Decisions consume requirements

Yesterday I explored the fact that decisions create requirements.  That’s half of the story – decisions also consume requirements.

A decision is a wonderful thinking tool that takes in multiple requirements (objectives, goals, constraints, …) and balances them against one another to point the way toward a “committed alternative” that will:

  • Fully satisfy (consume) the requirements
  • Satisfy them in a way that creates the most “margin” (leftover capacity, wiggle-room that can be applied to other decisions).

You can combine the two principles into a single statement, “decisions create and consume requirements“.  I think of a decision as a transformation engine that sits between 2 sets of requirements.  Many requirements “fan-in” to drive a specific decision.  The decision (once made in the form of a committed alternative) “fans-out” to create many new requirements.  This implies a many-to-one, then one-to-many traceability relationship (requirements-to-decision-to-requirements).

Most engineers have been trained to link (“trace”) requirements to other requirements.  They use elaborate traceability matrices or a House of Quality to record these relationships.  However, they neglect to capture the “decision in the middle” that really creates and explains the relationship.  No two requirements have any fixed, universal relationship to one another; there’s always a decision in the middle.

Capture the decisions that create and consume your requirements by using the decision management capabilities of the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF). Start your free trial of DDSF by contacting the Decision Driven® Solutions team at or

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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