February 12, 2021

8 Best Practices for Documenting Business Requirements on Software Development Projects

Producing world-class software demands well-defined business requirements. These include the project priorities, the release cycle, and allocating the budget for software development and maintenance—which should all be based on the needs of the business. The requirements document should also establish how to resolve conflicts and identify risks.

Chances are good, if your organization struggles with software development projects, the cause originates in your methodology for documenting business requirements—the first of seven important areas in the software development process. To help you solve this challenge, you can begin by completing a base requirements template – available from your software development services company.

Best Practices for Documenting Business Requirements

As you work your way through the template, here are eight best-practices that will guide you in documenting the business requirements and set your development project up for success:

  1. Assign resources to write the business requirements who understand all stakeholder needs and the project’s software development language.
  2. Meet with stakeholders from every business unit impacted by the project—preferably in one-on-one meetings to ensure everyone is heard.
  3. Reconcile conflicts among stakeholders who disagree on a requirement; it’s critical to do so before development begins.
  4. Identify the target audience for each requirement, which will factor into the end-user testing process.
  5. Ensure each requirement is testable so that achieving it can be validated.
  6. Facilitate testing by defining each requirement separately; combining two or more into one definition may make validation impossible.
  7. Specify the exact success metrics for satisfying each requirement; “easy to use” is ambiguous and difficult to define as to when it’s achieved.
  8. Leverage images, graphs, charts, diagrams, workflows, use-cases and visual prototypes to articulate the documented requirements to non-technical stakeholders.

Provide a Final Opportunity to Comment

After your team finalizes the document, verify with each stakeholder that the business requirements are on-target. Also give them one last chance to comment before development begins. While it may be frustrating to accommodate change requests at this point, it costs a lot less to address these issues now than it will after the project starts. Your development process will also flow a lot more smoothly.

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