The Importance of Requirements Documents
Requirements documents are very difficult to create. It is especially difficult if you don’t have a lot of experience doing it. Often, the document is overlooked or given a half-effort. The engineers that will develop your system or product may not catch the vision that you see and the requirements are the only way to keep the project properly aligned and on track. A good requirements document will tell the development team what the most important design aspects are and where they have creative freedom. It will help the team make appropriate decisions that will more efficiently get your project done and done right.
New System, New Requirements
At Endigit we have taken many old systems and given them a full upgrade. It is common to find that defining a new set of requirements is the most difficult part. Many people expect to use the old requirements and there are two main reasons that this won’t work. First, technology has improved since the original design and many of the requirements have been constrained by the old technology. Updating requirements will expand the capability of your system. Second, the requirements may not have been very thorough. When that has happened, the development team must have asked a lot of questions to get to the final product. If those questions and decisions were not documented, then it will not be possible to recreate the current system without updating your requirements document.
Creating a Useful Requirements Document
Always start your requirements document by defining your most generic goals. Then, ask “What?”, “How?”, and “When?” questions to break down those goals. Determine if the answer to these questions matter. If you are thorough, but only include necessary requirements, then the engineers have the freedom to answer questions themselves after considering the consequences and results.