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vish soneone would explain requirenenls nanagenenl in plain
English` Have slakeholders lhal could benelil lron underslanding lhe value al
a high-level` Your execulives nighl nol care aboul C, BABOK or lhe nilly
grilly delails ol lunclional specilicalions, bul lhey do care aboul delivering
whal was pronised lo cusloners on line. And lhal's lhe value ol requirenenls
nanagenenl.
Too ollen projecls lail due lo poorly nanaged requirenenls. Al lhe core
ol lhe issue is lhal projecls are increasingly conplex, changes occur and
connunicalion is challenging. n lhis paper we will discuss lhe signilicance ol
requirenenls nanagenenl wilhoul using induslry jargon, as well as, lhe lour
lundanenlals every lean nenber and slakeholder needs lo know. o Ph.D.
required, no 2-week cerlilicalion course, jusl lhe basics lo help your lean deliver
whal you pronised.
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Fequirenenls nanagenenl is aboul keeping your lean in-sync and providing visibilily lo whal
is going on wilhin a projecl. l is crilical lo lhe success ol your projecls lor your whole lean lo
undersland whal you are building and why lhal's how we deline requirenenls nanagenenl.
The "why" is inporlanl because il provides conlexl lo lhe goals, leedback and decisions being
nade aboul lhe requirenenls. This increases prediclabilily ol lulure success and polenlial
problens, allowing your lean lo quickly course correcl any issues and successlully conplele
your projecl on line and wilhin budgel. As a slarling poinl, il's valuable lor everyone involved lo
have a basic underslanding ol whal requirenenls are, and how lo nanage lhen.
Lel's slarl wilh lhe basics. A requirenenl is a docunenl |a.k.a. arlilacl) lhal delines
whal you are looking lo achieve or creale il idenlilies whal a producl needs lo do, whal il
should look like, and explains ils lunclionalily and value. A requirenenl can be expressed
wilh lexl, skelches, delailed nockups or nodels, whalever inlornalion besl connunicales
lo an engineer whal lo build, and lo a OA nanager whal lo lesl.
Depending on your developnenl process, you nighl use dillerenl lerninology lo caplure
requirenenls. High-level requirenenls are sonelines relerred lo sinply as "needs" or
"goals". vilhin sollware developnenl praclices, requirenenls nighl be relerred lo as
"use cases", "lealures" or "lunclional requirenenls". Even nore specilically wilhin agile
developnenl nelhodologies, requirenenls are ollen caplured as "epics" and "slories".
Fegardless ol whal your lean calls lhen or whal process
you use, requirenenls are essenlial lo lhe developnenl
ol all producls. vilhoul clearly delining requirenenls
you could produce an inconplele or deleclive producl.
Throughoul lhe process lhere can be nany people
involved in delining requirenenls. A slakeholder nighl
requesl a lealure lhal describes how lhe producl will
provide value in solving a problen. A designer nighl
deline a requirenenl based on how lhe linal producl
should look or perlorn lron a usabilily or user inlerlace
slandpoinl. A business analysl nighl creale a syslen
requirenenl lhal adheres lo specilic lechnical or
organizalional conslrainls.
For loday's sophislicaled producls and sollware applicalions being buill, il ollen lakes
hundreds or lhousands ol requirenenls lo sullicienlly deline lhe scope ol a projecl or a
release. Thus, il's inperalive lhal lhe lean be able lo access, collaborale, updale, and lesl
each requirenenl lhrough lo conplelion, as requirenenls nalurally change and evolve over
line during lhe developnenl process.
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ow lhal we've delined lhe value ol requirenenls nanagenenl al a high-level, lel's go
deeper inlo lhe lour lundanenlals lhal every lean nenber and slakeholder can benelil lron
underslanding:
/0+ 12,((&(-+-334+"#$%&"#'#()*5+ "vhal lhe heck are we building`"
!0+ 6322,73",)&3(+,(4+7%89&(5 "Jusl approve lhe spec, already!"
.0+ :",;#,7&2&)8+<+;=,(-#+',(,-#'#()5+"vail, do lhe developers know lhal changed`"
>0+ ?%,2&)8+,**%",(;#5 "Hello, did anyone lesl lhis lhing`"
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So whal nakes a good requirenenl` A good requirenenl should be valuable and aclionable,
il should deline a need as well as provide a palhway lo a solulion. Everyone on lhe lean
should undersland whal il neans. Fequirenenls vary in conplexily. They can be rough ideas
skelched on a whileboard lo slruclured "shall" slalenenls. They can be parl ol a group wilh
high-level requirenenls broken down inlo sub-requirenenls. They nay also include very
delailed specilicalions lhal include a sel ol lunclional requirenenls describing lhe behavior or
conponenls ol lhe end producl.
Cood requirenenls need lo be concise and specilic, and should answer lhe queslion, "whal
do we need`" ralher lhan, "how do we lullill a need`" Cood requirenenls ensure lhal all
slakeholders undersland lheir parl ol lhe plan, il parls are unclear or nisinlerpreled lhe linal
producl could be deleclive or lail.
