Requirements engineering can be a notoriously difficult and lengthy task; however the success of a project relies upon it, and so it goes without saying that professionals should continue to look for new and innovative ways in which they can improve the process of requirements engineering. In this guide we look at the basis of requirements engineering, the commonly associated problems that go along with this stage of a project and how you can look to streamline your processes.
The problems associated with requirements engineering
There are many, many problems associated with requirements engineering; these can fall under a number of categories, including sufficient definition of system scope, issues surrounding the understanding of different stakeholder needs, finding common ground between stakeholders and issues surrounding the ever changing nature and understanding of requirements. Additionally, given that every project is different from the previous; we’ve seen at www.requirementone.com that there can be innumerable amount of other problems that may only pertain to the circumstances of the project in hand.
The possible consequences of not undertaking successful requirements engineering
The aforementioned issues may lead to an end system that fails to meet one or more of the stakeholder’s needs cancellation the entire project, unacceptably high maintenance costs as well as a system that needs to be continually adapted.
Improving your requirements engineering
With the common issues in mind, here are some ways in which you can improve your requirements engineering:
Dealing with stakeholder’s differing views
A common issue with requirements elicitation is that very often, there’s not enough time dedicated to it; and if there is, the follow on sessions that confirm the varying needs of stakeholders is disjointed. Whilst it can be extremely difficult organising multiple meetings of all the stakeholders at once, it is practically essential if you are to establish a workable software solution.
Inevitably, different staff members, work groups and people at varying positions of power will have wildly different thoughts on what they believe to be important factors. Very often, unless they hear one another’s thoughts, they can have no idea as to just how polarised opinions can be. Group meetings are, very often, the only way to do this (as well as avoiding being the middle man that is continually flitting between groups and meeting opposition.
Improving the tools of presentation
Very often, stakeholders find it difficult to understand the features of the proposed system; this isn’t helped by convoluted presentations and far from effective presentation tools. Keeping a focus on lay man’s terms is essential in ensuring the project stakeholders understand every last detail of what the proposed system will and will not do.
Appropriate evaluation of requirements
It is an extremely difficult task to ensure that the evaluation of requirements are balanced. There are few projects that are free from the more powerful stakeholder’s (such as a Managing director) having a larger influence when evaluating what is and isn’t to be implemented. Keeping a balanced view, and knowing when some demands simply aren’t as important as others, no matter whose they are, is vital to the success of a project.
The life of a software developer is a continually evolving one; by staying abreast of techniques in requirements engineering and elicitation, you can ensure that you develop as a robust professional within the industry.