Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Entries for the 'Requirements Definition' Category


In the previous article in this series, I described several conditions in which writing less detailed requirements is appropriate. However, there are several situations in which recording only high-level requirements information increases the project’s risk. When you encounter situations such as the ones described in this article (adapted from my book More about Software Requirements), expect to spend more time than average developing detailed requirements specifications.

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In the first article in this series, I pointed out that there’s no easy answer to the question of how detailed the requirements need to be. Instead, I can present a thought process the business analyst can use to assess the appropriate level of detail for each case.

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Recently I was chatting at a wine tasting event with a couple of lawyers, who I had just met. One was surprisingly inquisitive about my work in the software requirements arena. Apparently she was working on case involving software at that very time. At one point she asked me, “How do you know how detailed to make the requirements?” It’s an insightful question, one that even experienced business analysts often ask me.


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The optimal path to mature requirements practices is often obscured by misinformation. Register now to see how to make significant operational improvement in requirements maturity and select a path based on a strong foundation of research and quantified success.

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This session provides attendees with hands on techniques for determining the outcome of their projects before the project really gets rolling. This session is about facts, and presents extensive research from IAG’s new Business Analysis Benchmark Study to help business analysts and project managers build a predictive risk assessment model. This session puts the intake and requirements gathering process of the project lifecycle under the microscope to determine what actions Business Analysts and Project Managers can take to more consistently achieve a successful outcome on their projects.

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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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From a developer's standpoint, few things are more frustrating than having to make lots of calls and research to learn what to create because the requirements are ambiguous. From an analyst's view, few things are more frustrating than having your requirements misunderstood. Yet so often, requirements are ambiguous to their readers, despite the writer's best efforts.

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Gathering and managing requirements are fundamental challenges in project management. Most successful projects have high quality project requirements. Projects can fail due to poor requirements at any time during the project lifecycle without effective requirements management. The Project Manager needs to assess and understand the uniqueness of the requirements gathering process for his/her individual project.

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