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10 Steps to Better Requirements Management

Requirements Management is often an underestimated task, in terms of the time and importance it is given in Project Management. In a white paper Dominic Tavassoli of IBM shortlists 10 steps that will help organizations better define and manage requirements.

Step 1: Structure requirements

Requirements should be structured to enhance understanding while avoiding duplication and omission. Traceability to higher- and lower-level requirements enables teams to assess coverage.

Step 2: Manage and link customer needs, requirements and contracts

Organizations need to capture various levels of user requirements, maintaining intelligent traceability and change impact analysis between them.

Step 3: Manage constraints

By ensuring that all types of constraints relevant to their industry have been taken into account, organizations greatly increase their projects’ chances of success.

Step 4: Visualize requirements

Visual requirement modeling provides a simple and powerful way to communicate with, and elicit requirements from, customers and end users. It also helps clarify requirements and create a common understanding between all development team members and stakeholders.

Step 5: Test requirements

An efficient way to better manage requirements is to ensure they are clearly mapped to test cases. Making sure each requirement is clearly verifiable from the start not only helps prepare later phases of the project, but it also puts the writer in the correct state of mind.

Step 6: Bridge the chasm between business and development

Rather than trying to manage every requirement, project and product managers must be able to make decisions on those requirements that bring the most value to the customer and help the business improve innovation. This can be achieved by combining value and priority information from stakeholders and defining the right combination of requirements.

Step 7: Control change to requirements

Requirements are subject to continual change. Organizations need to implement a reliable and repeatable change control process that helps turn this challenge into an opportunity.

Step 8: Capture and track metrics and trends

Project managers need to keep their focus on decision making instead of manually gathering data and compiling reports. The display of key requirements monitoring information must be at a high level, allowing users to manage by exception and spot trouble areas quickly. Trends should be used to learn lessons from past systems and software projects

Step 9: Provide examples of good requirements

By providing examples and counterexamples of good requirements and documents, organizations can enhance the quality, consistency and completeness of their requirements. These can originally be templates, industry standards and rules inside a repository, or a corporate intranet.

Step 10: Reuse requirements

When a good requirement has been written for a previous project and it is applicable to a present situation, the natural reaction is to reuse it, generally by copying and pasting the description.

To read the complete white paper, click here