Lack of data, rough requirements, uncertain business goals are reasons why software development projects fail. However, it is absolutely in your power to address these issues.

Clear defining functional and non-functional requirements for the project is crucial as this allows you to improve the software development process.

In this blog post, we share information on how writing better project requirements reducing risk and the project’s cost, increasing productivity and delighting clients

Let’s dive in!

What is Software Requirement?

The concept of software requirements seems plain: you choose any issue that your project will solve, think it over, and come up with quite a few requirements for the software.

It seems like everything is simple, right? But it’s not so. There are many issues for discussion:

  • How do you collect requirements?
  • How do you assess the needs and expectations of stakeholder groups? Are there any technical limitations regarding the requirements?
  • How do you determine that work is completed?

This list may seem endless.

While considering these, you will find that software requirements are a pretty wide field of expertise. This involves the process of defining requirements, their analysis, specification, and validation, as well as managing requirements during the entire software development cycle.

Some organizations hire a requirement gathering person. But often the responsibility for the development of requirements is distributed between completely different experts. Business analysts, product owners, managers, and developers may be involved in this process.

Definition of Requirements

The definition of requirements involves requirements collecting and formulating. Some requirements can be determined by consumers. The other can be defined by the system or field of activity for which the product is being developed.

For project management, the definition of requirements is an essential point. It enables you to determine the project volume and set priorities to meet customers’ needs.

What Affects the Requirements?

You can collect the requirements using various sources. For instance:

  • Business goals;
  • Domain knowledge;
  • Stakeholders;
  • Business rules;
  • Operating environment.

But note, by determining the requirements, you should:

  • Pay particular attention to goals. Prioritize requirements and determine the most reasonable ways to achieve project goals.
  • Model real challenges for in-depth requirements’ analysis.
  • Find out the point of view of different stakeholders. Requirements may be conflicting or overlapping. And it’s crucial to find out different stakeholders’ needs, especially during preliminary project planning.
  • Consider the operating environment. This will depend on the organization structure, culture, and in-house policy.

How Requirements Impact the Software Development Process?

Undocumented requirements are a common cause of miscommunication, which leads to rework, changes, and bug fixes. Usually, this guides to disrupted deadlines and costs that increase by a lot very rapidly.

Note, every team member should understand all project development parts in the same way. This is especially important if you outsource software development to a team that is not familiar with your business. Using software requirements spec, you will be sure that developers see all the features as you do.

Why Are Specs and Requirements Important?

Errors Minimizing

Accurately defined product requirements enable developers to recognize and fix bugs at early product development stages. As a result, this leads to a reduction in mistakes and iterations number.

Reducing the Time-to-Value

Errors reducing allows one to decrease the time necessary to finish a project and to achieve the effectiveness of an investment. In a competitive environment, this can be an essential benefit.

Cutting the Development Cost

If the Time & Material contract is the option you chose, the sharply outlined requirements list could be a valuable advantage.

Better User Experience

Solid product requirements allow you to build a solution that will bring additional business value to all the stakeholders. Attempt to include the features users are waiting for.

Amazon provides open access to its AVS product requirements as Alexa’s skill developers should be familiar with user expectations and crucial features of the product. Amazon tells the full guide with functional and non-functional requirements will allow developers to deliver the best user experience. Additionally, this enables to set out the same policy and standards for all developers who are working with the Alexa products.

What If We Don’t Have Any Requirements’ Management System

It’s not necessary to apply a specific system. You can adopt an issue tracking program, project management tools, or a version control system to recorded your requirements.

But if you do not write down the requirements at all, you’re taking a risk.

For instance, some functionality may be omitted or not implemented in the way you wanted to.

Let’s consider another example. Since your business increase, your software will also grow. Thus, it would be advisable to notice somewhere expected project duration and maintain timing.

Classification of Requirements

Requirements Categories

Project requirements are usually grouped into three main categories: business, solution, and stakeholder requirements.

  • Business requirements include information and content on the client’s objectives, target user, and overall needs for the product. At this point, you should find out what the client is looking to achieve with the product. As all decisions will be based on this information, these requirements should be as detailed as possible.
  • Stakeholder requirements assume what users need to have a good experience with the product. At this stage, you should plan a product map, wireframe a layout, consider devices it will be reached from, and use cases. Please note, stakeholders’ needs can be competing hard. This can negatively affect the schedule, budget, and scope of the project if not properly managed.

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  • At the solution requirements stage, everything you decided before should be planned out according to the currently available systems. This type of requirement includes both functional and non-functional requirements.
    • Functional requirements describe something that a product or service is required to do.
    • Non-functional requirements describe how a system is supposed to function.