How to write a requirements document How to write a requirements document

How to write a requirements document
04 Nov 2017

A key preparatory step before you dive into the complexities of HR and payroll software selection is to develop a requirements document based on what you need.

The purpose of such a document is twofold: firstly it is about creating a common set of criteria for the purchasing team. Secondly, it is to standardise what you require in order to make it easier to find a supplier that offers best value for money.

Any requirements document should include the following information and be based on the same kind of format as this model example:

Introduction

Your introduction should be clear and concise and look something like this:

ABC company manufactures solar panels for both domestic and export markets. It has a total of 525 employees who are distributed across four locations in the US. HR & payroll functions are based at head office. While 195 employees are paid monthly, the rest are paid weekly.

Scope of project

Here is a simple example of how to describe the scope of your project:

ABC company is looking for HR and payroll software vendors to tender for the provision of a system that will be operational by 1 November 2017. The new system will replace current software that does not have the necessary functionality to meet our current/future requirements.

Our current technical environment

This section should specify the technology that you currently have in place such as:

• Back-end servers and their specifications
• Client machines such as PCs
• Internet connections
• Network bandwidth capacity
• Web browsers
• Personal productivity applications such as Microsoft Office and their version numbers
• Email systems and their version numbers
• Business applications such as enterprise resource planning, who supplies them, which operating system they run on and what version they are
• Financial packages, which include general ledger, debtors and creditors systems, who provides them, which operating system they run on and what version they are
• Your current HR & payroll system, who supplies it, which operating system it runs on, what version it is and how long it has been operational
• Standalone time recording applications, who provides them, which operating system they run on, what version they are and whether they fall within the scope of the current project.

Required functionality and features

Clarify here what you consider to be non-negotiable, must-have functionality. So, for example: We require HR and payroll applications that can manage the size of our workforce as it is today. The system must be scalable, secure, provide quality reporting for operational purposes and help us reduce our administrative burden.

The applications’ fields also need to be configurable and we must be able to add fields that automatically populate the reporting catalogue. We also want role-based security access and to be able to import career histories from our current system.

The modules required comprise:
• Core employee database
• Report writer
• Absence
• Recruitment
• Training
• Self-service

Timeline and budget

Keep this section short and to the point: The system should be live and operational by 1 November 2017.

The budget assigned to this project is $5 million (not including one-off project management costs.)

Appendices

Appendices are used to include more detailed information on areas of particular concern to the organisation such as current process flows. It may also be useful to think about questions such as would you like your proposed HR and payroll system to:

• Produce payslips at certain specified frequencies and as run multiple payrolls with different pay dates
• Generate grossed-up pay calculations
• Record absence entitlement, including falling holiday entitlement levels as it is taken
• Deal with situations where employees have two or more posts based on differing service conditions (otherwise known as multi-post) and record and process absence information for each post.

It is these kinds of issues that you will need vendors to address to your satisfaction when the time comes to evaluate the product options available to you in detail.
 

Denis Barnard is a consultant with more than 30 years’ experience of HR and payroll technology. After starting his career in finance, he moved into HR and then started specialising in HR and payroll software in the late 1980s.

Denis has conducted numerous software selection exercises on behalf of organisations of all sizes and across all sectors, ranging from local authorities to FTSE 100 companies. He has also deployed systems for many others, notably The Times Educational Supplement and Universal Music.

Considered a leading expert in his field, Denis runs his own workshops and webinars on software selection and implementation and is a frequent guest presenter for various industry events and webinars. He is the co-founder of specialist consultancy HRmeansbusiness Ltd and also set up the UK’s first dedicated HR software comparison website, HRcomparison.com.

A key preparatory step before you dive into the complexities of HR and payroll software selection is to develop a requirements document based on what you need.

The purpose of such a document is twofold: firstly it is about creating a common set of criteria for the purchasing team. Secondly, it is to standardise what you require in order to make it easier to find a supplier that offers best value for money.

Any requirements document should include the following information and be based on the same kind of format as this model example:

Introduction

Your introduction should be clear and concise and look something like this:

ABC company manufactures solar panels for both domestic and export markets. It has a total of 525 employees who are distributed across four locations in the US. HR & payroll functions are based at head office. While 195 employees are paid monthly, the rest are paid weekly.

Scope of project

Here is a simple example of how to describe the scope of your project:

ABC company is looking for HR and payroll software vendors to tender for the provision of a system that will be operational by 1 November 2017. The new system will replace current software that does not have the necessary functionality to meet our current/future requirements.

Our current technical environment

This section should specify the technology that you currently have in place such as:

• Back-end servers and their specifications
• Client machines such as PCs
• Internet connections
• Network bandwidth capacity
• Web browsers
• Personal productivity applications such as Microsoft Office and their version numbers
• Email systems and their version numbers
• Business applications such as enterprise resource planning, who supplies them, which operating system they run on and what version they are
• Financial packages, which include general ledger, debtors and creditors systems, who provides them, which operating system they run on and what version they are
• Your current HR & payroll system, who supplies it, which operating system it runs on, what version it is and how long it has been operational
• Standalone time recording applications, who provides them, which operating system they run on, what version they are and whether they fall within the scope of the current project.

Required functionality and features

Clarify here what you consider to be non-negotiable, must-have functionality. So, for example: We require HR and payroll applications that can manage the size of our workforce as it is today. The system must be scalable, secure, provide quality reporting for operational purposes and help us reduce our administrative burden.

The applications’ fields also need to be configurable and we must be able to add fields that automatically populate the reporting catalogue. We also want role-based security access and to be able to import career histories from our current system.

The modules required comprise:
• Core employee database
• Report writer
• Absence
• Recruitment
• Training
• Self-service

Timeline and budget

Keep this section short and to the point: The system should be live and operational by 1 November 2017.

The budget assigned to this project is $5 million (not including one-off project management costs.)

Appendices

Appendices are used to include more detailed information on areas of particular concern to the organisation such as current process flows. It may also be useful to think about questions such as would you like your proposed HR and payroll system to:

• Produce payslips at certain specified frequencies and as run multiple payrolls with different pay dates
• Generate grossed-up pay calculations
• Record absence entitlement, including falling holiday entitlement levels as it is taken
• Deal with situations where employees have two or more posts based on differing service conditions (otherwise known as multi-post) and record and process absence information for each post.

It is these kinds of issues that you will need vendors to address to your satisfaction when the time comes to evaluate the product options available to you in detail.
 

Denis Barnard is a consultant with more than 30 years’ experience of HR and payroll technology. After starting his career in finance, he moved into HR and then started specialising in HR and payroll software in the late 1980s.

Denis has conducted numerous software selection exercises on behalf of organisations of all sizes and across all sectors, ranging from local authorities to FTSE 100 companies. He has also deployed systems for many others, notably The Times Educational Supplement and Universal Music.

Considered a leading expert in his field, Denis runs his own workshops and webinars on software selection and implementation and is a frequent guest presenter for various industry events and webinars. He is the co-founder of specialist consultancy HRmeansbusiness Ltd and also set up the UK’s first dedicated HR software comparison website, HRcomparison.com.