Definition “Requirements Analysis” What is a requirements analysis?
14.01.2022By Gedeon Rauch
Often miscommunication ensures that the work between developers and stakeholders does not go smoothly. A requirements analysis helps to develop software correctly right from the start and to save time and costs.
In the life cycle of a software, requirements analysis is the first priority.
What a software can ultimately do is a question that programmers clarify in code. But what the software must or should be able to do is actually a much more decisive question, and many teams are failing to come up with a clear definition right there.
Requirements analysis is an intersection of project management and software development and as such takes a decisive part in the development of a software, an app or a system. Whether in cooperation with the commissioning parties in the B2B segment or in order to be able to better serve the wishes of B2B customers: a requirements analysis sets the course towards success.
What exactly is a requirements analysis?
In a requirements analysis, entrepreneurial aspects and aspects of computer science come together to represent an interface between the definition of a project and the final examination of the software.
This is particularly important when working with external clients, as they often have only a rudimentary understanding of software development and the responsible development team needs a clear plan for the software to be programmed. This is exactly what the requirements analysis represents:
- What should the software be able to do?
What should the development team do?
Which functions must be integrated?
How can success be verified?
Requirements analysis in the Software Development Life Cycle
In the life cycle of a software, requirements analysis comes first, followed by design, implementation, testing, publication and maintenance. It is precisely this critical point in the project that makes it clear that good communication is essential here in order to be able to use time and budget efficiently for the best possible quality of the final product.
Nevertheless, the requirements analysis is of too little importance in practice in many companies, since developers prefer to go “into medias res”, i.e. plunge into the work and start directly with the design. However, the later it becomes apparent that a software cannot meet the requirements of the customer, the more costly and time-consuming the revision process becomes.
Rephrasing vague ideas and ideas of a contracting company into a requirements analysis can avoid a lot of frustration and immediately ensures clear communication between all parties. Both stakeholders and the development team know exactly what the system to be developed must be able to do.
To ensure this, the requirements analysis is formulated clearly, clearly and simply. At the same time, the feasibility and verifiability of the requirements are considered, both points relate to both the technology and the economy. It is therefore also a matter of coordinating the requirements of the commissioning parties with the available budget and time frame.
Requirements do not only relate to the software (e.g. “the program must support common image formats (.jpg, .png, .bmp)”), but also to the developer (e.g. “the programmers provide progress reports on a monthly basis, and video calls are coordinated with the stakeholders on a weekly basis”).
Create an internal requirements analysis
However, requirements analyses can (and should) also be created by software manufacturers themselves in order to be able to better coordinate the development in the early phase. What expectations should the software meet and what should the product deliver as a release version? What is the current state of the features and what target state can they be transferred to during the next update? The more precise the requirements analysis is, the sooner problem areas or bottlenecks in budget and scheduling become apparent.
Better communication as part of software development
In project management, it has long been understood that communication is a key factor for the success or failure of a project. This is exactly the same with software development, because whether all stakeholders are satisfied simply depends on whether their requirements have been met accordingly. But because this is not clearly communicated in every order briefing, contract or conversation, the creation of a requirements analysis is so extremely important. In addition, all parties receive reinsurance that their interests are taken into account and know what they can rely on at the end of the software project.
The requirements analysis from the perspective of the commissioning parties
Requirements analysis is so important not only for IT professionals, but also commissioning companies benefit from a clear requirements analysis and the recording in a specification sheet. If contracts are advertised, an existing requirements analysis can help to compare the solution approaches of different development teams and thus select the right team.
Conclusion – the cornerstone for agile development
The clear definition of a project saves late changes and gives an outline of the desired functionality already in the early phase. This not only facilitates work and collaboration, but also results in a better software product – even before a single line of code has been written.
With suitable software, it is also possible to meet digital specifications and specifications, so that work on the individual requirements can be coordinated even better between all stakeholders. In short, a requirements analysis shows what is desired, whether this is realistic, how it is carried out and how success can be checked in the end.