6 reasons to pursue requirements gathering for your next project
Requirements gathering has the potential to be a complete game-changer for your next software project. But what are the key benefits of requirement gathering? Why is time spent upfront gathering requirements such a worthwhile investment? And is there a requirements gathering template you can follow?
Here, we outline 6 key reasons to pursue requirements gathering for your next project, plus consider getting started with requirement gathering techniques.
Did you know flawed requirements trigger 70% of project failures? Furthermore, up to 50% of project rework is due to problems with requirements1.
It pays to spend time gathering project requirements properly. Requirements gathering is an essential process that lets you truly determine a project’s needs, and understand what success looks like. Ultimately, the clearer the requirements, the lesser the unknowns.
Investing in this process is becoming increasingly important for software development and architectural design. As software systems become more complex and ambitious, and you’re expected to meet faster development cycles, it’s never been more critical to understand the functional, technical and systematic demands of a project from the very outset.
Undertaking requirements gathering at the start of a project gives you the chance to meet with stakeholders and ask essential questions before work gets underway. The result? By taking the time to be clear about project requirements, you can identify any potential risks and make sure they’re mitigated.
The result? You’ve primed your new software product for the greatest chance of success.
So, what are the 6 all-important benefits to gathering requirements for a project?
First of all, requirements gathering means you remove the risk of spending time and effort on product features that are either not needed or unfeasible. By default, this leads to better results, as your team can focus on what really matters. No one’s time is wasted and you reach your project’s goals faster. The bottom line? Requirements gathering is better for business, morale and outcomes.
Next, because you’ve taken the time to properly map your software product’s requirements, you can truly understand the functional, technical and systematic pressures that will be placed on your platform. This means you can set realistic and achievable timescales for bringing your system to market - or, at the very least, the MVP. Successfully gathering requirements means you can have the confidence and peace of mind that deadlines will be met and timeframes adhered to.
As you’ve taken the time to be clear about stakeholder’s assumptions about your product, and plot your user’s business needs, less money will be wasted. You’ve not only identified the steps needed to achieve your desired outcomes, but minimise risk too. You’ve taken every opportunity to remove rework from the project timeline.
By documenting stakeholder expectations and user needs, the project team will have a clear understanding of the product’s overall requirements, vision and scope, which change requests can be considered against. Otherwise, the alternative is ambiguity. Requirements might be interpreted incorrectly by teams, or end up being a source of conflict among stakeholders further down the line. This can lead to delays and costly overruns.
The software development industry has the fastest growth rate (5.3%) among business sectors2. With rising expectations for faster and faster development cycles across the industry, requirement gathering is the most promising means of achieving faster developments. Precise, documented requirements ensure there are no avoidable delays to delivering your product. Plus, everyone’s happier, from the whole project team, right down to individual stakeholders.
Lastly - and here’s the best part - because you’ve invested in understanding a project’s requirements upfront, the chances are that you’ll not only be on target to hit deadlines, you may even exceed them. Gathering requirements is your best opportunity for project certainty. Once you have a greater overview of all the actions that need to be undertaken, you unlock opportunities to accomplish greater productivity gains in the process. You will work smarter, and reap the rewards of this approach.
Getting started with gathering requirements
Now the advantages of gathering requirements are clear, it’s a case of how to get started. There are many factors to take into consideration when approaching this task. Which requirement-gathering techniques are the most effective? What questions do you need to ask? How do you avoid ambiguous requirements? What impact are the latest regulations having on this process? And how does platform choice shape your software project’s requirements?
For example, on that final point, you may face certain constraints depending on the platform your product is running on. For embedded hardware, integration is one issue to bear in mind. Every embedded device is different, so it pays to be clear about the platform your product is intended to be used on. Otherwise, integration can be a real challenge, as what works on one processor may not work on another.
Alternatively, operating systems are a crucial factor to consider for mobile. Whether Apple iOS or Google Android, the differences between operating systems are significant. It’s essential during the requirements-gathering phase to define which operating systems your product will support.
When progressing to new software development and architectural design projects, it can be helpful to have a best practice template to follow for requirements gathering.
That’s why we’ve created a new e-guide, which offers:
- A 5-step template for software development, and
- A 5-step template for architectural design
From better results to reduced costs, clearer expectations to faster delivery, learn how to unlock all the benefits of requirements gathering with our 5-step templates.
Access your complimentary requirements gathering e-guide now.
1 Info-Tech Research Group, ‘Flawed Requirements Trigger 70% of Project Failures’, https://www.infotech.com/research/flawed-requirements-trigger-70-of-project-failures
2 TrueList, ‘19 Interesting Software Development Statistics’, https://truelist.co/blog/software-development-statistics/