Importance of Clearly Defined Requirements
Imagine building a house without a blueprint.
Imagine assembling a car without knowing how the individual parts connect.
Imagine cooking a dish without knowing the ingredients.
Sounds awful, right?
This goes the same for website development. Imagine developing a software without requirements. How do you start? What do you develop? What do your stakeholders expect?
This is why it's important that requirements are clear before developing a software. The project team has to know what they are building, why they are building it, and what to expect at the end.
What are the benefits of defining requirements?
- Clear goals and objectives
- Common understanding on what the software must do
- To have more accurate estimates (time, cost, resources)
- To be able to decide on the best solution
- To ensure that end-result meets client's expectations
- Avoid rework
- Produce a good quality software
How do you get requirements?
- Conduct workshops with business owners, stakeholders, and project team
- Come prepared for the workshops - Research before hand
- Be clear with the agenda
- Ask, ask, ask!
- Every client is unique so try different requirements elicitation techniques such as:
- Requirements workshop
- Focus group
- Summarize requirements gathered and get client's confirmation if understanding is the same
- Keep an open mind
- Think out of the box
How do you know if the requirements are clear enough?
I always refer back to the SMART foundation.
T- ime based
Always remember, if you don't understand the requirements, it's highly likely that other people don't understand as well. Keep digging!
So, what now?
It is great to have clear requirements, but it's useless if these clear requirements are just forgotten and lost. So the next logical thing to do is Document.
There are many forms of documentation which includes the following:
- Business Requirements Document
- Functional Specifications Document
- Use Case Document
- Epics and User Stories
- Software Specification Document
Each document has its own purpose and should be used appropriately depending on your project's needs.
To know more about the importance of documentation, read The Importance of Documentation