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Software Requirements: Why and Who?

Michael Shrivathsan
Michael Shrivathsan has worked in silicon valley for over 20 years, in various roles responsible for requirements management (including leadership roles).

In my last post, I covered the definition of requirements – i.e. the What. We also briefly touched upon why requirements are important.

In this post, I’ll dive deeper into the Why and Who of requirements. That is:

  • Why are requirements important?
  • Who uses requirements?

Let’s get started, shall we?

Why Are Requirements Important?

As I mentioned in my previous post (linked above):

Requirements form the basis for any software development project, as they drive all activities that follow. As a result, it is very important to get requirements right – otherwise, the entire project can fail.

Here’s a (poorly hand-drawn!) visualization of this point…

Requirements Input

As you can see, requirements constitute the input to every project. If requirements are bad – the world famous, super awesome GIGO effect kicks in, and the odds of project success go down big time.

Now, the next question – who exactly uses requirements…

Who Uses Requirements?

Short answer: Every software development project uses requirements. So everyone involved in a development project uses requirements too – directly or indirectly. Now, let us dive deeper into this…

 Every development project uses requirements:

  • Most projects use detailed, explicit requirements that are written down.
  • Some projects – such as extreme agile projects – use very short (or even one line) requirements.
  • Some projects may not write anything down at all – but even in such projects, there is a set of requirements that the project team members agree upon verbally.

People involved in a development project:

Everyone involved in a development project uses requirements – directly or indirectly. Here are some of the most common job roles of people who use requirements:

Job role How they use requirements
Product Managers, Product Marketing Managers Capture, develop and document requirements
Business Analysts, System Analysts Capture, develop and document requirements
UI, UX Designers Consume requirements as a part of designing UI/UX
Architects, Developers, Engineers Consume requirements as a part of developing the product
QA Testers Consume requirements as a part of testing the product
Project Managers Manage requirements
Executives, Customers Read requirements and provide feedback
Documentation, Support Personnel Create documentation, support material

Okay, that is the Why  and Who of requirements. In my next post, I’ll cover the different types of requirements

Editor’s Note:

Psst! Interested in an affordable, enterprise-quality software to help you manage requirements in a better way? Check it out with a FREE 30-Day Trial or sign up for a 1-on-1 Demo.

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