requirements lifecycle management babok

BABOK Requirements Life Cycle Management

A certified Business Analyst (BA) has successfully passed an International Institute of Business Analysis ( IIBA® certification exam to demonstrate their fundamental understanding of The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge Guide (BABOK® Guide)’s six knowledge areas, including Requirement Life Cycle Management.

What are BABOK Knowledge Areas?

IIBA’s BABOK Guide provides a global standard for the practice of Business Analysis organized into six knowledge areas:

  • Solution Evaluation
  • Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
  • Strategy Analysis
  • Elicitation and Collaboration
  • Requirements Life Cycle Management
  • Requirements Analysis and Design Definition

Regardless of your formal role title, if you perform business analysis work, you should be at least familiar with Requirements Lifecycle Management.

What is Requirements Life Cycle Management (RLCM)?

The IIBA describes the Risk Lifecycle Management knowledge area as “the tasks that business analysts perform to manage and maintain requirements and design information from inception to retirement.” Within this knowledge area, the BA conducts tasks that:

  • establish meaningful relationships between related requirements and designs,
  • maintain requirements for reuse,
  • assess changes to requirements and designs when changes are proposed, and
  • analyzes and gains consensus on changes.

Although this knowledge area is called requirements life cycle management, it also includes the management and maintenance of designs as well.

IIBA notes that life cycle refers not to a process but rather “the existence of various phases or states that requirements pass through as part of any change.”

To prepare for the IIBA certification exams in business analysis, it is important to understand what is meant when you are asked about “requirements life cycle management BABOK.”

Requirements Lifecycle Management tasks

The five tasks in Requirements Lifecycle Management include the work needed to trace, maintain, prioritize, and approve project requirements and designs. Additionally, RLCM encompasses requirement change assessment.

  1. Trace Requirements
  2. Maintain Requirements
  3. Prioritize Requirements
  4. Assess Requirements Changes
  5. Approve Requirements


Why is Requirements Lifecycle Management Important?

IIBA states that the Requirements Management Lifecycle’s purpose is “to ensure that business, stakeholder, and solution requirements and designs are aligned to one another and that the solution implements them.”

RLCM brings value throughout a project because not only does it safeguard documentation to be available for future use, but it also provides a means for work to be measured against approved requirements.

Who Should Use Requirements Life Cycle Management?

RLCM is a much-needed control mechanism that benefits all projects. Requirements should be monitored so that the delivered solution aligns with  requirements. IIBA states that Requirements Lifecycle Management occurs throughout the project and is triggered by identifying a business need, represented as a requirement, continues through solution development and  ends when the solution and its requirements are  retired.

How To Use Requirements Life ycle Management

For both Waterfall and Agile environments, the BA begins requirements work before the project begins by eliciting and documenting the business need (problem or opportunity) and the  business requirements (business goals and objectives) during strategy analysis, which may be  incorporated into  the project scope, a business case, and a project management plan). Requirement management continues throughout the project  and into the life of the solution after development, thus providing value at each step.

Requirements Lifecycle Management Tasks and Outputs

Requirement documentation and timing are directly impacted by the project methodology in use. Waterfall (traditional, predictive) states that all requirements are identified at the start and can only change through a formal change request process, while in Agile (adaptive) environments, requirements may be identified at anytime throughout the project.

Trace Requirements

RLCM traces the elicited requirements  to ensure they are aligned with each other.

Trace Requirements Description

From the IIBA description of this RLCM task, the BA “analyzes and maintains the relationships between requirements, designs, solution components, and other work products for impact analysis, coverage, and allocation.”

Requirements may be traced to other requirements, solution or solution components, models, business rules, designs, test cases, and other work products.

Designs may be traced to other requirements, solution or solution components, and other work products.

Trace Requirements Outputs

Outputs include Requirements (traced) and Designs (traced).

Maintain Requirements

Maintain requirements describes the work needed to ensure that requirements continue to be accurate and consistent not only throughout the effort, but as they are reused within future initiatives

Maintain Requirements Description

IIBA describes maintain requirements taks as “an ongoing need must be maintained to ensure

that it remains valid over time”.

Requirements and designs should…

  • Be represented in the same format.
  • Follow a standardized process that ensures quality.
  • Be understandable.
  • Be easily accessed in a central location.

Maintain Requirements Outputs

Outputs include Requirements (maintained) and Designs (maintained).

Prioritize Requirements

Requirements may conflict with one another or have different levels of impact. Prioritization is conducted because some requirements, when implemented into the solution or solution component, will provide greater benefit than others. Requirement prioritization feeds into project prioritization.

Prioritize Requirements Description

From the IIBA description of this RLCM task, the BA “assesses the value, urgency, and risks associated with particular requirements and designs to ensure that analysis and/or delivery work is focused on the most important ones at any given time.”

Prioritize Requirements Outputs

Outputs include Requirements (prioritized) and Designs (prioritized).

Assess Requirements Changes

Our business environment does not stand still, and while we are in the midst of working on a change intiative or project, requirements may have to change to stay aligned with new business shifts, a change in customer needs, new or changd regulations, etc. s. Thus, any  change to requirements must be assessed to determine the impacts and implications of those proposed requirements have on the project or solution

Assess Requirements Changes Description

From the IIBA description of this RLM task, the BA “evaluates new and changing stakeholder requirements to determine if they need to be acted on within the scope of a change.”

The impact of the change may be assessed by

  • The cost to implement the change
  • The value of the change to the stakeholders
  • The urgency of the change
  • Its impact to the project schedule
  • The impact to the number of customers, stakeholders, business processes or systems if the change is approved.

Assess Requirements Changes Outputs

Outputs include Requirements Change Assessment and Designs Change Assessment.

Approve Requirements

Requirements are to be acted upon once they are fully approved.

Approve Requirements Description

From the IIBA description of this RLM task, the BA “works with stakeholders involved in the governance process to reach approval and agreement on requirements and designs.”

Approve Requirements Outputs

Outputs include Requirements (approved) and Designs (approved).

Outputs of Requirements Lifecycle Management

For each task of this knowledge area, the outputs include a form of Requirements and Designs. Requirements and designs must be managed and maintained across the life cycle. The BA may keep requirements and design documentation for future projects or change initiatives.

How To Use Requirements Life Cycle Management

The Requirements Life Cycle work will look different in a Waterfall environment compared to an Agile one, but each of the tasks in RCLM will apply to either approach. .  This effort is ongoing, and is often done iteratively and concurrently with other business analysis activities throughout the change intiative that starts the minute you start working with stakeholders to determine or understand their problem or opportunity all the way through the project and to retirement of the solution.

What you do not see here is the term “Requirements Gathering, ” which is deliberate. There is no garden of requirements from which you can pick or gather them. You can only get requirements from purposeful conversations and knowledge sharing with stakeholders and experts. You elicit requirements, but you cannot “gather” them.  (I like this 😊)

Tips for Successful RLCM

Use these tips throughout your Requirements Life Cycle Management work to better ensure your success:

  • Involve stakeholders throughout the process,
  • Use a consistent approach,
  • Keep requirements current, and
  • Use a requirements management tool.

Business analysis work brings value that is seen within the project and beyond when it is performed effectively and consistently.


Effective Requirements Life Cycle Management has the potential to bring value throughout a project and beyond. IIBA’s BABOK® Guide describes RLCM as the tasks performed by the BA to manage and maintain requirement  before, during and after the project to ensure consistent alignment of business needs, business requirements, stakeholder requirements, solution requirements , and designs.

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Honoré LaFlamme