In the product development process, requirements are the foundation to success. They define what a company is trying to build. And they identify what a product needs to do and what it should look like. As the number and complexity of products increases, so do the requirements to support them. Today’s sophisticated products and software applications often take hundreds or thousands of requirements to define their scope so exercising successful requirements management is more important than ever.
It takes an entire team to define and track product requirements. A product manager, for example, will request a feature that describes how the product will solve a problem. A designer will write requirements to illustrate how the product should look or perform from a usability or user interface standpoint. A business analyst will want to make sure the product is built to specific technical or organizational constraints.
Mismanagement of stakeholder needs results in drawn out project timelines and increased costs. According to Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute, 60 percent to 80 percent of the cost of software development is in rework. Development teams can end up wasting their budgets on efforts they didn’t do right the first time. In fact, it can cost up to 100 times more to correct a defect later in the development process, after it’s been coded, than when it’s still in written form, according to Borland Software Corporation.
On the other hand, successful requirements management can eliminate 50 percent to 80 percent of project defects. The entire team can work seamlessly together because everyone is aware of the goals, feedback and decisions. And that increases the likelihood of completing the product on time and within budget.
To effectively manage requirements, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of these four primary principles:
- Planning good requirements
- Collaboration and buy-in
- Traceability and change management
- Quality assurance
Learn more about these fundamental pillars in our white paper, Requirements Management 101.