Would like to ask:

Does the client project manager have the privilege to force the vendor who is selling a SaaS system to use some specific Business Requirement Document (BRD) format and force them to change their standard format?

Both formats give a detailed requirement but one is more simpler than the other

3 Answers 3


It's reasonable and not unusual for the client to ask a vendor to use a preferred documentation format. Your use of the word "force" is a cause for concern however. If the client-vendor relationship is such that either party has to be forced to do something then that doesn't seem like the kind of collaborative, constructive relationship that leads to a happy outcome.


I suggest this is down to the contractual agreement between you. If the client has a clause written into the contract that documentation will be to the client's own standards, then the supplier must comply. If not, then the supplier may be able to use their own standard format.

The main difficulty that I would perceive is when the client has to approve the requirements document, and this is presented in a format that is not familiar to the client. It may lead to extensive discussions to allow both parties to agree that all requirements have been defined (or not), as some of the requirements may be in different parts of the document, or expressed in different and unfamiliar ways. Depending on the complexity of the requirements, and the number of people within the client team who have to approve the document, you may find that this extends the approval process significantly.

If you are from the supplier side, it would be worth asking the client PM why he or she wants the requirements in a specific format, and why the supplier's standard is not acceptable. If the reason is that the documentation is retained in a repository where all requirements across multiple projects are held in a consistent format, then they may have a strong justification for asking for their standard to be adhered to. However, in my experience, many companies define a standard then allow deviation from it if it is expedient to do so, therefore the "standard" may be more of a target than an absolute necessity.


The short answer is yes. The longer answer requires a peek at the contract. In some cases, the seller owns the deliverables and the buyer licenses to use them. In that case, the seller typically defines finish for the deliverable which includes format and standards. But the contract would explicitly indicate deliverable ownership. Also, if the customer owns the deliverable, there could be an explicit term that causes the seller to own the format of the deliverable. And it has to be explicit.

In all other cases, the customer gets to have what it's paying for. If their format causes risk or other costs the seller would absorb, then you have an issue to escalate to negotiate a solution. If you think you have a case for that, let your contracts department do its thing. If not, then you will have to adjust to their standard.

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