Blog Posts Process Analysis

Project Requirements Process R080

Blog: Biz-Performance, David Brown

R080 – Define Topics

SIIPS Requirements Processes (R).png


SIIPS Project Launch L080.pngAn initial breakdown of the overall issues within the project into discrete topics.  This breakdown will be used throughout the project to break the complexity of the overall project into manageable pieces.


Before cataloguing detailed requirements in the Requirements Matrices, the list of functional, technical, and environmental topics should be defined.  This series of headings will be used as the main structure for the detailed requirements documentation.  It will also be used in future processes as the basis to define topics and papers throughout the project.  This breakdown will be used to break the complexity of the overall project into manageable pieces.  Subject to revisions in the overall approach, the list of topics will be used in all further stages of the project, although at times it may be appropriate to divide the topics further when issues are more complex.


This process is normal practice.


Prerequisites (Finish-Start):
  • Project launch
Prerequisites (Finish-Finish):
  • Create and maintain enterprise business model (R065)
  • System Vision (R070)
Dependent procedures (Finish-Finish):
  • List Detailed Requirements (R100)


  • System Vision


  • Definition of Topics (DoT)


  • Skeleton Deliverables: Definition of Topics (DoT)



A key feature of Consultant’s approach to package implementation is the division of the overall work into a number of discrete topics.  This allows rapid and effective progress with all aspects of the work – during requirements, selection, conceptual design / project model, design, build and implementation.
Topics are the smallest practical subsets of the overall work that can be worked upon as independent aspects of the project.  By breaking the full complex requirements into manageable sizes, the team can cope with the workload more efficiently and more effectively.
This principle is used throughout the Application Software Implementation project lifecycle (although the greatest advantages of this approach tend to be apparent during the Delivery tasks where detailed design, development and implementation tasks are undertaken).
SIIPS Topics that run through the project.PNG
We distinguish between three types of topic:
  • Functional – concerning the required functionality and how it will be achieved using the package solution
  • Environmental – concerning the requirements and actions relating to the environment rather than the functionality of the system, for example security requirements and training needs
  • Technical – concerning technical work required to implement the system, for example interfaces, conversion, and technical set up.
This process is intended to establish the initial list of these topics, based upon the particular circumstances of the project, for example, the needs of the client organisation, the application area, the size of the project, the preferred technical architecture etc.

Defining the Definition of Topics  (DoT)

Sample lists of topics and “Implementation Papers” (IPs) can be used as the starting point for most applications, modules and industries.  The final list will always depend on the precise needs of the client and the definition and scope of the project.
Ideally, the functional topics chosen for the project should map directly to the business models generated in “create and maintain business enterprise model” and the “system vision” (see Processes R065 and R070).  In both cases, the idea is to identify the key aspects of the required system’s functionality and to break this down into specific business and system processes.  By making the business model vision compatible with the breakdown of topics it will be much easier for all personnel involved to understand the context and requirements of the various aspects of the work.
The Definition of Topics (DoT) template document is set up as an Excel spreadsheet.  It is constructed primarily for use in the Delivery processes and records details relevant to the Implementation Papers that are produced at that time.  It may, however, be completed at this time to record the initial definitions of the topics and other relevant information.
For each topic identified, the following information may be described in the Definition of Topics (DoT):
Definition / comments
An identifying code for control and cross-reference purposes
Title of the topic
Brief text to describe the scope and objectives of the paper
Responsible Manager
This is the manager within the client organisation who it is agreed will have prime responsibility for defining, agreeing and signing off matters relating to this topic
Overlapping Papers/Topics
This is used to note any other particular topics which are expected to overlap or to impinge upon this topic
Notes on anticipated or known issues
Used to note any known or anticipated issues
Other notes / comments
As required

Other information normally held in the Definition of Topics (DoT) is not relevant at this time and need not be entered.

Leave a Comment

Get the BPI Web Feed

Using the HTML code below, you can display this Business Process Incubator page content with the current filter and sorting inside your web site for FREE.

Copy/Paste this code in your website html code:

<iframe src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="auto" width="100%" height="700">

Customizing your BPI Web Feed

You can click on the Get the BPI Web Feed link on any of our page to create the best possible feed for your site. Here are a few tips to customize your BPI Web Feed.

Customizing the Content Filter
On any page, you can add filter criteria using the MORE FILTERS interface:

Customizing the Content Filter

Customizing the Content Sorting
Clicking on the sorting options will also change the way your BPI Web Feed will be ordered on your site:

Get the BPI Web Feed

Some integration examples