!
Prevenling lailure or nisinlerprelalion ol requirenenls
can be aided by receiving leedback lron lhe lean conlinuously lhroughoul lhe process as
requirenenls evolve. Conlinuous collaboralion and buy-in wilh everyone is a key lo success.
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s everyone in lhe loop` Do we have approval on lhe requirenenls lo nove lorward` These
queslions cone up during developnenl cycles. l would be greal il everyone could agree on
requirenenls, bul lor large projecls wilh nany slakeholders, lhis does nol usually happen.
Trying lo gel everyone in agreenenl can cause decisions lo be delayed, or worse, nol nade
al all. Caining consensus on every decision is nol always easy. And in praclice, you don'l
necessarily wanl "consensus," you wanl "buy-in" lron lhe group and approval lron lhose in
conlrol so you can nove lhe projecl lorward. vilh consensus, you are lrying lo gel everyone
lo conpronise and agree on lhe decision. vilh buy-in, you are lrying lo gel people lo back
lhe besl solulion, nake a snarl decision and do whal is necessary lo nove lorward. You
don'l need everyone lo agree lhal lhe decision is lhe besl. You need everyone lo supporl lhe
decision.
2
Tean collaboralion can help in receiving supporl on decisions and in planning good
requirenenls. Collaboralive leans work hard lo nake sure everyone has a slake in projecls and
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provides leedback. Collaboralive leans conlinuously share ideas, lypically have beller
connunicalion and lend lo supporl decisions nade because lhere is a shared sense ol
connilnenl and underslanding ol lhe goals ol lhe projecl. l's when developers, leslers
or olher slakeholders leel "oul ol lhe loop" lhal connunicalion issues arise, people gel
lruslraled and projecls gel delayed.
Once everyone has boughl-in lo lhe scope ol work, il is inperalive lor requirenenls lo be
clear and well docunenled. Keeping lrack ol all lhe requirenenls is where lhings gel lricky.
nagine having a lo-do lisl a nile long lhal involves collaboraling wilh nulliple people lo
conplele. How would you keep all lhose ilens slraighl` How would you lrack how one
change lo an ilen would allecl lhe resl ol lhe projecl` This is where lraceabilily and change
nanagenenl add value.
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Fequirenenls lraceabilily is a way lo organize, docunenl and keep lrack ol lhe lile ol all
your requirenenls lron inilial idea lhrough lo lesling. A sinple nelaphor lor lraceabilily is
connecling lhe dols lo idenlily lhe relalionships belween ilens wilhin your projecl. Here is
an exanple ol a connon downslrean llow:
You should be able lo lrace each ol your requirenenls back lo ils original business objeclive.
By lracing requirenenls, you are able lo idenlily lhe ripple ellecl changes have, see il a
requirenenl has been conpleled and whelher il's being lesled properly. Traceabilily and
change nanagenenl provide nanagers peace ol nind and lhe visibilily needed lo anlicipale
issues and ensure conlinuous qualily.
Traceabilily also allows lor coverage lhal provides lhe abilily lo nake sure lhe producl
neels all lhe vilal requirenenls. Because requirenenls cone lron dillerenl people
lron lhe cusloners lo lhe engineers each person conlribules dillerenl requirenenls lo
lhe projecl. By lracing requirenenls, you ensure your enlire lean slays connecled lo lhe
inlerdependencies ol olher ilens and lhe people working on lhose ilens.
anaging change is inporlanl and prevenls "scope creep" wilhin projecls and releases.
Scope relers lo "lhe work lhal needs lo be acconplished lo deliver a producl wilh lhe
specilied lealures and lunclions."
3
Scope creep relers lo unplanned changes in developnenl
lhal occur when requirenenls are nol clearly caplured, underslood and connunicaled. The
benelil ol good requirenenls is a clear underslanding ol lhe end producl and lhe scope
involved. This leads lo a beller developnenl schedule and budgel, which prevenls delays
and cosl overruns.
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Celling requirenenls delivered righl lhe lirsl line can nean beller qualily, lasler
developnenl cycles and higher cusloner salislaclion wilh lhe end producl. Fequirenenls
nanagenenl nol only helps you gel il righl, bul also helps your lean save noney and nany
headaches lhroughoul lhe developnenl process. Concise, specilic requirenenls can help
you delecl and lix problens early, ralher lhan laler when il's nuch nore expensive lo lix.
Fesearch has shown lhal projecl leans can elininale 50-30 percenl ol projecl delecls
by elleclively nanaging requirenenls. n addilion, il can cosl up lo !00 lines nore lo
correcl a delecl laler in lhe developnenl process aller il's been coded, lhan il is lo correcl
early on while a requirenenl.
