Requirements Analysis: Techniques & Example

Instructor: Joshua Stegmeyer
It is critically important that project requirements are analyzed completely, both while they are gathered and throughout the project life cycle. This lesson walks through several techniques, using an example of a simple development project.

Requirements Overload

A well run project means that all requirements for the project have been successfully gathered. Very often this can mean literally hundreds of statements about a project's goals and needs. It becomes very easy to lose track of key requirements, misunderstand others, or fail to see how several could fit together or even be mutually exclusive!

It is important that proper analysis of requirements be performed during the gathering process, as well as throughout the duration of the project. Much of this comes with experience; however, we'll walk through a few different helpful techniques, using a single project as an example. Today, we have been asked to develop a new toothbrush.

Categorization

Before we even begin gathering requirements, it's a very good idea to understand the different categories they can fall under. Having this knowledge in our minds can help understand the interrelations between requirements as they are gathered.

Functional Requirements are related to the actual performance of the product from the point of view of the end user. 'It must feel comfortable in my hand' is an example in this case.

Operational Requirements speak to the needs of an organization in relation to the project. In the case of a new product, 'The sales force must be properly trained' is common.

Technical Requirements define the technical needs not related to the product itself. Here a good example would be 'the product must be manufactured on existing equipment.'

Transitional Requirements include the steps taken to implement a new product. 'The first lot must be produced before the first order is due' is a perfect example of one of these.

Stakeholder Interviews

Stakeholder Interviews are exactly what they sound like: conversations with the stakeholders requesting certain requirements on a project, be they with individuals or groups. Just as they are useful in gathering the initial requirements, they are essential for refining and understanding those same points.

We can begin with 'we need a new toothbrush' at the start of a conversation; however, as the dialogue progresses, the finer points can be expressed. 'We need it before back-to-school season'; 'our target market is children'; and 'it has be be distinctive from our other products' would be the kinds of new requirements that can come from discussing the current ones.

Joint Requirments Development (JRD) Sessions

As requirements are gathered, you will find yourself in several Joint Requirement Development (JRD) sessions. These are cross-functional meetings in which project and product requirements are generated and discussed. These meetings can bring to light new relationships between requirements, as people from different areas discuss the project. 'We need it before back-to-school sales' may alarm engineers in manufacturing who are concerned about development of new equipment, making the only possible compromise a new requirement: 'we must use existing manufacturing equipment,' which will cascade in to several design requirements.

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