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3 August 2007

Five Things You Should Know About Software Requirements

Esther Schindler writes and article for CIO magazine on the importance of good requirements management.

She highlights 5 key things CIOs should know. Project managers and other people in authority should also take note. And as the article focuses on requirements management from developers’ points of view there is plenty of advice for business analysts.

I have listed her 5 key points below with my summary of her ideas, but don’t stop here. Read her article; it’s got plenty of well written good advice.

  • The Inconvenient Checkbox: Understand the Role of Requirements - Requirements are important, naturally.
  • Don’t Throw It Over The Wall: The Right People Should Define the Requirements - Business analysts don’t just take orders. They should be adding value by prioritising, interpreting, and understanding business needs.
  • Superficially Complete: Define Requirements With "Enough" Detail - Talk to the developers about what is enough detail; you’re writing for them. And remember; you need to be able to verify and test them.
  • Working from Ignorance: Recognize that Requirements Change - You learn more about the problem at hand as you go, and naturally early decisions in requirements and design are flawed. Accommodate the flaws.
  • Carpet Yanking: Pay Attention to the People on the Front Line - You can’t manage from status reports. Get to know your staff and listen to their views.

Read Five Things IT Managers Should Know About Software Requirements.