What does it take to write requirements in a structured way?

by Don Lowe

November 15, 2018

Finding the building blocks to create your software solution is getting more and more complex.

It’s getting harder and harder to capture all your business interests and at the same time respond to the necessities of detail, speed and cost management.

Poorly written requirements have no clear structure and only lead to misunderstandings.

What you need is simplicity and clarity. With the help of the capability breakdown structure you can start with the big picture and drill down into detail in an organised way. It is created during the Initial discovery phase.

Every software project starts off as an idea. The mistake many people make is to jump from the idea stage to the development stage before they have given sufficient thought to what the business really needs.

The purpose of the initial discovery phase of a software project, is to get a common understanding of what the business needs for each functional area and what the building blocks are.

Here are a couple of useful tips for you to follow at this point:

  • ​Focus your discussions on the end capability that you need in order to achieve your objectives.
  • ​Avoid the temptation of discussing features and functions. They will deliver the capability that you need.
  • stop
    ​Break down areas of capability to smaller components that are unique and independent from each other. Some of the functional areas may be five or six levels deep before you have sufficient information to understand what the end result should look like.

Once you have your capability breakdown structure you can define your build road map and then the detailed requirements in the form of user scenarios and acceptance tests.

If you would like more information or have a comment, please feel free to get in touch