You need a way of documenting your requirements for your project team. Stakeholders are also often asked to sign off their requirements as a confirmation of what they desire. Often this is where money starts to change hands.
Documenting requirements is much more than just the process of writing down the requirements as the user sees them. The requirements specification is an essential link in the total design of the whole project and attempts to give meaning to the overall goals of the project.
Whatever form of requirements documentation is used it should cover not only what decisions have been made but also why they have been made. Understanding the reasoning that was used to arrive at a decision is critical in avoiding repetition. For example, if a particular feature has been excluded because it simply is not feasible, that fact needs to be recorded. If it is not, then the project risks wasted work and repetition when a stakeholder requests the feature be reinstated later in the project.
Documenting the decision process is also useful from a stakeholder’s point of view. It allows the stakeholders to better understand what to expect from the final product. A basic statement of requirements without any underlying discussion can be difficult for a layman or end-user to understand.
Nick Jenkins is an IT manager with 10 years experience in software development, project management and software testing. He’s worked in various fields of IT development in Australia, Britain and the USA and occasionally he learned something along the way. Now he lives on the banks of the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia, and he publishes the odd guide to help aspiring IT professionals. Nick’s website can be found at www.nickjenkins.net.
- A Project Management Primer - Scope - Requirements Capture - Introduction
- A Project Management Primer - Scope - Documenting Requirements - SMART requirements
- A Project Management Primer - Scope - Requirements
- A Project Management Primer - Scope - Requirements - Stakeholders
- Documenting a Project Life Cycle Management Process