Requirements management is about keeping your team in-sync and providing visibility to what is going on within a project.
It is critical to the success of your projects for your whole team to understand what you are building and why – that’s how we define requirements management. The “why” is important because it provides context to the goals, feedback and decisions being made about the requirements.
This increases predictability of future success and potential problems, allowing your team to quickly course correct any issues and successfully complete your project on time and within budget. As a starting point, it’s valuable for everyone involved to have a basic understanding of what requirements are, and how to manage them.
A requirement is a condition or capability needed by a stakeholder to solve a problem or achieve an objective. A condition or capability that must be met or possessed by a system or system. Component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed documents.
A requirement can be expressed with text, sketches, detailed mockups or models, whatever information best communicates to an engineer what to build, and to a QA manager what to test. Depending on your development process, you might use different terminology to capture requirements.
High-level requirements are sometimes referred to simply as needs or goals. Within software development practices, requirements might be referred to as “use-cases”, “features” or “functional requirements”. Even more specifically within agile development methodologies, requirements are often captured as epics and stories.
Regardless of what your team calls them or what process you use; requirements are essential to the development of all products. Without clearly defining requirements you could produce an incomplete or defective product. Throughout the process there can be many people involved in defining requirements.
A stakeholder might request a feature that describes how the product will provide value in solving a problem. A designer might define a requirement based on how the final product should look or perform from a usability or user interface standpoint.
A business analyst might create a system requirement that adheres to specific technical or organizational constraints. For today’s sophisticated products and software applications being built, it often takes hundreds or thousands of requirements to sufficiently define the scope of a project or a release. Thus, it’s imperative that the team be able to access, collaborate, update, and test each requirement through to completion, as requirements naturally change and evolve over time during the development process.
Now that we’ve defined the value of requirements management at a high-level, let’s go deeper into the four fundamentals that every team member and stakeholder can benefit from understanding −
● Planning good requirements: “What the heck are we building?”
● Collaboration and buy-in: “Just approve the spec, already!”
● Traceability & change management: “Wait, do the developers know that changed?”
● Quality assurance: “Hello, did anyone test this thing?”
Does everyone know what we’re building and why? That’s the value of requirements management.