How to address challenges with managing requirements

In this guest blog Sanjay Zalavadia, VP of Client Services at Zephyr, describes how to address some of the challenges associated with managing requirements. 

Gathering user requirements is essential to creating valuable functions and establishing ample test coverage to ensure that each element works appropriately. However, these demands may shift over the course of the project's lifecycle and development teams will be expected to address them right away. Here are a few tips to help organizations address challenges with managing requirements.

1. Build in increments

Transitioning operations to agile software development practices will actually help teams better manage requirements. Under waterfall environments, users wouldn't be able to look at the software until it was finished. Changes would be costly and take time to implement. With agile, teams can share projects with users to test and verify that their demands are being fulfilled. Software Development Management noted that by building a system in increments, users get to review each requirement and feature to address issues before the system is pushed live. Building in increments will help better introduce any adjustments and improve defect management capabilities.

2. Rein in the scope

Organizations might have numerous complicated requirements for their projects, but it's the responsibility of testers and developers to help rein in these expectations and to make them happen. At the same time, it's essential for development teams to keep within the scope they set, rather than looking to experiment with functionality or code. While it can be nice to go above and beyond for users, the features developed outside of the scope won't necessarily be useful or valuable, costing time and money.

It's integral to keep the scope consistent from the very beginning to ensure that user voices aren't lost in the process. As CIO contributor Moira Alexander noted, organizations can leverage user-specific models or role-based models to ensure that requirements are properly addressed and that internal controls and implementation are followed. Sticking to scope will be a major step in handling requirement challenges. Following this step will help manage difficulties in a way that makes sense to the project and benefits users.

3. Leverage tools

Managing everything at once can be overwhelming. However, with the right tools, organizations can have better visibility into the interconnected pieces and project status. As PTC noted, a quality testing tool should provide a link between a requirement and a test to validate that the requirement has been met. This type of feature can improve traceability if a test should fail and help establish a single source of truth. A capable tool can also help streamline change management and provide real-time information.

The only constant is change, and teams must be prepared for adjustments when managing user requirements. Facilitating shifting needs can take time, money and other resources, creating a number of challenges for development teams. However, by reining in the scope, building the app in increments and utilizing the right tools, developers and testers will mitigate a number of requirements difficulties, better support the agile development process and become more adaptable to user demands.

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