Developing Operational Requirements: A Guide to the Cost-Effective and Efficient Communications of Needs [open pdf - 14MB]
"The purpose of this guide is simple and straightforward: to enable the reader to articulate detailed requirements or needs and effectively communicate them (either internally within DHS or externally to other Federal agencies or the private sector) through an Operational Requirements Document (ORD) vehicle. Often, we have heard expressions like 'It all boils down to a lack of communications,' or 'We're not sure what you need,' or 'DHS has been difficult to work with because they really don't have a clear picture of their problems, needs or requirements.' We can remedy this situation by implementing some fundamental practices in a disciplined manner. A well-written ORD can be an effective vehicle or tool to relay the needs of a given component, group or agency in an easily understood format to sedulously avoid the countless hours of time and other resources wasted speculating needs. Research conclusively shows that the foremost reason why programs or projects do not succeed is due to the lack of detailed requirements at the initiation of a program or project. Efforts invested up front to develop a clear understanding of the requirements pay dividends in the positive outcome of programs -- not to mention the savings in both time and money in corrective actions taken to get a program back on track (if it is even possible!)."
Department of Homeland Security: http://www.dhs.gov/