Tag Archive for: Writing Requirements

Requirements Management and Traceability

This is a recap of our press release announcing The Essential Guide to Requirements Management and Traceability.

Jama Software®, the leading requirements management and requirements traceability solution provider has released The Essential Guide to Requirements Management and Traceability – a comprehensive microsite that helps engineers gain access to information on best practices related to requirements management and requirements traceability.

Requirements management is the process of gathering, analyzing, verifying, and validating the needs and requirements for the given product or system being developed. Successful requirements management ensures that completed deliverables meet the expectations of the stakeholders. Requirements can be managed using documents, however, complex systems or products in highly regulated industries mitigate risk by using trusted requirements management tools.

“Jama Software is committed to enabling system engineering excellence,” said Tom Tseki, Jama Software’s Chief Revenue Officer. “Practitioners can use this comprehensive nine-chapter guide to learn and follow best practices across all aspects of the systems development process.”

Visit The Essential Guide to Requirements Management and Traceability to take a deep dive into the following topics and more:

  • Best practices for writing requirements
  • Requirements traceability – and why it matters
  • Requirements gathering and management processes
  • Evaluating requirements management tools and software
  • The requirements validation and verification process
  • Meeting regulatory compliance and industry standards
  • Key product development terms and definitions

The Essential Guide to Requirements Management and Traceability is live and can be found HERE

Read the entire press release here

SRS Documents

Imagine that you’re in charge of designing a 17-story building—but the blueprints are missing. Moving forward without this essential document would put the entire project at risk for serious errors. Launching a new software project is similar in that without a blueprint, you’ll likely produce a system that lacks the necessary software functionality and isn’t aligned with the customer’s needs. Clear requirements, such as those included in a system requirement specifications (SRS) document, create a foundation that ensures your team delivers the right product and avoids expensive reworks.  

But where should you start? In this article, we’ll explain details about SRS documents and how to use them, and we’ll provide examples to get you on the path to success.  

What is a System Requirements Specification (SRS) Document?  

The SRS document is focused on what the software needs to do and how it must perform. It lays the important groundwork so that every person involved with the project understands the most crucial details.  

An SRS document outlines the behaviors, functions, and capabilities required of the system, along with any potential constraints. Functional and nonfunctional requirements are included. Design suggestions and information outside the customer’s requirements are not included.  

Approval is received from all necessary stakeholders, showing that they clearly understand the project requirements and everyone agrees. In a sense, the SRS document functions as an insurance policy that any party can refer to in case of uncertainty.  

Why Use SRS Documents?

Using an SRS document ensures that specifics around a project are crystal clear, mitigating the risk of wasted time and potential reworks. Important benefits of using this type of document include: 

  • Providing Valuable Customer Feedback. An SRS document is the customer’s confirmation that your organization understands the problems that need to be solved and how the software must behave to address the challenges. Visuals such as charts and tables can provide additional clarity.  
  • Breaking Work Into Smaller Pieces. SRS documents contain a large amount of information, but they ultimately break problems into smaller, more manageable parts.  
  • Serving as a Parent Document. The SRS serves as a parent document to any additional documents that follow its creation. The scope of work, software design specifications and other documents often leverage what is highlighted in the SRS document. Plus, it can serve as a product validation check. Did we do it right? Check the SRS document 

The SRS document assists with identifying problems earlier in the development process, which helps manage time more effectively. It’s far easier, for example, to update specifications before any development has begun, versus later in the process.  

SRS Document Format: How is a System Requirements Specification Document Written? 

Similar to following a recipe, there are several important components, or ingredients, in an SRS document. A good document needs to answer a few critical questions, such as:

  • What should the software do?
  • How should it behave?
  • What are the performance requirements? 
  • Are there any constraints that need to be noted? And if so, what are they?  

