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How can I best track non-functional requirements in JIRA/Greenhopper OnDemand on my agile project?

John Macleod Feb 14, 2012

I am considering moving my product backlog into JIRA/Greenhopper OnDemand. How have people used JIRA to track non-functional requirements? How have they linked them to user stories, if at all?

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Renjith Pillai Feb 15, 2012

Non-functional requirements also should come in product backlog as stories. If you just refer the Scrum Primer by Craig Larman, it states the following.

Product Backlog Item

Functional requirements, non-functional requirements, and issues, prioritized in order of

importance to the business and dependencies and estimated. The precision of the estimate

depends on the priority and granularity of the Product Backlog item, with the highest priority

items that may be selected in the next Sprint being very granular and precise.

In that sense they are also just another story in Jira, right?

John Macleod Feb 15, 2012

Sure - my concern was that NFRs are not typically work items that are scheduled into a Sprint for development, many are underlying principles that drive how other stories are implemented. But just spoke to our resident Agile guru and he agreed that a good way was just to have them in as stories but colour-coded and deprioritised so that they're always there to be seen be everyone but don't actually get scheduled into sprints if it's not appropriate. Thanks.

Renjith Pillai Feb 16, 2012

Yeah, and it also lies in the hands of the Product Owner while doing Sprint Planning one sessions to keep reminding the teams not to forget these non-functional requirements everytime they do thier story implementation in their sprints.

Jarrod Plant Aug 27, 2018

Many Agile frameworks, including SAFe, define NFRs as constraints on functional requirements. Therefore they should not be as standalone stories, but instead as acceptance criteria.  Studies (https://arxiv.org/pdf/1711.08894.pdf) have shown that teams documenting NFRs as stories often lose the requirements and dependencies.  Another option is to document the NFRs in a centralised tool such as Confluence, and reference the NFR's unique ID into a stories acceptance criteria.

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Alexander Küken Feb 15, 2012

Some weeks ago I read something interesting about this topic: non-functional requirements are only requirements for which the main stakeholder is not identified yet. ;)

As Renjith mentioned before, you can handle them as normal requirement. An alternativ would be, to create a new issue type for this type of requirements. if you have a lot of non-functional requirements which are related to the normal user stories, I personally prefer to see them as acceptance criteria: e.g. the response time of x should be under 10 seconds.

John Macleod Feb 16, 2012

Thanks for this. Hm. In my case I know who the stakeholders for the non-functional requirements are :)

I like the idea of a different issue type - may do that.

Agree that in reality NFRs are often acceptance criteria for functional stories, I do want to keep them as a list of entities in their own right rather than buried in other stories - in case they get forgotten when new stories are added, for example.

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Kevin Shale Dec 03, 2014

What should one do if there are multiple projects / backlogs which share certain non-functional requirements? Copy & paste them from one backlog to the others?

Jarrod Plant Aug 27, 2018

Consider a centralised repository (i.e. confluence) and reference the unique ID of hte NFR

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