Breakthrough Insights

What is the Future of Requirements Management?

Increasing product complexity and greater speed-to-market pressures are impacting the way products are built. From the adoption of Agile methodologies to new solutions, companies are transforming their process to keep pace.

Since requirements management is so integral to the creation of quality products, it makes sense to wonder how it might change, say, 10 years from now.

In a recent webinar, we asked three leading requirements experts — with fingers firmly on the pulse of product development — for their predictions on the future of requirements.

There Will Be Fewer Requirements

Colin Hood, principal at Colin Hood Systems Engineering, envisions a future with fewer requirements and faster time to development.

He believes the companies that will survive in the future will spend less time writing the perfect requirement specification. Instead, he believes they will move into prototyping more quickly in order to get fast feedback and show stakeholders what they understood from the requirements.

Additionally, Hood thinks there is nothing wrong with the requirements process itself, only in people’s interpretation of the process.

Full traceability is mandatory, but he says, “That doesn’t mean we have to trace every little atom of the requirement specification. We can have meaningful blocks [of requirements] and trace to these.”

Taking this approach in the future, he believes, will make the process far more pragmatic and assist with quicker development.

Requirements and Models Will Coexist

Christer Fröling, Scandinavian Marketing Lead at the Reuse Company, has a slightly different take.

In Fröling’s future, there aren’t necessarily fewer requirements, but there is a greater focus on the right requirements.

He also challenges the widely-held notion that teams either use requirements or models, as he believes tomorrow’s successful developers will use both in combination.

He hopes to see more from industry tools to aid this advanced process, namely knowledge management, voice recognition and artificial intelligence.

Fröling believes these technologies can help speed the writing requirements phase, enable enhanced communication about requirements and help interpret them in an effective way.

Modeling Will Enhance and Speed Development

Michael Jastram, Sr. Solutions Architect at Jama Software, agrees with Fröling that we won’t need to decide between requirements or models. He also sees a more pragmatic future like Hood’s, and believes model-based systems engineering is the means to this collective future.

Jastram explains that modeling includes entity relationship modeling, which is compatible with the traditional requirements approach. Furthermore, models make it much easier for machines to understand requirements and provide support during product development. In combination, this can help achieve the future Fröling envisions, in which requirements and modeling coexist to improve the overall development process.

And while models don’t require fewer requirements, they can decouple features making them self-standing. “That will make it much easier to create modular elements that can be reused and are robust enough to help us accelerate development,” Jastram says. The result resembles the more pragmatic “blocks” of requirements Hood predicts.

There’s no question that technological disruption is changing the development process. Hear more from these requirements experts on what that means for us now and going forward, including how to know when a requirement is obsolete, by watching our webinar, Disrupting Requirements: Finding a Better Way.