A good starting point is an SRS outline. A rough outline of the various sections can help you get ready to fill in the important details. Consider the following:  

  • Create an Introduction. The introduction addresses what the software needs to do (and what it should not do). The development team and product owners should be involved in writing this part of the plan. Why does the product need to be built? What challenges does it solve? And who is going to use the product? Additionally, the SRS introduction might contain an overview of what is included within the document.  
  • Write a General Description. Focus on the functionality of the product. Define the required hardware and user interfaces. What do end users expect the software to do? What are the various functionalities? Ultimately, this section will focus on system interfaces, user interfaces, hardware interfaces, software interfaces and more. Additionally, any important assumptions need to be included.  
  • Include Specific Requirement Specifications. This section examines specific details about the product so it’s easier to design and validate that it has met requirements. It describes all inputs that the software must handle, highlights any required outcomes and clearly defines any necessary integrations. Performance criteria should also be included, as well as any software system attributes, such as readability, availability, security, profitability and more.  

Once you have the basic outline, you can start filling it out with the help of your team and client. Upon completion, get final approval. Everyone important to the project needs to review and approve the final version of the document.  

Requirement specifications included with the SRS document are diverse, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all template. However, a general software requirements template such as this one can be used to create the “bones” of your document. You can then fill in the details as you go.  

Software requirements specification document template

What Should Not be Included in a System Requirements Specification Document? 

As you become more experienced at writing SRS documents, the process will become much faster. However, in the beginning, it helps to have a list of common mistakes to avoid. Consider the following:  

  • Failing to Include a Complete Dictionary. Does your SRS document include jargon that only people in a specific industry understand? If so, create a dictionary section for easy viewing and include definitions of any terms not commonly understood. 
  • Creating Confusion by Mixing Concepts. Keep your document organized and be careful to present information to readers in a logical flow. Avoid mixing concepts throughout the document so that you don’t create confusion.
  • Not Fully Understanding the End User. Who will interact with the software, and what are the expected results? For example, imagine that a software is supposed to generate reports. Part of the requirements address how the user will click on a specific button to generate various reports. Ensure that you know what is expected from the report generation software, but also know who is clicking on that button so you better understand the user and the required functionality.  
  • Being Too Ambiguous. Ensure that your requirements don’t lead to unclear interpretation. An SRS document is designed to prevent misunderstanding, so make sure the document doesn’t generate it. For every functionality or situation description, make sure that you don’t present specifications that haven’t been defined yet.  

How Can Software Streamline the Creation of SRS Documents?  

Resources that assist with simplifying requirement specifications are helpful in writing your SRS document. For example, Jama Connect is a hub designed to follow your complete product development life cycle, enabling product managers and engineers to track requirements, decisions, and relationships on multiple levels and deliver compliant, market-driven products effectively.  

Jama Connect helps teams deliver high-quality products on time and on budget by aligning stakeholders, identifying risks early on, and visualizing connections between regulations, requirements, and test cases throughout the development process. If you’re looking for a solution to simplify writing SRS documents, ensure that it provides:  

  • Confidence. Traceability requirements should be apparent throughout the entire development process, illuminating risk and allowing you to proceed with confidence.  
  • Visibility. The solution should offer visibility into the product development process by monitoring relationships and dependencies between systems, teams, activities and results. 
  • Speed. Speedy alignment should be provided, which assists with tracking decisions, increasing efficiency and minimizing reworking to create high-quality products on time and on budget. 
  • Adaptability. Make sure the solution easily adapts to your organization’s workflows, creating an intuitive experience for your teams to get up to speed fast.  
  • Performance. Ensure the system provides benchmarks and monitors team performance over time to better understand the benefits of retooling your product development process.  

Overall, you want to make sure that any software that assists with streamlining the creation of SRS documents equips your team with the ability to analyze impacts, track decisions and ensure the quality of the product you set out to build.  

Moving Forward With Greater Success  

Designing a robust SRS document ensures that you have a “go to” document for your entire development project. The goal is to smooth out any potential implementation snags prior to the program development process. Yet at the same time, the document needs to be flexible and scalable so that it’s easy to modify with product demands.  

Keeping the above tips in mind when writing and reviewing requirements empowers you to create a project that closely aligns with clients’ needs, prevents costly mistakes and ultimately supports you in building better products.  

writing requirements

“Needs.” “Features.” “Requirements.”

What your team calls the things it wants to achieve with a product isn’t important. The highest priority should be ensuring a product’s promise, functionality, appearance, and value are all clearly and effectively defined for a variety of stakeholders. And writing requirements plays a big role in that.

