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In this article, Mark Monteleone tackles the topic of risk tolerance in the context of requirements validation and review. Regardless of methodology (waterfall, agile, scrum-fall), it is common for project stakeholders or their proxies (ex: product owners) to be asked to sign-off, one way or another,  on the requirements.  

The larger the project (aka the more money is spent) the more important it is for the project sponsor to ensure the software development team understands the needs and the problems to be solved and have a solid grasp of the requirements to be delivered to the end users.

"What does sponsor sign-off mean? It means that the sponsor assumes the accountability (business responsibility) that the BRD reflects the business need. What motivates the sponsor to sign-off? It is when the BRD matches or surpasses the sponsor’s risk tolerance."

- Mark Montelone

The author introduces a Risk Tolerance Model which is determined and computed based on the various components of a Business Requirements Document (BRD) for a waterfall shop or types of requirements considerations for agile shops:

  • Traceability
  • Transitonal Requirements
  • Data Requirements
  • Nonfunctional Requirements
  • Functional Requirements
  • Process Improvement

Furthermore, the article covers a simple tool/technique to help the project sponsor and the project team to evaluate the risk and the tolerance associate with requirements review.

"The business analyst can use this model to provide clarity in deciding that the BRD is “done” in BRD verification and validation meetings with BA peers and stakeholder groups respectively. The model helps in guiding sponsors in approving a BRD. "

- Mark Monteleone

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Mark Monteleone

Mark Monteleone is the President of Monteleone Consulting, LLC and author of the book, The 20 Minute Business Analyst: a collection of short articles, humorous stories, and quick reference cards for the busy analyst.  He can be contacted via  -

2020-01-13 What's Your Risk Tolerance when Validating Requirements What's Your Risk Tolerance when Validating Requirements

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