4
By inlegraling requirenenls nanagenenl inlo your qualily
assurance process, you can help your lean increase elliciency and elininale rework. And,
rework is where nosl ol lhe cosl issues occur. According lo lhe Carnegie ellon Sollware
Engineering nslilule, "60-30 percenl ol lhe cosl ol sollware developnenl is in rework." n
olher words, developnenl leans are wasling lhe najorily ol lheir budgels on ellorls lhal
aren'l perlorned correclly lhe lirsl line. For exanple, a developer codes a lealure based
on an old specilicalion docunenl, only lo learn laler lhal lhe requirenenls lor lhal lealure
changed. These lypes ol issues can be avoided wilh requirenenls nanagenenl besl
praclices.
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Fequirenenls nanagenenl can sound like a conplex discipline, bul when you boil il down
lo a sinple concepl il's really aboul helping leans answer lhe queslion, "Does everyone
undersland whal we're building and why`" Fron lhe business analysls, producl nanagers
and projecl leaders lo lhe developers, OA nanagers and leslers, along wilh lhe slakeholders
and cusloners involved so ollen lhe rool cause ol projecl lailure is a nisunderslanding ol
lhe scope ol lhe projecl.
vhen everyone is collaboraling logelher and has lull conlexl and visibilily lo lhe discussions,
decisions and changes involved wilh lhe requirenenls lhroughoul lhe lilecycle ol lhe projecl,
lhal's when success happens consislenlly and you nainlain conlinuous qualily. Also, lhe
process is snoolher wilh less lriclion and lruslralion along lhe way lor everyone involved.
And, isn'l lhal sonelhing we'd all benelil lron`
To learn nore aboul requirenenls nanagenenl, lrends in sollware developnenl and olher
relaled lopics, be sure lo check oul Jana Sollware's Fesource Cenler al:
hllp://www.janasollware.con/news-resources/whilepapers.php
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Endnoles on arlicles relerenced wilhin Fequirenenls anagenenl !0!.
!. To learn nore aboul good requirenenl and anbiguous lerns lo avoid be sure lo check oul our
"Anbiguous Terns To Avoid" whilepaper.
2. Kupersnilh, Jonalhan. "Don'l Bolher Building Consensus." Business Analysis Tines. 20!!.
veb. 20!!. hllp://www.balines.con/kupe-kupersnilh/donl-bolher-building-consensus.
hlnl>.
3. A Cuide lo lhe Projecl anagenenl Body ol Knowledge. 4lh ed. Projecl anagenenl nsl,
2003. Prinl.
4. "Elleclive Fequirenenls Delinilion and anagenenl." Borland Sollware Corporalion. 2009.
veb. hllp://www.borland.con/resources/en/pdl/solulions/rdn_whilepaper.pdl>.
Olher arlicles we relerenced during our research, and reconnend il you're
inleresled in learning nore.
5. "Business Fequirenenls Analysis." indTools. veb.
hllp://www.nindlools.con/pages/arlicle/newPP_77.hln>.
6. Frederick, Fichard. "nlroduclion lo Fequirenenls - The Crilical Delails Thal ake or Break
a Projecl." Clobal Knowledge. 2007. veb. hllp://www.globalknowledge.lr/PDF/vP_
nlroFequirenenls.pdl>
7. Larson, Elizabelh G Fichard. Projecl Tines. veb. hllp://www.projecllines.con/arlicles/
requirenenls-nanagenenl-!0!.hlnl>.
3. Ludwig Consulling Services, LLC. 2009. veb. hllp://www.jiludwig.con/>.
9. cahon, Chris. "The Full Tean Approach lo anaging Fequirenenls." Search Sollware
Oualily. Serena, veb.
!0. "Feal Feuse lor Fequirenenls." KS. veb. hllp://www.nks.con/resources/dala/
docunenls/whilepapers/inslances/real-reuse-lor-requirenenls-!4>.
!!. Fobin, Coldsnilh F. "Four Tips lor Calhering Fequirenenls lor lhe ew Business Analysl."
Search Sollware Oualily. B, veb.
!2. vikipedia. Fequirenenls anagenenl, Traceabilily, Scope, 20!!. veb.
hllp://www.wikipedia.con>.
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Jana Sollware is lhe leader in collaboralive requirenenls nanagenenl
solulions lor inproving enlerprise collaboralion and nanaging conplex
sollware developnenl projecls. ls veb applicalion, Jana Conlour,
helps organizalions nanage lhe enlire requirenenls nanagenenl
lilecycle lhrough an inluilive, easy-lo-use inlerlace lhal brings people,
process and dala logelher lo ensure sollware qualily is delivered as
specilied.
Cusloners, lron agile slarl-ups lo lhe largesl and nosl sophislicaled
lechnology and T organizalions in lhe world, lurn lo Jana lo help drive
innovalion, inprove lhe decision-naking process and harness lhe
colleclive genius ol all slakeholders involved in building greal sollware.
For nore inlornalion please visil: hllp://www.janasollware.con.
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