Writing Requirements requires both skills and practice. A better requirements document can save your organization a fortune with clear communication between the developer and product stakeholders. This, in turn, reflects across the organization, including greater transparency, lesser rework, and improves productivity.
While every organization has different requirements and methodologies, the fundamentals for writing requirements remain the same.
In this article, I will share a few tips that can help you enhance your requirements writing skills and help you write clear and crisp requirements.
Understanding the user needs or story or the problem statement clearly is the first step of writing requirements. Therefore, it is essential to follow an equipped framework as these user stories further breakdowns to other artifacts.
One of the standard practices found across industries is to answer the following questions-
Thus, by finding answers to “three W” helps your team to get aligned and refine a specific user story or problem statement.
So spend considerable time on collecting and then understanding the user needs.
Writing clean and clear requirements can save your team and product stakeholders from misinterpretation. It also leads to fewer review cycles to confirm and validate.
Here’s how you can write clear requirements-
While writing the requirements, we should try to be as concise as possible. Requirements should be crisp and short. Long statements or paragraphs may lead to ambiguity and confusion in later stages. Moreover, short statements make it easy to organize the requirements and also enhances their readability.
Ask yourself how essential is the requirement? Is it nice to have, or is it mandatory? Prioritize your requirements by using a simple ranking system like Low / Medium / High/ Blocker. This helps your team to focus on critical requirements first.
The requirement should be written in a way that allows for someone to check if it has been completed or not.
Testers must be able to verify whether the requirements have been implemented correctly or not. The test should either pass or fail. Ambiguous requirements make it difficult to determine whether the test has passed or failed.
The requirements should be categorized so that we are able to communicate the different levels of requirements to the relevant stakeholders or members in the organization. For example, requirements can be categorized as Business Requirements, Functional Requirements, Non Functional Requirements, System requirements, etc (as per your organizational needs).
With such categorization, the Business stakeholders can concentrate and understand the requirements relevant to them, technical members can focus on requirements relevant to them, and so on.
Defining a well-organized requirements hierarchy is another best practice. Breaking down the requirements (a need) to low-level artifacts (a response to that need) is an efficient way to build requirements hierarchy.
Doing so can help your team to trace requirements, decomposing high-level requirements into granular ones, ensuring validation and verification, test coverage, and establishing traceability.
While writing requirements, we should not mention any design features or suggestions. At this stage the implementation details or the method of implementation should not be considered. We should focus on the “what” of the system and not on "how". We should not mention any specific technologies or layouts or design rules.
An example of a bad requirement is: The notification from Jira must have relevant information.
An example of a good requirement is: The email notification sent from Jira should include issue Id, Summary, Status and Assignee details.
Writing good requirements can be intimidating. It takes practice and patience to master the art of writing good requirements.
Since you have reached the end of this article, you already know the awesome tips to write good requirements and now you are on your path to write the best requirements.
Do you have more tips to write good requirements? Do you face any challenges while writing the requirements? Lets discuss in comments.
Deepanshu NataniCommunity Leader
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