Best practices for writing Requirements

Tips to Enhance your Requirements Writing skills

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, we will share a few tips that can help you enhance your requirements writing skills.

Tip #1 – Understanding User Story

Understanding the user story or the problem statement well 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-

  • Who– For who’s benefit are we doing it?
  • What– What are we doing?
  • Why– Why are we doing it?

Thus, by finding answers to “three W” helps your team to get aligned and refine a specific user story or problem statement.

Tip #2 – Write Clear Requirements

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-

  • Avoid using ambiguous words like significant, simple, or user-friendly. These adverbs are unmeasurable and means different to different people.
  • Avoid combination words like and, or, before and after, in a single requirement. Avoid using these words to ensure your requirement is focusing on only one thing. Short requirement statements are organized and readable.
  • Use consistent terminology throughout the requirements documentation to avoid confusion or assumptions that might not be correct. If you’re writing requirements for Admin users, don’t flip back and forth between “Admin User” and “Administrator.”
  • Avoid using negative words in requirements like “shall not” which can be restated in positive form.

Tip #3 – Prioritize Requirements

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. Thus helps your team to focus on critical requirements first.

Tip #4 – Requirements should be testable

Writing your requirement with a specific test scenario in mind will help ensure that both design and test engineers understand exactly what they have to do.

Testers must verify whether the requirements have been implemented correctly or not. The test should either pass or fail. Ambiguous requirements make it impossible to determine a pass/fail.

Tip #5 – Organize Requirements in Hierarchy

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.

Writing good requirements can be intimidating, but with little practice, patience, and above tips under your sleeves, you can add great value to your team. 

You can also use RMsis- Requirements Management tool for Jira, to enable real-time collaboration and share understanding within the team and other stakeholders. RMsis ensures an end to end traceability throughout the development cycle and helps reduce errors and rework.

Check out RMsis and sign up for a free trial today.

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Read more about Challenges in Requirements Management

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