never before have employees been more valued. the race to the bottom is reversing, and high quality talent is being rewarded. the best companies in the world are empowering their people to take ownership, make decisions, and focus on solving their customers' problems. the exception to this autonomous, customer-centric utopia are "business requirements" -- a still too frequent relic from the past.
when something must be done, despite no good reason for doing it... that's a business requirement. so whereas southwest empowers its employees to make logical decisions, other airlines have business requirements that require x hours notice to change seats or flight. some retailers make exchanges the best part of the experience (such as bonobos or zappos), while others make exchanges a dreaded part of doing business (make sure to bring your receipt, blood sample, and pristine piece of shit back within 45 minutes or we can only offer store credit).
when too many people get involved in finding solutions without a problem... the result is a business requirement. so while some companies (i'll restrain from naming names) are losing customers by requiring such form fields as industry or address in order to merely register, others are working to eliminate every extraneous input and gesture so that they can get you engaged as quickly as possible. right on cue, alex from dwolla emailed me saying that they launched a new homepage with registration now simply requiring email and password.
when people acquiesce to the way things have always been done... a business requirement fails to die. so while the rest of us fight the good fight to rid needless "business requirements" from existence, it's important to recognize needless bureaucracy -- and maybe even give in to get the deal done.