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Requirement Analysis

Requirement Analysis

Requirements Elicitation, Analysis And Specification

Requirements Analysis is the process of understanding the customer needs and expectations from a proposed system or application and is a well-defined stage in the Software Development Life Cycle model.

Requirements are a description of how a system should behave or a description of system properties or attributes. It can alternatively be a statement of ‘what’ an application is expected to do.

Given the multiple levels of interaction between users, business processes and devices in global corporations today, there are simultaneous and complex requirements from a single application, from various levels within an organization and outside it as well.

The Software Requirements Analysis Process covers the complex task of eliciting and documenting the requirements of all these users, modeling and analyzing these requirements and documenting them as a basis for system design.

A dedicated and specialized Requirements Analyst is best equipped to handle the job. The Requirements Analysis function may also fall under the scope of Project Manager, Program Manager or Business Analyst, depending on the organizational hierarchy.

Software Requirements Analysis and Documentation Processes are critical to software project success. Requirements Engineering is an emerging field which deals with the systematic handling of requirements.

Why is Requirements Analysis necessary?

Studies reveal that inadequate attention to Software Requirements Analysis at the beginning of a project is the most common cause for critically vulnerable projects that often do not deliver even on the basic tasks for which they were designed. There are instances of corporations that have spent huge amounts on software projects where the end application eventually does not perform the tasks it was intended for.

Software companies are now investing time and resources into effective and streamlined Software Requirements Analysis Processes as a prerequisite to successful projects that align with the client’s business goals and meet the project’s requirement specifications.

Steps in the Requirements Analysis Process


I. Fix system boundaries

This initial step helps in identifying how the new application integrates with the business processes, how it fits into the larger picture and what its scope and limitations will be.

II. Identify the customer

In more recent times there has been a focus on identifying who the ‘users’ or ‘customers’ of an application are. Referred to broadly as the ‘stake holders’, these indicate the group or groups of people who will be directly or indirectly impacted by the new application.

By defining in concrete terms who the intended user is, the Requirements Analyst knows in advance where he has to look for answers. The Requirements Elicitation Process should focus on the wish-list of this defined group to arrive at a valid requirements list.

III. Requirements elicitation

Information is gathered from the multiple stakeholders identified. The Requirements Analyst draws out from each of these groups what their requirements from the application are and what they expect the application to accomplish.

Considering the multiple stakeholders involved, the list of requirements gathered in this manner could run into pages. The level of detail of the requirements list is based on the number and size of user groups, the degree of complexity of business processes and the size of the application.

a) Problems faced in Requirements Elicitation

  • Ambiguous understanding of processes
  • Inconsistency within a single process by multiple users
  • Insufficient input from stakeholders
  • Conflicting stakeholder interests
  • Changes in requirements after project has begun

A Requirements Analyst has to interact closely with multiple work-groups, often with conflicting goals, to arrive at a bona fide requirements list. Strong communication and people skills along with sound programming knowledge are prerequisites for an expert Requirements Analyst.

b) Tools used in Requirements Elicitation

Traditional methods of Requirements Elicitation included stakeholder interviews and focus group studies. Other methods like flowcharting of business processes and the use of existing documentation like user manuals, organizational charts, process models and systems or process specifications, on-site analysis, interviews with end-users, market research and competitor analysis were also used extensively in Requirements Elicitation.

However current research in Software Requirements Analysis Process has thrown up modern tools that are better equipped to handle the complex and multilayered process of Requirements Elicitation. Some of the current Requirements Elicitation tools in use are:

  • Prototypes
  • Use cases
  • Data flow diagrams
  • Transition process diagrams
  • User interfaces

IV. Requirements Analysis Process

Once all stakeholder requirements have been gathered, a structured analysis of these can be done after modeling the requirements. Some of the Software Requirements Analysis techniques used are requirements animation, automated reasoning, knowledge-based critiquing, consistency checking, analogical and case-based reasoning.

V. Requirements Specification

Requirements, once elicited, modeled and analyzed should be documented in clear, unambiguous terms. A written requirements document is critical so that its circulation is possible among all stakeholders including the client, user-groups, the development and testing teams. Current requirements engineering practices reveal that a well-designed, clearly documented Requirements Specification is vital and serves as a:

  • Base for validating the stated requirements and resolving stakeholder conflicts, if any
  • Contract between the client and development team
  • Basis for systems design for the development team
  • Bench-mark for project managers for planning project development lifecycle and goals
  • Source for formulating test plans for QA and testing teams
  • Resource for requirements management and requirements tracing
  • Basis for evolving requirements over the project life span

Software requirements specification involves scoping the requirements so that it meets the customer’s vision. It is the result of collaboration between the end-user who is often not a technical expert, and a Technical/Systems Analyst, who is likely to approach the situation in technical terms.

The software requirements specification is a document that lists out stakeholders’ needs and communicates these to the technical community that will design and build the system. The challenge of a well-written requirements specification is to clearly communicate to both these groups and all the sub-groups within.

To overcome this, Requirements Specifications may be documented separately as

  • User Requirements - written in clear, precise language with plain text and use cases, for the benefit of the customer and end-user
  • System Requirements - expressed as a programming or mathematical model, addressing the Application Development Team and QA and Testing Team.

Requirements Specification serves as a starting point for software, hardware and database design. It describes the function (Functional and Non-Functional specifications) of the system, performance of the system and the operational and user-interface constraints that will govern system development.

VI. Requirements Management

Requirements Management is the comprehensive process that includes all aspects of software requirements analysis and additionally ensures verification, validation and traceability of requirements. Effective requirements management practices guarantee that all system requirements are stated unambiguously, that omissions and errors are corrected and that evolving specifications can be incorporated later in the project lifecycle.

Outsourcing Software Requirements Analysis Process to O2I

O2I’s Software Requirements Analysis Process effectively captures user-centric requirements with prototypes and use cases. Our Requirements Analysis Team applies best practices, tools, and methodologies for modeling and analyzing the requirements gathered and then map these to software capabilities for developing superior solutions.

Contact O2I here for outsourcing your Software Requirements Analysis Process to India. We offer comprehensive and in-depth Requirements Analysis by capturing use-case driven requirements which establish requirements traceability and translate into system designs that are aligned with your business objectives and goals.

To outsource your Software Requirement Analysis Process to O2I, fill our inquiry form today.

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