Best Practices for Creating Market, User and Technical Requirements on Software Development Projects

After documenting the business requirements for your software project, gathering accurate market and technical requirements from existing end-users as well as potential new end-users is the next critical step in the overall development process.

While it’s also important to discuss requirements with product managers, features and backlogs should be prioritized according to feedback from your external audiences rather than your internal development team. It’s also a good idea to assign individuals to document each of the requirements. These same individuals should be tasked with developing user stories for each requirement as well.

As you embark on the process to document the requirements for a software development project, be sure to write them in the language of the product users, which includes both actual end-users and buyers. Rather than thinking of users and buyers as one big group, it helps to develop personas that capture the traits of user and buyer groups. It may be that a particular requirement will impact one persona grouping more so than another.

While you want to capture each requirement completely, stay as simple and concise as possible. One or two paragraphs usually suffices and try to keep each requirement to one or two pages at the most.

Here are other key best practices to follow for creating market, user and technical requirements:

Best Practices for Creating Market User and Technical Requirements Infographic

  • Measurable: Break high-level requirements down into distinct, individual entities according to the unit that measures the size or weight of the requirements. It may be a unit of a work system, software feature function points, or other software sizing system.
  • Verifiable: Assign a quantitative value to each requirement that can be verified based on the validation criteria. Replace terms such as <improved>, <user-friendly> and <faster> with quantitative terms such the precise amount of time it will take for a page to load.
  • Classified: Identify requirements with terms such as <Must Have>, <Nice to Have> and <Will Surprise Users>. This will help prioritize the features and ensure that any <Must Have> features are included in the first release. Classifications should be assigned according to the functional needs of the users.
  • Prioritized: Prioritized requirements should be based on a combination of the business needs and the classification of each requirement. In addition to driving the game plan for the software development team, prioritizing will help you determine which requirements to keep if you run into a budget or timeline constraints.

“Being able to quickly clarify the requirements and to properly prioritize the features is the most important foundation of a software development project. Get this right, and the planning becomes much easier, allowing the engineers to make the right technical decisions and implement the solution that will have the most value for end-users.”

Francisco Ponce – Tiempo Director of Software Delivery

By following these best practices, you can streamline the process of turning big ideas into a solid game plan to execute. And through the preparation and investigation you put into documenting your market, user and technical requirements, you will ensure your software development project is driven by what your customers require and what they desire from your product or service.