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Having established “Business Information Systems” as the context for his series of articles on requirements, Dan Tasker introduces a three-level generic functional model applicable to any organization. The highest level, considered to be “… a view from 10,000 feet”, is comprised of three management functions, five line of business functions, and six support functions...

As validation of the model, Dan lists the set of business functions currently supported in the SAP ERP system. The degree of alignment is considerable. A requirement naming functions at this level would be considered appropriate for an organization in the early stages of acquisition of an ERP system. The following example is offered:

“The system shall support Accounting processes integrated between themselves and with processes of other functions.”

The article goes on to describe the second level of the model, where each function is comprised of a number of business processes. A process, within the context of a given function, is seen to be something with a distinct start and end. The process level is where an organization-specific workflow would be defined, possibly represented visually using a technique such as BPMN. A set of SAP processes supported within its HR function are listed as examples.

The third level of the functional model consists of Activities. Activities would be seen as the ‘boxes’ within a workflow model.

The basic idea is that an Activity is that it should be simple enough that an individual is able to complete it in a single ‘sitting.’ No need to hand the work off to anyone else mid-activity or to have to wait for some other activity to complete.”

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Dan Tasker

The author of two books and numerous articles, Dan recently retired after working and consulting in the IT industry for the past 48 years. He spent the first 10 years working as a developer (called ‘programmer’ back then) in the United States and Canada. This was followed by two years teaching computer programming, database design, and data modelling. The remainder of his career was spent as a business analyst, in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He continues to be passionate about quality requirements and helping business analysts produce them. He can be contacted at dantaskernz@gmail.com.

2020-01-20 Requirements Within an Organization’s Functional Context Requirements Within an Organization’s Functional Context

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