Business Analysis Technique: Interface Analysis

According to the BABOK® Guide, interface analysis is a key part of your requirements elicitation and analysis efforts.  Interface analysis identifies the interfaces between solutions and/or solution components. This technique allows you to define the requirements for how the solution and its component pieces and parts interact with one another and with the outside world.  You will find yourself defining many common interface types: user interfaces, interfaces to and from external applications and interfaces to and from external hardware devices.   

Early identification of interfaces addresses the interoperability of the new solution.  Interoperability issues can impact the planned solution delivery date due to additional work and testing of the interfaces and data, so the sooner interfaces are identified the better.  Interface identification creates the need for collaboration with other systems or projects that the new solution interfaces with, and impacts integration and implementation at the end of the development life cycle.

Interface analysis is performed in three steps – preparation, identification and definition:


  • Review current documentation to date for any interface requirements
  • Visualize interfaces to and from any external parties, applications or devices


  • Identify what interfaces are needed for each stakeholder or system interacting with the system that is being defined
  • For each identified interface, describe its purpose, type and any high-level details based upon its type
    • For user-application interfaces, consider the Prototyping technique for further detailed definition
    • For application-application or external hardware interfaces, outline the contents and name the related events
  • Visualize interfaces to and from any external parties, applications or devices


  • Specify the interface requirements describing the inputs and outputs, the associated validation rules and any events triggering interactions

Well, that is our closer look at yet another technique used by business analysts, interface analysis.  I have found this technique to be of great help on many projects, particularly for IT projects where your interfaces can make or break a successful project. Give a shout if you have another BABOK® technique you would like to explore in more detail!

Susan Weese

Business analysts are increasingly becoming the critical liaisons between business and solution development (oftentimes IT), so they must communicate and relate with equal effectiveness throughout all levels of an organization. Download this free White Paper to see which five common obstacles business analysts face and how to address them to ensure success.

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