It would be nice if requirements gathering was as simple as asking your customers and stakeholders what they want their system to do. Unfortunately, it’s never that straightforward.
In most cases, stakeholders are not aware of all the alternatives that exist when it comes to developing a specific product. Immersed in the current status quo, their vision tends to be limited. It’s hard for users to detach from the way they’re currently doing things—to imagine possibilities that are a significant departure from what they have now.
Furthermore, there’s no silver bullet. No single requirement gathering technique will help you elicit a complete set of requirements that will fill every gap and stand up to scrutiny during validation of custom software development.
WHAT IS REQUIREMENTS GATHERING?
Requirements gathering is a crucial part of any custom software development project, large or small. It is essential to understanding and fulfilling the needs of the customers.
The process of requirement gathering for your software solution include identifying and documenting the necessary requirements of customers, users, stakeholders etc. related to the project. This knowledge will be used to develop solutions in the form of products, services, software etc.
Methods used to gather this data for your software solution may include techniques such as interviewing, brainstorming, focus groups, questionnaires etc.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF REQUIREMENTS
The main types of requirements are:
· Functional Requirements
· Performance Requirements
· System Technical Requirements
STEPS OF REQUIREMENT GATHERING
Step 1: Understand Pain Behind the Requirement
Step 2: Eliminate Language Ambiguity
Step 3: Identify Corner Cases
Step 4: Write User Stories
Step 5: Create a Definition Of “Done”
TECHNIQUES FOR GATHERING REQUIREMENTS
- One-on-one interviews: Sit down with the client and ask them what they need. Asking open-ended questions and getting the client talking about their hopes for the project is a good way to understand their needs.
- Group interviews: Similar to the one-on-one, but with a group of people, the same types of questions are asked, but with more of the users in the room, they may pick up on other’s statements and expand or correct them. This can be helpful, but too many cooks spoil the broth and these meetings can stray from the goal.
- Use of questionnaires: Providing questionnaires to the customer to fill out can be a good starting point or supplemental approach to interviewing.
- Use cases: A use case of a story about how a certain process in the software should work, they may be easier for users to communicate clearly.
- Brainstorming: Brainstorming is used in requirement gathering to get as many ideas as possible from group of people. Generally used to identify possible solutions to problems, and clarify details of opportunities. The following basic rules for brainstorming ensure better results:
o Start out by clearly stating the objective of the brainstorming session
o Generate as many ideas as possible
o Let your imagination soar
o Do not allow criticism or debate while you are gathering information
o After you have gathered information, reshape and combine ideas
- Document analysis: Reviewing the documentation of an existing system can help when creating AS–IS process document, as well as driving gap analysis for scoping of migration projects. In an ideal world, we would even be reviewing the requirements that drove creation of the existing system – a starting point for documenting current requirements. Nuggets of information are often buried in existing documents that help us ask questions as part of validating requirement completeness.
- Prototyping: Prototyping is a relatively modern technique for gathering requirements. In this approach, you gather preliminary requirements that you use to build an initial version of the solution – a prototype. You show this to the client, who then gives you additional requirements. You change the application and cycle around with the client again. This repetitive process continues until the product meets the critical mass of business needs or for an agreed number of iterations.
- Reverse engineering: When a migration project does not have access to sufficient documentation of the existing system, reverse engineering will identify what the system does. It will not identify what the system should do, and will not identify when the system does the wrong thing.
As a software developer, there are many more techniques and methods of gathering good requirements; the above are only a few. There are many online resources for requirements gathering and development methodologies in general. When it comes to application development, a development team should be versed in how to gather as many of the requirements to start developing a software product.
Cost and time proved to be the two most important factors when determining which method is to be used. Many methods are used in supplement of each other.
Effective requirements gathering can help ensure your project’s success. We hope that by reading this article, we have helped you take control of all aspects of your requirements. We aim to provide the best requirement gathering processes by offering a wide variety of innovative steps listed above.
About 5280 Software LLC:
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