We recently held a a very well received webinar where we walked through the different ways teams can write better requirements. We also talked about how improving requirements benefits products by anchoring alignment through the chaotic shifts of development.

Below is a recording of the webinar, in addition to expert answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about writing requirements.

Expert Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Writing Requirements

Q: What’s the best way of using Jama Connect for correlating stakeholder needs with multiple stakeholders and/or stakeholder groups?

A: There are a few options. Stakeholders could be a global pick-list where you have multi-select on the stakeholder need. Another option would be treating stakeholders like a unique item type and relating to the stakeholder needs. These options allow many-to-many relationship and filter.

Q: To know if something should be a requirement or a design decision, what would be a good rule to apply? For example, if the background of a user interface shall be blue.

A: It comes down to it being “necessary” or a “need” – i.e. the user will NOT use it if any other color than blue, then it is a requirement. If the color blue is more of a design aesthetic, and not a “need” than it’s a design choice.

Q: What’s your opinion on designers working in tandem with the writer creating the requirements doc? (example: listing several specific requirements and following with a mockup of how it should look).

A: Having back-and-forth with designers about the requirements could actually help ensure the requirements are well written and understood. This engagement avoids the “over the wall” approach where requirements are written without input or visibility from other teams (who just receive a document tossed to them). You’d want to make sure when collaborating with the designers that the requirements are understood to be the needs of the system while the design is the response to that need (and not the other way around!).

Q: How do you recommend writing a requirement which is “testable”, unambiguous, limits to one outcome without limiting possible solutions? Are you stating that the requirement is only a description of the problem? No solution even inferred?

A: Requirement “templates” help with this which we cover in the webinar. But yes this is the goal to not constrain a specific solution/design in the requirement. Requirements don’t necessarily limit one solutions but it should be “testable” from a pass/fail perspective

Q: Sometimes is difficult to differentiate between system requirement & software requirement, any advice on this?

A: Good question! Typically the system requirement will speak to the interaction across subsystems, modules or components. Also the system requirements will verify the fulfillment of a system need through the interaction of SW systems. There is a concept of a system-within-a-system where, in some instances, the SW is a system in itself, but is intended to to meet the needs of a broader functional need.

RELATED POST: How to Perform Better Impact Analysis on Upstream and Downstream Relationships

Q: How do you coach your customers on requirements decomposition?

A: First I suggest coming up with a System Architecture, then identify top-level requirements that are dependent on the various subsystems. From that allocation, you know Subsystem A needs to decompose to subsystem requirements.

Q: How to clearly differentiate between functional and non-functional requirements. (usually if most of the non-functional req can be categorized as functional if an assertion is provided). What about category of requirement related to timing and execution deadline of a function?

A: From an authoring perspective I’d say a functional requirement is something the end user needs to validate – we have a full blog on functional vs. non-functional requirements if you want to learn more! From a tool perspective Categories could easily be differentiated using a pick-list or a tag in your requirements management solution (like Jama Connect).

Q: Do you guide customers to write requirements for software differently that how you would write them for hardware?

A: Software requirements do not necessarily need to be written differently from hardware requirements – however, some methodologies may dictate that they are different. For example, an Agile methodology may see more user story based authoring style. The key is more that the requirements, whether software or hardware, clearly communicate the need. In some instances the software may further breakdown into Agile-style stories while hardware requirements may not (again, depending on the methodology).

Q: For System of System, do you prefer first defining requirements at higher level and then at interfaces ?

A: I would say yes, that way you ensure end user is validating the top level needs first before defining lower level interfaces.

RELATED POST: 8 Do’s and Don’ts for Writing Requirements

Q: As one improves writing requirements over time (as was mentioned) for requirements that have already been utilized for prior products, how do you make those changes without impacting prior testing to the previous version of the requirements?

A: Some governance method or change control board/team should encourage changes to requirements to improve them for future releases/product variants. This may or may not impact the test of a previous version, it really depends on the specific example I’d say.

Q: Can you give a real-life-like example for taking meta-data out of the requirement statement?

