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Require meant?

Or, “Extra onions, hold the cheese”.

In this blog post, I will attempt to share some of my current thoughts and related ideas on “requirements”.


The word “requirement” stems from the root word “require”, which itself comes from the Old French word “requerre” which means “to seek, procure, beg, ask, inquire, petition, or demand”. The suffix “ment” means “that which must be accomplished”. And so, the original meaning of “requirement” was essentially “a request that must be achieved”.

Today, requirements are often used in a professional setting. The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) defines “requirement” simply as “A usable representation of a need”, and more precisely as a:

  • condition or capability needed by a user to solve a problem or achieve an objective.

  • condition or capability that must be met or possessed by a system or system component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed document.

  • documented representation of a condition or capability in (1) or (2).

However, more generally, a requirement is merely “something that is wanted (desired) or needed (necessary for a particular purpose)”.

Throughout my career, I’ve received many requirements. Countless times, various people have requested various things that they want or need from me. And often, these requirements are prefixed with additional qualifiers - such as business, system, functional, performance, security, and architectural - to help further describe and categorize the requirement.

But, in a more general sense, I’ve given many requirements, too. In fact, I’ve been creating requirements my entire life. For example, each time I ordered a burger and said, “Extra onions, hold the cheese”, I was expressing requirements. I wanted “extra onions” because I desired them, and I needed “no cheese” because it was necessary (to “avoid an allergic reaction”).

In My Experience, understanding the more general meaning of “requirement” (as "something that is wanted or needed"), and recognizing that I have received and given requirements my entire life, has helped me better understand and address requirements in my career, as well.

I examine and explore “requirements” in my talks “The Hidden Requirements” and “Improv(e) Your Requirements!”.

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