|Author||Angela Hathaway and Thomas Hathaway|
Writing requirements is one of the core competencies for anyone in an organization responsible for defining future Information Technology (IT) applications. However, nearly every independently executed, root-cause analysis of IT project problems and failures in the past half-century have identified "misunderstood or incomplete requirements" as the primary cause. This has made writing requirements the bane of many projects. The real problem is the subtle differences between "understanding" someone else’s requirement and "sharing a common understanding" with the author.
"How to Write Effective Requirements for IT – Simply Put!" gives you a set of 4 simple rules that will make your requirement statements more easily understood by all target audiences. The focus is to increase the " common understanding" between the author of a requirement and the solution providers (e.g., in-house or outsourced IT designers, developers, analysts, and vendors).
The rules we present in this book will reduce the failure rate of projects suffering from poor requirements. Regardless of your job title or role, if you are tasked with communicating your future needs to others, this book will guide you step by step. It includes optional exercises with instant feedback to increase retention.
Who should read this book?
Anyone involved in capturing, writing, analyzing, or understanding requirements for Information Technology solutions, including (but not limited to):
- Subject Matter Experts (SME)
- Agile Product Owners
- Business Process Managers
- Business Process Users
- Business Analysts
- and anyone wearing the BA hat
Regardless of your title or role, if you are involved in defining requirements, this book is for you. Specifically, this book will give you techniques to:
- Express business and stakeholder requirements in simple, complete sentences
- Write requirements that focus on the business need
- Test the relevance of each requirement to ensure that it is in scope for your project
- Translate business needs and wants into requirements as the primary tool for defining a future solution and setting the stage for testing
- Create and maintain a question file to reduce the impact of incorrect assumptions
- Minimize the risk of scope creep caused by missed requirements
- Ensure that your requirements can be easily understood by all target audiences
- Confirm that each audience shares a common understanding of the requirements
- Isolate and address ambiguous words and phrases in requirements.
- Use our Peer Perception technique to find words and phrases that can lead to misunderstandings.
- Reduce the ambiguity of a statement by adding context and using standard terms and phrases
How to get the most out of this book?
To maximize the learning effect, you will have optional, online exercises to assess your understanding of each presented technique. You will run across chapter titles prefaced with the phrase “Exercise”. Those chapters contain a link to a web-based exercise that we have prepared to give you an opportunity to try the presented technique yourself.