A: Here is something that hopefully illustrates the point:

  • Before: The product shall be blue, which is more important than whether or not it is light weight.
  • After: The product shall be blue (priority: high). The product shall have a weight under 10 grams (priority:medium)
Q: How can we group requirements which are cross functional i.e have mechanical requirements/thermal requirements/electrical? How to decompose the subsystems?

A: In a tool like Jama Connect, I recommend a multi-select field on the requirement – e.g. “Impacted Disciplines” so then you can easily filter which disciplines need to decompose the requirement. Another alternative is using Tags or perhaps a separate item type called “Architecture” so you can allocate requirements to a specific sub-system. Then the owner of that subsystem can see all the related requirements they need to decompose.

Q: What advice would you provide when writing a PRD for a next revision or improved version of the product or does it not differ?

A: The guidance for writing the requirements is the same, but more importantly is to write a full PRD for the improved version rather than just a delta document. Many organizations will produce only a list of deltas for each new version, which eventually leads to a lack of clarity about the full set of requirements for later revisions. Jama Connect can help with managing these changes and making the process more efficient.

RELATED POST: How to Write an Effective Product Requirements Document

Q: Can design specs of one module become requirements for another module?

A: There is usually a close relationship, but not exactly the same content. The design spec for a system will describe what the architecture of the system is and how the components of the system interface to each other. These interface specification often then result in requirements on the component to be compatible with that interface.

Q: With a large feature, do you recommend new requirements for each version/iteration of the feature?

A: Yes, this is highly recommended. It’s also recommended to ensure that you maintain a full list of requirements for each new version, not just a list of changes.

Q: Please explain why requirements are not written in the Change Request (CR). Explain the difference between CR and requirements.

A: A change request is describing a change to existing requirements or adding new requirements after approval. As a result, part of the CR will be new requirement text, but it will also include and explanation for why that change is justified and analysis of impact.

Writing Requirements

Every word matters when writing requirements. Something as simple as adding an adverb or using “should” instead of “must” can create ambiguity that confuses engineers and sets a project back.

Better requirements lead to clearer, more effective communication between stakeholders. This drives the entire organization toward greater transparency, less rework, and, accelerated development… without sacrificing quality. While writing requirements is both an art and a science that will vary by context, there are a few best practices to consider.

Follow these top dos and don’ts for writing requirements and you’ll find yourself with both clear and traceable requirements across the product development lifecycle.

1. DO: Use a Requirements Template

A template gives consistent structure to requirements. It can be in a user story or systems engineering format, either of which provides uniform construction to support easier testing.

2. DON’T: Use Adverbs

“Quickly,” “easily,” and other adverbs don’t provide clear guidance to testers. Instead, focus on acceptance criteria that are testable and measurable.

RELATED POST: Requirements Management – Living NOT Static

3. DO: Standardize Your Language

The English language contains numerous words with similar meanings in everyday usage. Settle on a few to represent agreed-upon meanings, like “shall” for binding high-priority requirements.

4. DON’T: Be Ambiguous

Requirements are often ambiguous because they’re too general, e.g., “the device shall be easy to use.” Get more specific, whether that means setting a clear benchmark or naming a specific color

5. DO: Use Active Voice and Specific Adjectives

Use active voice verbs. For instance, “the car shall withstand…” is clearer than “the car shall be enhanced to withstand…” Also select specific adjectives instead of standbys like “user-friendly” and “compatible.”

RELATED POST: How to Perform Better Impact Analysis on Upstream and Downstream Relationships

6. DON’T: Mix Design Specifications into Requirements

When possible, aim to remove design from requirements, as the latter describe a need while the former constitute a response to that need. Design-free requirements give engineers more freedom.

7. DO: Regularly Review Requirements with Stakeholders

Reviewing your requirements with others is a reliable way to ensure shared understanding. Collaborating within a real-time platform lets teams exchange feedback, ensure testability, and minimize rework.

8. DON’T: Rely on Negative Requirements Statements

Negative statements can introduce ambiguity, since there are virtually infinite things that any system will “not do” en route to fulfilling its positive requirements. Check negative statements

To learn more about how to write requirements in a way that all stakeholders have a clear understanding of development needs, download our eBook, Best Practices for Writing Requirements.


write better requirements

There are many theories on how to write better requirements. Some suggest using or excluding certain words or limiting each requirement to one sentence.

