Updated: Mar 18, 2022
In life you don't get something for nothing. So in other words : everything what you do, should deliver you some kind of value. Whether this is monetary value, social acceptance, feel-good moments or any other doesn't really matter.
The same goes in business. Every step that is taken in business decisions, should create value for that business, otherwise there is no reason in doing it.
If we bring this down to a lower level, the same principle would count for a requirement that is set by a business. A requirement without any kind of business value has no reason for existence and therefore is not a true requirement but maximum a "want to have" for whatever reason that may be.
How can you determine this value?
Well there are a gazillion ways, where one method might work better than the other depending on the stakeholders or of your organisation.
Personally I absolutely love gamification. Let's be honest, what is cooler than seeing top managers in suits play around with poker chips or monopoly money and make them look and feel young again ;)
Suppose that you have a list of requirements made by a number of stakeholders in your project (How you get to a list like that, I will discuss in a different article).
Not all requirements in this list will create the same value and therefore will not have the same business value.
If all the stakeholders have a fair share in the group, you can give them all the same quantity of poker chips or Monopoly money. If this is not the case, you can play around with different amounts e.g. The CEO of a company is among your stakeholders, so as a group you can decide to give him a bit more (or a bit less) "money".
After this step, you explain one simple rule. All stakeholders can spend their money on whichever requirement they like (and how much), but they need to put a value on all requirements (even the smallest denomination will do). This achieves the goal that all requirements should have a value.
After all the "money" has been spent by all stakeholders, the business value of a requirement is determined by adding all the amounts which have been put on that requirement.
This is a very simple way of determining a business value over a wide range of requirements with stakeholders that all have a different opinion about the importance of those requirements.