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How to capture better requirements

Requirements checklist

You may think capturing requirements for a project is common sense. However, you’d be surprised at how often it’s done in a slap dash, half-hearted manner. This results in all sorts of problems – from products that don’t deliver what the customer wanted, to work taking twice as long when it needs to be re-worked.

Gathering requirements is one of the most important and early jobs in a project. So how do you go about making sure that you gather meaningful requirements?

  1. Assign the task to a dedicated business analyst
  2. Make sure there is a high level scope statement that frames what the project is supposed to achieve. This will be used to frame the requirements gathering process and make sure it doesn’t include things that it shouldn’t
  3. Involve users, end customers, technical people, sponsors and stakeholders right from the beginning
  4. When defining the requirements makes sure that they are SMART: specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based
  5. Ensure the requirements documentation is clear, concise and includes all of relevant information
  6. When gathering requirements, always go in with an open mind – don’t assume anything!
  7. Get the requirements document signed off before starting work on the project

Plus, make sure you avoid making these common mistakes when gathering your requirements:

  1. Not prioritising requirements
  2. Presenting users with a solution before you understand what they want to achieve
  3. Making assumptions (again!)
  4. Not involving the right people in the requirements gathering process

Requirements gathering is all about making sure your project has a clear understanding of what it is supposed to deliver. It also enables you to provide a reference document for your test team to refer back to and make sure all of the requirements which have been identified are met by the solution being delivered.

Finally, to really streamline your requirements gathering process, consider using a requirements management tool. With Psoda’s requirements management tool, you can organise your project requirements, collaborate with your team, and manage change throughout the life of your programme or project. Try it free with a 30-day trial – click here to sign up.

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