Clients often shy away from writing a requirements specification statement, either because they perceive it as too much effort, or because they don’t know what it should entail. You can help clients by supplying them with a questionnaire which they should answer as honestly as possible. This will help both sides to establish a shared understanding and prevent miscommunication.
This is how a requirements specification statement questionnaire could look like:
Reason for Project
- What was the reason for the project initiation?
- Was there a specific issue that triggered it?
- If the answer to the last question is yes, how did you deal with a similar issue in the past?
- Please define the project objectives. When would you consider the project a success?
- Please define the must criteria, the should criteria and the could criteria that the solution has to meet.
- Who are the important contact persons on the client’s end? Who are the decision-makers?
- In what context will you utilize the product? (number of users, target audience, physical environment, service life)
- Which frameworks have to be considered? (specific organizational standards and methods, interfaces, time scale)
- Please differentiate the product from existing systems – what should the product not entail?
- Functional requirements
- Which functionalities does the project need to have at the end of the project?
- How should the product behave in case of malfunction?
- Should the product be extendable?
- How should the maintenance for the product look like?
Scope of Delivery
- Besides the client, are there other subcontractors or project partners?
- If so, what will they deliver?
- What should not be delivered?
Project Plan and Milestones
- Which deadlines and milestones have to be met?
- Are there logical dependencies to other products or projects?
- How can the requirements specifications statement be edited (see change request)?
- Which decision-making authorities are there?
- Which issues still couldn’t be clarified and why?
- What can be done to resolve this?
Approval and Quality Requirements
- What are the strived for quality criteria?
- Which criteria have to be fulfilled before the project can be completed successfully?
(Text by Sabine Pfleger, translated by Linh Tran)