Why is requirements management a significant criterion for your project success?
You probably know it from your previous experience – an important IT project must be started at short notice and preferably completed by yesterday. Whether it is an introduction of a new system, changed regulatory requirements or an implementation of additional risk controlling processes – nowadays all IT changes implicate high complexity and tight deadlines.
Professional requirements management ensures the implementation of the right functionalities with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders. A professional requirements engineering guarantees the implementation of the correct functionalities and the engagement of all relevant stakeholders. In order to do do so, you have to consider some important topics related to the procedure for setting up a successful requirements management, which we will discuss below.
When should I start with requirements engineering?
The general rule is – the sooner, the better. . If you start collecting your requirements before a project begins, you have a big advantage – you can make a detailed effort estimation for many topics early on and create and refine your project plan based on that. With an accompanying prioritization, you can identify the most important issues and schedule them accordingly. In addition, you ensure that your stakeholders are informed and involved at the start of the project. Everyone is “on the same page”, so to speak.
If you do not have sufficient resources for requirements analysis in your ongoing project, we would recommend you catch up as soon as possible because it would pay off. Since it saves you effort and resources to adapt missing or not correctly or incompletely developed functionalities.
What do I need to consider when running agile project management?
A professional requirements management is recommended for both – agile projects and classic projects. However, depending on your project method, there are differences that need to be considered. For example, if you are using the waterfall method, it is advisable to gather all requirements as early as possible to be able to plan the further project phases in a meaningful way. In scrum projects, on the other hand, the requirements can be specified and refined in each sprint as a user story.
How do I deal with changes in requirements?
The requirements are usually not constant and often change during the different stages of the project. However, requirement adjustments should not be regarded negatively. On the contrary – it shows that you are constantly following the changes in your organization and ensures that they are not only written down, but also integrated in your organization. Requirements management goes hand in hand with the change management process to address all requirements changes in the development process along with any necessary implementation adjustments. This ensures that they are approved and documented – in other words, that they follow an orderly process that everyone involved is aware of.
How are stakeholders involved in the requirements process?
A project usually involves a change – an old system is replaced and a new system is introduced, new internal processes are established, etc. The successful implementation of these changes mostly depends on whether they are accepted by your employees and other stakeholders. To ensure that everyone is pulling on the same string, you need to make sure that everyone has a good understanding of exactly what is being changed and what the benefits of this change would be. The presentation of the requirements plays an important role. In practice, requirements are often formulated only in natural language. A useful addition is additional modeling and documentation – e.g., in the form of and-or trees, use cases, entity-relationship diagrams, data flow diagrams, etc. The model-based representation has the advantage that your stakeholders have all required information in front of them, thus making it easier to understand.
One of the goals of requirements management is to ensure that stakeholders are involved in all steps of the requirements process and not only accompany the change process, but also help shaping it. They are the main source of information in requirements engineering and validation and can help decide which requirements tools to use.
Having a structured and professional requirements management, puts you on the right path to success. Moreover, you have already laid the first important milestone for the changes in your organization or product – not only to be implemented, but also to be deployed successfully.[SH2] On top of that, a tool-based support would help you to improve the structure of various tasks related to requirements management. We would recommend you to run a cost-benefit evaluation and use appropriate tools to manage, validate, and model requirements. They should ideally be integrated within your existing change management, development, and testing processes. This ensures that everything is sufficiently documented, understandable and accessible, and that your stakeholders are always up-to-date.