what data it will deal with, and what qualities it has to possess to meet the business needs. In other words, they need Functional and Non-functional (aka Solution) Requirements at a level of detail that most subject matter experts can only provide when prompted and led.

A functional requirement specifies something the system should do. Non-functional requirements describe the system’s quality characteristics or quality attributes. This course, “Exposing Functional AND Non-Functional Requirements”, offers a tried-and-true approach for analyzing and decomposing any set of requirements expressed in simple sentences. The outcome is a list of functions with related data, and associated non-functional attributes (such as availability, reliability, maintainability, etc.) of both.

Applying the presented techniques will significantly improve the communication between those tasked with defining the need (aka “the one wearing the Business Analysis Hat”) and Solution Providers, thereby reducing the risk of misunderstandings.

To enhance the learning process, the eCourse includes several exercises in each section and provides expert feedback for each exercise.

Upon completion of this course, you can:

• Decompose well-structured requirement statements to identify Functional and Non-Functional Requirements
• Give those responsible for designing, building, and/or buying the solution the kind of information they need to make the decisions that are right for the business
• Identify Informational, Performance, and Constraining Requirements from a list of Functional Requirements
• Document and manage Business, Stakeholder, Functional and Non-Functional Requirements
• Capture and clarify Business Rules and External Constraints that mandate limits to the delivered solution
• Develop measurable Solution Requirements that facilitate End-User Acceptance Testing


To view even more requirements training, visit the Business Analysis Learning Store at

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