Requirements management is an essential aspect of product development. It is the process of defining and documenting all the needs, wants and limitations that a product should have. Requirements management helps to ensure that the product will meet customer expectations before it is released.
What is requirements management?
Your requirements management is probably one of the most critical parts of your business. However, some business owners still have just some insight about it. Without delving into boring terms on requirements management definition, this is how you communicate with your team and stakeholders, keep track of what everyone is doing, and ensure everyone knows where things are at any given time.
Requirements management is all about making sure that everyone who needs to know about something knows about it and then making sure they can get access to whatever they need to know. When a client asks for something new or a stakeholder wants an update, you know where to turn. You also want to ensure that all of these pieces of information are easy to find and easy to access so that you save everyone’s time when they need them most.
To help you with this process, we have created the following list of requirements management tips.
1. Clear and complete requirements
If you are a software tester, you are in charge of testing whether the requirements have been met with respect to the software under test (SUT). This means that you must know how to perform requirements management activities correctly to achieve a successful outcome for your tests.
Having a broad workforce on board that can recognise important details early is another practice for successful requirements management.
2. Veni, vedi, vici — validate and approve
Stakeholders must validate and approve requirements before they are implemented into the project plan. Before starting a project, the stakeholders (customers and decision-makers) must be convinced that the system requirements are correct. In the end, work on a project is continuous and iterative, often involving modifications to the views of different stakeholders.
You are responsible for ensuring everyone understands what you intend to develop before any work commences. This enables the “upfront” effort required to gather all stakeholders’ inputs successfully, and their approvals will take away a lot of uncertainty later on.
You can use a requirements management tool to keep track of all requirements, changes, and interactions and actualise workflow when it is necessary.
For example, you can also use the PRINCE2 method, which focuses on risk management and consistently delivers tangible products. If a product is not produced according to specifications, then it cannot be said that projects were developed under PRINCE2.
3. Requirements continuous validation
Requirements should be reviewed regularly to ensure they are valid and relevant throughout the project’s lifecycle. Otherwise, you run a chance to overlook minor but vital details that can cause a bigger problem.
This is usually done by a requirements analyst, who is responsible for gathering the requirements from stakeholders, creating an initial list of requirements, organising them into a logical structure, and communicating those requirements to developers.
4. Communication is the key
Reasonable requirements management practices will help your team deliver successful projects on time and within budget by avoiding rework due to stakeholder misunderstandings or conflicts between teams working on different parts of the same project (for example, architecture vs development).
Meetings with the stakeholders and customers help feel the pulse of the project’s direction. Regularly reviewing all the details and issues associated with each requirement will reveal possible changes in strategy.
5. Keep documentation relevant 24/7
One final practice is critical for success and probably the most overlooked element; document each requirement and keep it with the other project artefacts until launch.
Some tools offer this functionality. For example, in aqua ALM, while creating an item or requirement, you can create dependencies between them and attach files, notes, and other attributes. So everything is connected and documented, which is the primary goal of this practice.
Many things can make or break requirements management. It all boils down to the experience each member of your team has, and it is an area of design and development that no one person can cover in their entirety. There is a time-lapse between planning and executing a feature that allows teams to gain more insight into how effective each piece will be once it is built.
Remember that requirements are one piece of the puzzle. They certainly play a vital role in agile development but can not be the sole focus. Daily communication and collaboration between stakeholders, developers, testers and customers are just as crucial to the success of your software project. Whether you’re in an agile or waterfall environment, these requirements management pieces of advice will help you achieve success on your project