Friday, March 22, 2019

Entries for September 2009


Requirements gathering activities should be scheduled by your project plan like any other project related activities. If these activities don't track to the schedule, whether because the schedule isn't feasible or some other reason, it will cause all the dependant activities to slip. Once you've chosen your requirements gathering approach and the stakeholders you'll meet with to gather the requirements, you can schedule the meetings, or interviews, or other methods for soliciting the requirements.

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There are various ways and means by which requirements for software development projects can be gathered and documented.  Before you start documenting the requirements you might want to be sure if you have captured all the required information.

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Given the economic downturn, "cheaper, better, faster" seems to be a universal mantra in business. To stay competitive, organizations must continually strive to be more agile and develop higher-quality solutions more quickly-despite obstacles such as geographically distributed teams, limited budgets and resources, quick delivery times, language barriers and government regulations. These challenges require teams to consider new ways of doing business so they can be more responsive to frequent business changes.

One area that businesses can optimize is their software development processes. If they want to be competitive, companies don't have the luxury of long development lifecycles. To keep timeframes short, organizations must foster a collaborative environment by making tasks and responsibilities transparent and breaking down silos across the development lifecycle.

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The requirements you capture must be stated in business terms, must be clearly stated, must be concise, and must be feasible. To ensure that requirements are clearly stated, you should have them proof read by someone external to the project (or at least someone not familiar with the requirements you've captured).

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As many of you know, I have been active in the Information Technology (IT) industry for a long time now. It's a strange business and, frankly, sometimes I wish I had never gotten involved with it. Nonetheless, there are a lot of problems associated with IT, such as computer performance, capacity planning, security, networking, disaster recovery, but probably the biggest problem is requirements definition. In other words, accurately defining the information needs of the end-user. The industry is actually quite good at designing and writing software, developing data bases, and acquiring hardware, but after all these years they still have trouble understanding what the user needs to run his or her part of the business. Consequently, the wrong solution is inevitably delivered to the user, thereby causing a lot of wasted time and money reworking the solution to fit the need.

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As the process of capturing and documenting business requirements matures, there is often a watershed moment when an organization must decide whether to perform traceability of requirements as part of that process. Most companies involved with a formal methodology for software development utilize some degree of traceability; but those not familiar with it could be put off by the overhead of requirements management (RM), of which traceability is a component. Therefore, it helps to understand some of the value aspects of instituting traceability.

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