A company can’t create great software if its teams don’t have systems in place to accept, prioritize and manage requirements.
Development teams need to understand what’s expected of them, how those requirements meet wider business goals and how to break down requirements into achievable tasks.
That’s why an in-depth analysis of requirements management is a core part of our application lifecycle management assessment here at Kingsmen Software.
In this article, we’ll look at:
- Why requirements management is so important to great software development.
- What those processes should look like.
- How we assess a company’s requirements practices as part of our technical due diligence report.
Why Do Organizations Need Mature Requirements Management?
One of the best measures of software success is how well applications meet requirements.
It’s essential that development teams have a way of taking requirements from stakeholders and turning them into actionable tasks. In doing so, a requirements management process allows everyone on the development team to understand and meet expectations.
The process can be sophisticated and complicated. It has many moving parts, requires different tools and loops in people from all departments. But the benefits of a mature requirements management system are significant.
Chief among them is better traceability, says Deepanshu Natani, a senior consultant at Modus Create.
Development teams need task visibility to be able to visualize the interactions and interdependence of requirements. This is particularly important when requirements in complex systems get broken down into smaller and smaller subtasks.
Rather than have these requirements scattered in separate documents, a centralized management tool lets you capture, visualize and trace requirements all in one place.
5 Aspects of Requirements Management We Analyze
To assess a company’s requirements management systems, we analyze their processes, people and tools in the following areas.
Development teams need a method for tracking requirements all the way through the application lifecycle, from acceptance to production. The processes should be well documented, allowing forward and backward task visibility into each requirement and all surrounding activity.
Requirements Workflow Management
Do teams have a process for managing requirements when they come in? They should.
Collecting requirements is essential before and during software projects. Teams also need a way to display those requirements and break them down into manageable tasks.
Software is key here, which is why we look for teams to have both mature processes and tools, and for the people involved to understand how requirements move from acceptance to delivery.
Standard Structure and Acceptance Definitions
Most teams don’t have a well-defined structure for accepting requirements, says Bill Clerici, CEO and partner at Kingsmen Software.
Those that do have established processes that define how development teams accept requests from stakeholders, record those requirements and give feedback to stakeholders once they’ve been completed.
Version Control and History Tracking
Version control is an important part of requirements management.
Developers need to have a way of making sure they are actioning these requirements, and that requires a process for tracking and managing changes to code and the surrounding infrastructure.
The final discipline of requirements management we assess is the extent to which teams can report on their requirements.
This reporting should describe:
- Which requirements have been completed.
- Which are still in the backlog.
- When they are scheduled.
- How long those requirements should take to be delivered.
By establishing such systems, teams gain greater clarity over requirements, are better able to identify potential problems, and enjoy better communication between developers and stakeholders.
Assess Requirements Management With Kingsmen Software
You don’t need deep technical understanding to make sense of our application lifecycle management assessments.
We score each of the disciplines listed above on a range from good to bad, then plot our findings on a heatmap. This allows investors to see at a glance where improvements must be made.