In order to get an estimate for your IT project, you should precisely determine your future project requirements first. The more detailed your demands are, the more accurate is the estimate. Although putting your vision on paper and forming them into specific information is not a simple task, it’s worth doing as it saves more time and helps to avoid complications at a later stage. If you’ll explain your idea to the software services provider as clearly as possible, the probability that you’ll get an equally clear estimate is also higher. The stage of requirement gathering has a crucial impact on the further course of the development process.
Types of requirements
Due to the fact that there are a few different types of requirements, make sure to include the definitions used by you in your requirements management plan. It will enable a better understanding between you and the other stakeholders. According to the PMBOK® GUIDE, 6th Edition, the classification of requirements are as follows:
- Business requirements – describing the main purpose of the project
- Solution requirements – describing characteristics, features, and functions of the product/service or the result that will meet the stakeholder and the business needs. They’re divided into two categories: functional requirements (telling us about behaviors of the product) and non-functional requirements (telling us about environmental conditions or qualities required for the product to be effective)
- Stakeholder requirements – describing the needs of stakeholder/stakeholder groups
- Project requirements – focusing on actions, processes, and other conditions the project needs to meet
- Quality requirements – focusing on any condition or criteria to validate the successful project completion, project deliverables, or fulfilling other defined requirements
- Transition requirements – describing temporary conditions needed to transition from the current state to the desired
Start by describing your idea from a broader perspective
What is your overall idea for the project? What’s your vision of the future product? What impact will your future product have on the world, what problems will it solve, or what needs will it fulfill? In this part, you should ask the right questions and answer them. Describe briefly your vision of the solution and its essential aim. Try to share your way of thinking with your business partners and other stakeholders, in order to help them get in your shoes and better understand the goal of your idea.
Specify your target audience – who your product will be for?
One of the most important parts of your future product is the group of people for which you’re creating it. Who will be using it and what for? Identify personas together with other stakeholders and try to point out as many distinctive features as possible. After all, you’re going to tailor your software to your end users. Then you can start creating requirements respectively.
Clearly define the project scope
During the requirements gathering process for your project, you should precisely determine the scope of it and the work that should be done. What elements does it consist of? What are the stages of this project and in what sequence? Divide them into separate steps, put them on the timeline, and prioritize them. It will give you a sketch of a project plan. This will also make it easier to organize your vision and sequence of further actions.
Divide your requirements into categories
By dividing your requirements into categories, you will stay more organized. The most essential ones are functional and non-functional requirements. Of course, you can apply more of them – the more detailed the specification is, the better for the project management and the development team later. Consider what categories will make sense to this particular project. Try to keep things as simple as possible. The project itself can be complicated enough, so the requirements documentation should be maximally simplified and understandable for the readers.
In the requirements document, you must describe the functionalities you want to include in your digital product. The best and most convenient way to do this is to present them in form of user stories – showing the features and properties of the system from the user’s point of view. They should answer 3 basic questions: who?, what?, and why? according to the following schema: As a [user description], I want [functionality], so that [benefit]. For example: As a project manager, I want our internal messaging app to enable file sharing and quick phone calls so that our team can maintain fluency in communication. Remember to describe the possibilities the users should have and stick to their perspective and the benefits they will have. Try to keep the description concise and accurate. Another good practice is to set the priorities to your functional requirements, especially if their number is big. Point out the most important ones – then it will be much easier to plan the further steps. You can mark them as mandatory or optional using the MoSCoW method of prioritization.
While gathering requirements, besides the functionalities, you should also contain all the information that helps to better understand the whole context of the project. The description of your most important expectations towards the quality of the application’s performance, such as:
- what traffic we can expect in the app and in what span of time (depending on your target group, its size, and the expected frequency of using your product),
- information regarding the security issues, integrations, etc.,
- the speed of the app (including the speed of response to user inquiries),
- backup frequency,
- the maximum number of users using the app at the same time,
- are there any technological requirements, and if yes – what are they? If you’re not sure what technology to choose or you don’t have enough technical knowledge on this topic, you can always ask your IT partner for advice or read our article about how to choose the right technology for your digital product,
- estimated budget for your project- it’s enough if you provide the approximate financial scope that you’re able to spend on it. At this point, you can also present your plans for the further development of your software,
- predicted deadline of the project.
What are your expectations for the design of your future product? Do you prefer to have a dedicated design or use ready-made solutions? Or maybe you already have your own mock-ups prepared? Provide all the information regarding your expectations and assumptions.
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Detailed and exhaustive IT requirements documentation contribute to your project success
Although this phase of the process might seem irrelevant, it’s really necessary for the whole development team as well as for the project team and enables a better understanding of the requirements, needs, and expectations for your future product. Remember that writing the specification doesn’t require any technical knowledge. The main goal is to gather all information, predictions, functionalities needed, and expected project outcomes in one place.