A requirements document explains why a product is needed, puts the product in context and describes what the finished product will look like. It will include a formal list of requirements.
Requirements come from end users and customers. These requirements are statements of what a system should do rather than how it should do it.
Requirements High Points
The process of gathering requirements helps you better understand the problem you are trying to solve. You want users and customers to contribute in order to create a full description of the solution. Wide involvement builds a better solution consensus. It gets everyone involved and lets them know that their voices have been heard.
Interviewing the users and customers will help you clarify a vision for the solution. A clear vision of the solution should help you purchase the right solution.
Why Write a Requirements Document?
Involving major stakeholders in gathering your requirements ensures that everyone agrees on what is to be done.
It is a communications tool that can avert any misunderstandings and save time. It will help you set expectations for the project.
A requirements document serves as a guide to development and testing of your solution. A thorough list of what the solution should do will help the vendor and implementers get it right.
It will serve as input to your project plan. The more thorough you are with your requirements document, the better the project plan.
Your requirements document will help define the scope of the project.
Keep an Open Mind
The requirements document should discuss what you want your solution to do, not how it should do it. Be cautious – do not start with a technology in mind. Focus on the solution.
If you have your vendor build your requirements document, it will likely be slanted towards their solution. If you do this without any outside help, you may miss out on some needed features.
Get help from someone who has done this before. Choose someone that doesn’t have anything to gain if you choose one path over another.
The better the requirements document, the better solution you will end up with. So, spend the time and money to do it right.
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