However, there’s a danger in having too many rules around your requirement writing process because it can end up hamstringing your work. Writing excellent requirements, in my opinion, is both an art and a science. Instead of getting bogged down by strict rules, consider the Golden Rule of Requirements: Communicate clearly and effectively to your stakeholders.

In this case, your stakeholders may be testers, designers, developers, business analysts, customers, and more. In any case, the most important goal is to properly communicate the requirement— the need— to these stakeholders. Stay away from introducing the “how,” as that should be reserved for the product design.

Of course, clearly communicating requirements is not as easy as it sounds. Luckily, we have some recommendations that can drive quality and consistency when authoring your requirements.

Remember, don’t follow these like strict rules for rule’s sake. They are just meant to help you fulfill the key objective: communicate clearly and effectively to your stakeholders. Plus, you’re likely to come up with your own recommendations specific to your company or industry when aiming for this Golden Rule of Requirements.

RELATED: Download our Infographic- Five Best Practices for Writing Requirements 

Use A Template
When you’re authoring new requirements from a blank canvas, start with a sort of free-form writing method. After all, everyone writes and thinks in different ways. When readying requirements to review with your stakeholders, using convoluted vocabulary and inconsistent sentence construction may muddy your requirements.

That’s why creating templates for writing requirements can be a great way to maintain both consistency and quality. Even if you start authoring in free form, you can normalize your requirements into a templated version once you’re ready to share them with others.


In terms of a requirements template, teams can choose what works best for them, but the overall goal is to keep the construction uniform. For instance, if a team is writing requirements in the form of user stories, it may be more meaningful to refer to the affected user by an actual name rather than simply “user.” However they’re utilized, templates help maintain quality control and coherence in requirements.

Avoid Adverbs
In casual conversation, words like “significantly,” “quickly,” and “powerfully” can be a great way to emphasize a point. However, in terms of requirements, these types of words make it difficult to test a qualifier. For example, instead of saying something needs to work “quickly,” it’s better to get more granular and quantitative. Maybe you want it to perform an average of five seconds better per customer statement, which would be a 15% improvement on the current average. Giving more direct, specific goals to the team will help them understand exactly the target they’re working towards.

Review and Discuss the Requirements
Lastly, one of the best strategies to ensure you’re communicating requirements clearly is simply by reviewing them with stakeholders. You’ll get feedback which helps improve the requirements and increase shared understanding within your team.

Beyond that, though, reviewing and talking about the requirements will also assist with defining the criteria for acceptance and ensuring they’re testable. Plus, you’ll reduce the number of surprises and missed requirements in the product management cycle.

Figuring out how to facilitate this process can be the real challenge. Live, in-person group meetings aren’t always the most effective method for utilizing resources and ensuring individual clarity. On the other hand, a series of one-on-one meetings can be time-consuming and tough to wrangle with busy schedules. That’s why you want to think about a platform like Jama Software where you can provide comments on the requirements and have formal reviews on the collections of requirements.

Jama isn’t meant to replace face-to-face collaboration, but it can make it much more efficient. For instance, forget organizing an expensive, all-day meeting with multiple engineers to go through each requirement. Instead, start a Jama review a few days prior to give engineers time to digest and provide feedback on their own schedule. Then, any face-to-face meetings can be shorter and concentrate on the smaller set of requirements that need more clarity and conversation. This can eliminate hours spent in meetings and ensure the team stays aligned throughout the process. Whatever your preference is for completing reviews, the important thing is to make sure they get done.

There are many ways to follow the Golden Rule of Requirements and these recommendations are just a few that’ll make a positive impact on your requirements. Let us know what other tips and recommendations you have for communicating requirements clearly and effectively with your stakeholders!

Learn more about writing better requirements by watching our webinar, “Best Practices for Writing Requirements.”


RELATED: Download this information-packed ebook, Best Practices Guide for Writing Requirements

To learn more on the topic of requirements management, we’ve compiled a handy list of additional valuable resources for you!






