Requirements management - definition, methods and example.
Requirements management and its importance for project management and product development.
In this article we will explain what requirements management is, why it is needed and what methods and tools can be used to effectively elicit, document, analyse and manage requirements. We will also go into more detail about the different types of requirements and the process of requirements management.
Before going into more detail, it is important to define the term "requirements management". Requirements management refers to the process of identifying, capturing, documenting, analysing and managing new requirements for a project or product. It is about understanding stakeholder requirements, structuring them in a consistent way and ensuring that they are clearly defined and verifiable.
A requirement defines a specific function, feature, performance or behaviour expected of a system. It is a formal statement or description that reflects the needs, expectations or technical specifications of a user or customer. Requirements specify what the system should do or what features it should have. They serve as the basis for the design, development and verification of the system. Requirements enable the goals of the system and the expectations of all parties involved to be understood and communicated. They can include both functional requirements (what the system should do) and non-functional requirements (how the system should be or behave). A good requirements definition is clear, understandable, unambiguous and quantifiable.
Regardless of the number of criteria required for a product, all should have the following characteristics:
These criteria must be met in order to achieve your business or product goals.
The criteria are detailed and have a clear purpose.
The criteria are clearly formulated and easy to understand.
The criteria accurately describe the challenge or need in question. It should precisely define the intended outcome without leaving room for interpretation.
The requirement should be technically and practically feasible. It should be consistent with the existing resources, technologies and constraints of the project.
The criteria should be verifiable through user testing (acceptance testing, scenario-based testing, etc.) or other methods.
Suppose a system needs to be able to send an email confirmation to the user for each completed order.
Requirements engineering is crucial for the success of a project or product development. By systematically capturing, documenting and analysing requirements, risks can be minimised and problems can be identified at an early stage. It enables efficient planning, prioritisation and implementation of requirements, which in turn leads to customer satisfaction and successful projects.
Effective requirements management offers a number of benefits for companies and projects:
Requirements elicitation is the first step in requirements management and involves gathering information about stakeholder requirements. This can be done through interviews, workshops, questionnaires or other methods. The goal is to identify and understand all relevant requirements.
After elicitation, the requirements must be documented. This can take the form of requirements specifications, user stories, requirements catalogues or other artefacts. The documentation ensures that all requirements are clearly and unambiguously recorded.
The requirements analysis includes the evaluation and testing of the requirements for feasibility, comprehensibility and realisability. Potential risks are identified and decisions about feasibility are made.
In change management, requirements changes are tracked, analysed and managed. Changes can occur throughout the project life cycle and need to be carefully reviewed, prioritised and implemented to minimise the impact on the project.
There are two basic approaches to requirements management: classical and agile. Classical requirements management follows a sequential and plan-driven approach, while agile requirements management is more flexible and responsive.
Requirements management is an important task that can be taken on by different stakeholders and team members. Typically, the product owner or business analyst is responsible for requirements management. It is important that all stakeholders communicate well with each other and work together to define and implement the requirements.
User requirements refer to the needs and requirements of the end users of the product or system. These requirements are crucial for usability and customer satisfaction.
System requirements are technical requirements that the product or system must meet. They include performance requirements, security requirements, compatibility requirements and other technical specifications.
Business requirements describe the goals and requirements of the company or organisation. They are usually overarching and influence the entire project planning and product development.
The first step in requirements management is requirements gathering. This includes gathering information, conducting interviews and workshops, and involving stakeholders.
After requirements have been captured, they need to be analysed and evaluated. This involves reviewing the requirements for feasibility, understandability and viability.
In this step, the requirements are defined clearly and unambiguously. This includes writing requirements specifications, user stories or other documents. Once defined, the requirements must be captured in appropriate documents, e.g. a requirements specification or a requirements specification document.
Prioritising requirements is an important step to ensure that the most important requirements are implemented first. This can be done using criteria such as cost, benefit, risk or customer requirements.
The final step in requirements management should be to create a plan for managing change. Changes can occur during the project life cycle and should be carefully analysed and implemented to minimise the impact on the project.
Requirements management is an essential part of project management and product development. It provides a structured and efficient method to capture, document, analyse and manage requirements. A systematic approach can minimise risks, identify problems early and maximise customer satisfaction. Therefore, requirements management is an essential success factor for the realisation of projects and the development of products.
There are a variety of tools that can be used in requirements management to support the process of gathering, analysing, documenting and managing requirements. Here are some common tools:
These tools provide functionality to capture, document, manage and track requirements. Examples include IBM DOORS, Jama Software, HP ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) and Atlassian Jira.
These tools support collaboration and communication in teams to discuss, refine and validate requirements. Examples include Confluence, Microsoft Teams / SharePoint and Google Docs.
These tools enable the creation of interactive prototypes or mock-ups to visualise and validate requirements. Examples include Axure RP, Balsamiq and Adobe XD.
These tools enable the creation of diagrams such as use case diagrams, flowcharts and entity relationship diagrams to visualise and analyse requirements. Examples include Microsoft Visio, Lucidchart and draw.io.
These tools help ensure traceability of requirements throughout the development process. They allow requirements to be linked to other artefacts such as test cases, design documents and code. Examples include IBM Rational RequisitePro, Jama Software and Visure Requirements.
These tools are specifically designed for requirements management in agile development environments and offer features such as user story management, task tracking and collaboration. Examples include Atlassian Jira, Microsoft Azure DevOps and VersionOne.
These tools support the integration of requirements with the testing process and enable the traceability of test cases to requirements. Examples include HP ALM, IBM Rational Quality Manager and TestRail.
These tools offer different functions and are usually tailored to different use cases and organisational structures. When choosing a tool, it is important to consider the specific requirements of the project and the needs of the team.
Also perhaps of interest:
Blog article: Project management simple and efficient