Posted by: Vipin | December 7, 2009

Requirement definition + Requirement management = Project success

Requirements play a pivotal role in software development.  Getting into a common understanding of various types of requirements is the biggest challenge.  Business and customer expectations are getting complex.  Those days are over where we can understand and write down the requirements on a simple word document.  In a recent industry study, it shows, poor requirements costs as much as 60% of the total time and budget!

Visual representation is much better than written down text.  This helps to reduce the silos of language barrier.  Brings a common understanding to the context too.  Whether you follow waterfall, iterative or agile methodology, requirements and it’s clarity plays a significant role in the success of a project.  Of course you may be colleting the requirements in various names:  Use cases, stories, functional and non-functional etc. but fact remains the same.

When you would like to capture a business process as a process diagram, or you would like to capture a user interface storyboard to highlight a sequence, or would like to use a rich text scenario, all these can be captured in IBM Rational Requirements Composer.  The major advantage is that you can store everything in a single repository for common access among various stakeholders.

Once we have properly defined the requirements, then we need to classify them, prioritize them and set up a relationship & traceability among them to assess a change impact, for this you need a requirement management tool.  If you combine one of the requirement management tools like IBM Rational RequisitePro or IBM Rational DOORS, you are increasing the possibility of success.  Now, how do you choose among the two requirement management tools?  It is simple, depending on your project. If your projects are in the IT areas like, banking, insurance, retail etc, you can choose, IBM Rational RequisitePro.  Where as, if your projects are in the areas like, avionics, defense, medical systems, in general systems side, IBM Rational DOORS will be the right candidate.

In short, the time has come to look deeper into the requirements elicitation, definition, description, stakeholder concurrence and proper requirement management.  Let’s get into more serious tools than just documents, to have more predictable project success.

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