Best Practices for Writing Requirements Better requirements lead to clearer, more effective communication between a product’s stakeholders — creating ripple effects across the entire organization including greater transparency; less rework; and, accelerated development without sacrificing product quality. While writing requirements is both an art and a science that will vary by context, there are a few best practices to consider.

In an ideal world, every individual user, business, and functional requirement would exhibit the following qualities: complete, correct, feasible, necessary, prioritized, unambiguous, verifiable, consistent, modifiable, and traceable.

We recently created an infographic of best practices to help keep teams aligned and reduce the chance of rework and product failure.

Download the full infographic to learn learn more about writing requirements, including:

  • Understand the problem
  • Define requirements hierarchy
  • Let the designers design
  • Be unambiguous
  • Use requirements templates and group discussions

Read the full infographic to see our tried and true best practices for writing requirements.



Last month 1,150 professionals registered for our Best Practices for Writing Requirements webinar — our biggest webinar audience ever. Effective requirements writing continues to gain momentum as an urgent topic among product development teams across all industries. We get why.

The impact of clear and effective communication among stakeholders reverberates throughout organizations, and can:

  • Improve the quality of the requirements process.
  • Reduce rework.
  • Foster a culture of transparency.
  • Enable employees to work faster without sacrificing quality.

These benefits validate strong requirements writing as a crucial building block for an efficient workflow, and every business should want to perfect the skill.

Clarity, from market need to detailed requirement.

You can have the best builders and greatest minds on your side. But as our Manager of Business Consulting Preston Mitchell explains in the webinar, poor requirements writing compromises team collaboration and trust, kills innovation, and ultimately results in a product that doesn’t do what you want it to do.  It undermines your entire requirements management process.

There’s a lot of things around writing better requirements, it can be a great goal in and of itself. But it’s even better in that it leads to other efficiencies in your business. – Manager of Business Consulting Preston Mitchell

Preston breaks down the path from “need” to “requirement” into three parts: Understand the problem, define the requirement hierarchy, and improve requirement quality. Within each section, he identifies best practices that ensure you keep the market need — and user need — visible for your entire team and provides examples that show you how to do so. Watch the webinar now to see what you missed.

Top-of-mind questions answered — and new ones you never thought to ask.

  1. How can you detect a poorly worded requirement?
  2. What kinds of words add ambiguity to your requirements language?
  3. What’s the difference between requirements and design specification?
  4. What do you need to include when you write a strong, clearly defined problem statement?

In addition to best practices, Preston details how Jama Software can help improve your requirements authoring. There’s also a Q and A at the end, so you can hear specific, real-world examples from people want to apply great requirements writing to their business today.

Add these important writing practices to your skill set and refine your product development process.  You can watch a recording of the webinar in our resources center right now.


Ever wish you could jump right into a software development project without first creating a product requirements document?

OK, let’s get real here: have you ever not only wished it, but actually done it?

If so, you know the results, and they probably weren’t great. In fact, your project was likely a disaster in terms of time spent, budget wasted, and the overall quality (or lack thereof) of the finished product.

So, skipping the product requirements document really isn’t a viable approach. How, then, can you create a good product requirements document with minimal hassle?

Simply follow these eight steps.

1. Brainstorm Software Requirements

Your first step in writing a software development product requirements document doesn’t even involve writing. Well, it does, but not in the way you might think. You’ll need to call together all your project stakeholders and solicit their input, taking copious notes all the while.

Remember that in the true spirit of a brainstorm, there are no right or wrong answers. Encourage the whole team to contribute generously and focus on recording their ideas. Sure, you’ll get some real outlier ideas, and the team may even go off on tangents. But you’ll get everyone’s needs out in the open, which will ultimately make it easier for you to deliver a product that meets them.

Only after the fact will you begin to separate the wheat from the chaff — and then give structure to the wheat. Which brings us to our next step.

2. Create a Product Requirements Document Outline

Remember back in high school when your English teacher made you write — and submit — an outline for your term paper before you started the actual writing? Turns out she wasn’t crazy. If you can’t summarize your thoughts in an outline, it’ll be a lot tougher to write a coherent final product requirements document.

