Ensure Project Success with Requirements Management Tools
Wikipedia defines requirements management as "the process of documenting, analyzing, tracing, prioritizing
and agreeing on requirements and then controlling change and communicating to relevant stakeholders." It is a
crucial phase of the software development lifecycle because only when the customer requirements are clearly
and accurately captured, the software development team can ensure customer satisfaction by developing
software that conform to customer needs and requirements. Documenting the life of a requirement known as
requirements traceability is an important aspect of requirements management. Traceability helps the software
team to not only find out the origin of each requirement but also track the changes made to it.
Though requirements form the foundation of all software, most software development teams do not insist on a
definite and up-to-date list of requirements. The result is inaccurate, incomplete, and omitted requirements,
which leads to project failures and project overruns. Therefore, it is necessary that companies and
organizations put in place an effective requirements management process. The following are the fundamental
aspects of requirements management process.
Gathering requirements from users, customers and other stakeholders
Communicating effectively each requirement to the members of the team
Determining the importance of each requirement and prioritizing the different requirements based
on its importance
Managing changes to requirements throughout the project lifecycle
To implement an effective requirements management process, enterprises need the right requirements
management tools. According to Gartner Group, "Requirements management can be simplified if initial
requirements definitions are captured in a database-based tool to enable collaborative review... traceability
and versioning/change control". The following are the three important aspects that need to be kept in mind
when selecting requirements management tools.
Place Needs ahead of Features
Most enterprises make the mistake of procuring tools with the maximum features. Instead, their priority must
be of purchasing tools having features that they actually need. Due to this attitude, enterprises find themselves
surrounded by highly complex and equally expensive tools that are of no use other than becoming shelfware.
When selecting requirements management software, make sure that it is easy to use. Otherwise, however
powerful the software might be, thanks to its complexity the software development team would think twice
before using it.
Invest in easily customizable tools so that the development team can manage requirements the way they want
rather than allow the tools to dictate. Following a specific methodology would be difficult for the development
team to cope with in the long.
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