Software development requires great attention in all of its steps. But one of them is essential for the entire process to work and it might ruin the whole project if it’s not done properly.
Gathering technical requirements is the first step for every software development project and it must be done in a precise and clear way, otherwise, the entire project might fail.
Here you will find how the mapping process should be done and why it is the most important part of your software development process.
What is gathering requirements?
Requirements gathering, also known as requirements elicitation, is the first step for every software development project. It is similar to a briefing for the IT team to understand the client’s needs and profile.
The entire project will be based on the survey carried out, determining what functions the software might have, why it should have them, and what the scope of the project will be. One of the biggest challenges found by IT teams in this phase is to have clear communication with their client since it has to be done in a clear and precise way to secure the project’s success.
The gathering can also face problems considering the client’s point of view. The analyst must understand the business needs, analyzing who will be the software end-user and what needs he might have.
What are the types of requirements?
There are two types of requirements to be analyzed when planning the project: functional and non-functional requirements.
- Functional requirements: the functional requirements are those that present the functions that the system must have, such as register, print, budgets, send files, etc.;
- Non-functional requirements: the non-functional requirements are those that correspond to the settings of the system, such as execution speed, safety rules, validations, and restrictions. Within the non-functional requirements, we can also add the business rules that correspond to the terms and rules of a program.
How should the requirements gathering be done?
The initial process starts with interviewing the client when the analyst seeks to find the client’s need for building the software. It’s also recommended that a smart quiz is sent to the client, considering all possibilities the analyst might see after the interview.
To avoid unnecessary comings and goings and possible project delays, it’s also recommended that members from all stakeholders participate as a team, showing different points of view and elaborating creative ideas and doubts to encourage smart thinking.
Thus, with a broader view, it is easier to point out the true needs of the client and to trace the project’s requirements. This team effort is called JAD — Joint Application Design.
After the data has been collected, the analysts must outline the requirements and classify them by categories to determine their level of importance. Requirements priority must be set according to the client’s needs.
What can happen if the requirements gathering fails?
Should requirements gathering fail, all the process could be compromised, no matter if it happened during the survey, interview, or even when developing the system itself. For the software to work perfectly, the team must comprehend what is the true need of the client and how the project should run.
In some cases, the end-user might not be the client, which makes the requirements gathering even more complex. Knowing these pieces of information is extremely important for the developer to comprehend what should the software look like.
To reduce the chances to get a wrong gathering of requirements, the developer must be efficient in the interview and produce a complete quiz that presents real situations to the customer. That way he would be able to have a more clear view of what the system should do and predict future needs.
Requirements gathering is the first and most important step in a software development project. When done clearly, the work gets easier for everyone involved, besides promoting team collaboration and a better outcome.
Failing on this step might turn the entire project into partial or complete failure since the result might not attend to the client’s needs.
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