Taking the input you received during the brainstorming session, you’re now going to create the framework of your software development product requirements document. You don’t have to worry about sounding perfect in an outline — use just enough words to get your point across. But do make sure that each point flows logically to the next.

If you come across a point that doesn’t fit the flow of your document, don’t just assume you’ll fix it when you get to the writing phase; instead, ask yourself if it should be moved to a different part of the document, or if it should be cut entirely.

Learn how better requirements can impact your business by downloading our whitepaper, “The Bottom Line: Better Requirements Add Business Value.”

3. Make Sure that All Software Requirements Are Specific and Testable

A vague product requirements document is little better than none at all. If you give your developers lots of wiggle room by using imprecise language, there’s no telling what you’ll get back in the end.

So, once you’ve completed your outline, take a close look at what it actually specifies about the finished product. The product shouldn’t provide “a number of ways” for the user to complete a task; it should provide, say, two specific ways. The home screen shouldn’t load up “instantly;” it should load within six milliseconds.

Of course, creating exact specifications for your product won’t do much good if you can’t test for these specifications. Ask your QA and testing organization how they can enhance the product development process, what kinds of testing technology they can deploy and even what pitfalls they think you may face during development.

4. Write a Draft of Your Software Requirements

Hate writing? Don’t worry. Most of the hard work has already been done in the outlining phase. Now that you know exactly what you want your document to say, you just have to say it.

Take your lean and logical outline and turn it into sentence form. As you work, remember that simple, clear language is better than all those vocabulary words you were supposed to learn for the SAT. Your readers will appreciate you getting to the point and stating in plain English what it is that the software should do.

Sometimes, the best writing isn’t writing at all — it’s a picture. Don’t hesitate to use a diagram or graphic to replace a long, tedious paragraph. Again, your readers will appreciate being able to understand your point at a glance rather than spending valuable time reading.

5. Proofread, Edit, and Logic-Check

Sometimes good writing is simply good editing. A software development product requirements document that’s riddled with typos and grammatical errors is far less likely to be taken seriously. But even more significantly, a document that lacks a logical flow and is missing key considerations could bring development grinding to a halt.

Once you have a first draft, get vicious with what you’ve written. Go over it with a highly critical eye. Try to cut out needless sentences, and trim unnecessary clauses and phrases out of overly long sentences. One useful old trick is to read the document out loud. If you hear yourself droning on and on without really saying anything, that’s generally a sign you need to pare down your text.

Learn from the experts on how to conquer the five biggest challenges of requirements by reading our white paper.

6. Conduct Peer Reviews

In your haste to produce a product requirements document, don’t cut corners. You’ll be surprised at what errors extra sets of eyes can find, what perspectives they bring and what potential disasters they prevent.

That’s why you want the most honest and open feedback from stakeholders to strengthen your software requirements. And you also want to give them enough time so they can be thoughtful about what you’ve presented, while still being mindful of the fact you’re under a time crunch.

Hopefully you’re not emailing around versioned documents, and soliciting feedback from stakeholders that way, because that takes forever and invariably someone’s thoughts get missed in the process. And the opinion you lose might just be the one that introduces a tidal wave of risk.

Modern requirements solutions can cut your review times in half, while capturing everyone’s feedback in real time. Not only will you hit your deadline, you won’t need to sit through lengthy stakeholder meetings as they pore through each detail.

7. Rewrite Your Product Requirements Document

Take the feedback you received on your first draft and give your document a thorough reworking. If the changes were significant, consider running your product requirements document past your stakeholders a second time to get their signoff before making it official.

8. Use Your Finished Product Requirements Document as a Template for Next Time

Whew, you made it! But if this process was a success, then it should become your model for all future projects. So, be sure to save your product requirements document as a template that you can use on your next project. Rather than starting from scratch, you’ll be able to go through the different sections of the document and fill in the blanks.

There’s no failsafe plan for coming up with the perfect software development requirements document. But we think these steps will keep you on the right track — which is exactly what your finished document will do for your developers.

Download our white paper, “Writing High Quality Requirements,” to learn more about the ins and outs of creating a quality product requirements document.