Business Reporting Requirements Gathering

Checklist for Requirements Gathering

Business Reporting Requirements Gathering

I had a request to write a post on requirements gathering.  For 10 years, I’ve been building reports for Finance, Operations, Accounting, Marketing, Mid-level Managers, Executives, and some just for myself.   This is the typical checklist I go through for reports:

  1. Time
    1. What is the date range you are asking for?  (Last month, last quarter, last 6 months)
    2. Is this covering fiscal periods or calendar periods?
    3. What level of detail do you want displayed?  (Days, Weeks, Months, Quarters, Years)
  2. Region
    1. Will this be US only or International?
    2. Will this have regional groupings?
    3. Will this cover where the product was sold or shipped?
  3. Customer
    1. Will this report filter by customer type? (B2B, Consumer, Retail, OEM, Distributor)
    2. Does this report need to use the 80 / 20 rule? (Top 10, 50, 100)
    3. Will this include customer returns?
  4. Product
    1. Will this report filter by product types? (Product Lines, Product Segments, Bulk)
    2. Are we looking for a specific product?
  5. Measures
    1. Will this report include Dollars?
    2. Does it need to be in the local currency?
      1. Will we be using the financial Gross or Net?
    3. Will this report include Units?
      1. Do we only need finished/complete units or should we include Work In Progress (WIP)?
    4. Will this report include Orders?
      1. Will it include sample orders?
      2. Will it include replacement orders?
    5. Will this report include Visitors?
      1. Will it include page views?
      2. Will it include unique customers?
    6. Will this report include Lifetime Value?
    7. Will it include customer ranking?
      1. Will it include customer status? New, Existing, Lost?
  6. Exceptions
    1. There is always some type of data to exclude.  What should be excluded?
  7. Re-occurrence
    1. Will the user ask for this report again?
      1. Should we schedule it to automatically be sent?
        1. What is the frequency? (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)
      2. Should we make it a self-service report?
        1. What fields should we let the user customize?
        2. What fields should be limited in options?
  8. Distribution
    1. Who else should get this report?
    2. Who else should be aware that this report exists?

It is a good idea to walk through this list and then confirm what you are building by asking, “Why do you want this report?”  Getting the background of the report and the meetings and conversations prior to the request may help you ferret out the final items to exclude from the report.  Lastly, ask them when they need the report and give them a timeline of when you expect to have it done.

Are there other criteria you use?  Share with the community in the comments.

Photo Credit: alancleaver_2000

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One Response to Business Reporting Requirements Gathering

  1. Jamey Olvedo says:

    Hello!, Very interest angle, we were talking about the same thing at work and found your site very stimulating. So felt compelled to com?ment a little thank you for all your effort. Please keep up the great work your doing!

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