There are several reasons why it may be beneficial to use software for the requirements gathering process. By software we mean an application beyond just a word processor to create a job. We are also explicitly discussing requirements gathering NOT particularly requirements management.
According to this report, 80% of rework can be traced to requirements defects.
Requirements gathering is the process of discovering and documenting the features of an intended product or system. It generally involves understanding some sort of problem and providing a solution for it. To learn more read our other blog ‘What You Need to Know About Requirements Gathering.’
This blog post will demonstrate why using software will benefit the requirements gathering process:
Improving discovery of requirements
The quality of requirements capture often comes down to the ability of the person or team gathering requirements and their experience. One project may be very well defined in detailed whilst another is vague and ill defined because of the variability of people undertaking the task.
An example of this might be someone gathering requirements for a system and recording the following requirement item.
- The user should be able to login
- The user should be able to logout
This might seem simple and straightforward and obviously more details would be provided in a ‘real’ requirements document. However an inexperienced analyst might leave the requirements like this whereas an experienced analyst would add a third requirement:
- The user should have access to a ‘Forget Password’ feature.
Whilst Word templates and checklists can be used to get better requirements coverage, software can be more flexible in the workflow of requirements gathering and features beyond a simple template.
Process and quality improvement
Using a software will standardise the requirements gathering process. By having a consistent routine procedure for teams to follow it will result in more successful and consistent requirements gathering specifications. Much of an organisation’s knowledge can be locked in the heads of their staff. An automated solution to gathering requirements can crystalise the process of requirement capture into a structured process that can be walked through by less trained staff. In this way the organisation can become more resilient to staff changes and maintain a more consistent and better quality requirements gathering process.
More accurate documentation and clarity
Sometimes, even with good templates, requirements gathering can still result in vague requirements. For example the requirement ‘A user can create a new job’ might be a general requirement for a system but if the system has multiple user types (e.g. system admin, office, field worker) then the requirement might never be clear that only certain types of users can perform this task. This can lead to misunderstanding as well as potentially delays and project overruns when this issue is discovered.
Better requirements documentation is another benefit of requirements gathering software. With simple document templates it is possible and easy for someone within the organisation to edit, change or delete parts of a document. Software can ensure that a certain requirements document is always produced and ensure that each section is filled out. Some software can also produce requirements documentation as well as a list of tasks required to produce the software and even estimates.
By having a clear and accurate document outlining the requirements of a project it will mean stakeholders and the development team will reduce the chance of missing vital requirements. Getting better requirements has been proven to reduce the chances of poor estimation, project overruns and possibly failure of the project. .
Requirements gathering software allows multiple stakeholders to contribute to the requirements gathering process in real-time, which can improve communication and collaboration. Some requirements gatherings applications may even allow the non-technical stakeholders to complete the first draft of requirements by asking the relevant questions like a ‘robot business analyst’.
With software, it is easier to track and trace the requirements gathering process, including who contributed what and when. This can help ensure that all requirements are properly documented and accounted for.
Requirements gathering software often includes version control capabilities, which can help manage changes to requirements over time. This can be particularly useful when working with large, complex projects.
Ease of use
Requirements gathering software is typically user-friendly and easy to use, which can make it easier for stakeholders, possibly non-technical, who may not be familiar with the requirements gathering process to contribute.
Using software for the requirements gathering process can help streamline the process and save time compared to using manual methods. An application can produce a set of detailed requirements from a simple yes/no question thus saving the user typing these requirements into a Word document or ticket.
Requirements gathering is a heavily overlooked area of software development. Read more on this in our other blog ‘Requirements Gathering is the Most Undertaught Area in Software Development.’ By using a requirements gathering software you will have a competitive advantage as it will ensure you’re projects are more successful. The average software project overrun is around 33% with much of that being due to requirements issues. Better requirements capture can make organisations more efficient and potentially reduce the cost and timescales of projects.
Overall, using software for the requirements gathering process can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the process, leading to better outcomes for the project.
Our new product Requiment, guides you through prepared questions to determine a full and detailed requirement specification and project scope based on outcomes . This application acts as a virtual business analyst, guiding users through the requirements process, whilst providing insight and recommendations to the user based on the type of application being designed as well as trends from other users. Ultimately, our mission with Requiment is to make the process of software requirements capture more accurate, agile and efficient leading to more successful projects.