Danish companies waste important development resources by not specifying exactly what needs to be developed. Does your company also waste resources in that way?

By Carsten Jørgensen and Susanne Otto

A strong requirement specification, which is available to all project participants and shared with all subcontractors, is an important tool for developing reliable and robust products that meet the relevant requirements from the authorities, the customers and your company.

In the specification phase, it is imperative that there are sufficient resources and the necessary knowledge to ensure that the requirements are verifiable and testable.

What is your company's starting point?

Preparing a good requirements specification can require the use of a number of different techniques, depending on which of the following the project is aimed at:
  • a brand-new product
  • a new technology to produce your existing product
  • new features for an existing product
  • or a new application or new surroundings
Use scenarios, for example, are effective in developing a brand-new product, both in an established company and in a start-up. In this way, you will ensure that you know what you are developing and will, therefore, have a good basis for the subsequent requirements specification.

If, on the other hand, it is one of the other cases listed above, then it is a good idea to start from an existing requirement specification.

Does your requirement specification include both hardware and software?

You can save a lot of time and money in the development process by establishing clear success criteria and specific reference standards for each requirement related to:
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Mechanical specifications
  • Operational life cycle
  • Use environment

Do you use agile software development techniques?

In principle, requirement specifications are not part of agile software development, but many companies benefit from having an overall requirement specification before embarking on software development. It provides a good overview of where you are going.

At that point, you can create specifications on the basis of, among other things, user stories, which you can typically keep track of with the help of a tool, such as Jira.

Review your requirements and save important resources

Another way to save significant resources is by conducting a review of your requirements. This review should be conducted in collaboration with someone who is external to the project because it is easy for familiarity to blind you to defects which an outsider would see. It can be either someone in your company who is not involved in the project or an independent third party.

During the review, among other things, we assess whether the requirements are:
  • nationwide
  • clearly separated from comments, implementation, background, etc.
  • testable
  • specified for the relevant product level and do not mix up system and component level specifications.
  • mutually consistent
Read more about requirements specification and review of requirements here.