By: Varun Kothari

Software Requirement Documentation: Importance And Best Practices

Software Development

In the entire software development cycle that follows, requirement gathering, analyzing and software requirements documentation have a major role to play.

These requirements are known to be the key identifier of the perception of the business stakeholder for the system, its integration, behavior, and its environment. Further, the entire business operations are known to run accordingly. Later, the software requirement documentation fulfills the needs of stakeholders according to their varied areas of expertise.
The preparation of a well-documented requirement is, therefore, a matter of discussion.

Moreover, there are many more things to be discussed in a detailed manner which we would consider here.

What Is Software Requirement Documentation?

What Is Software Requirement Documentation?

Software requirement specifications clear the functions, needed capabilities, constraints and creativity of a software development project in writing. An SRS document considers the wishes of the stakeholders and all the elements from functional and non-functional areas. This includes the operation and interaction of the software with users and problems that can be solved by it. It further supports the process of designing and development by acting as a “parent” document.
This document is then usable in estimating the cost of designing, building templates, validation, testing, and delivery.

Also, the algorithm for ranking functional elements and what is to be actually verified during testing and validation is specified in the document. This had been long used during the designing and development of new software. One of the major objectives of doing so is to realize actual requirements before designing, documentation and coding for the software begin.

Importance of Software Requirement Documentation

Importance of Software Requirement Documentation

There are many different elements that makeup SRS in software engineering to be an integral part. Its ability to communicate the actual operation and objective of the software to the stakeholders is one of the most essential among all.

All the elements of the product are specifically mentioned before the developers write a single line of coding. The narratives, visuals including tables and graphs, and specifications make it all very clear. Developing an SRS is equally important irrespective of the fact that software is being developed in-house or there is the involvement of any external development resources. Some major objectives of SRS are as follows:

  • An accurate explanation of the work that needs to be actually accomplished.
  • Clear details and easy management for software developers and designers.
  • Utilizing case scenarios for testing teams.
  • Bringing up customer requirements into features.
  • Updatable source of truth in relation to software development.
  • Fetches input from various stakeholders.

Best Practices for Software Requirement Documentation

Best Practices for Software Requirement Documentation

Since this is going to be an essential task in a software development process, you need to be sure that you use the best methods and tactics and in order to prepare the required documentation. Here are some of the best practices that would help you get the best work done.

1. Tangible

You should be sure that the requirements are measurable and concrete. There should be no use of abstract terms like excellent, good, efficient etc. Rather you should try to include more measurable and quantitative terms in the same. For example, The high-level requirement had been mentioned as “The system should possess good performance.” This could better be written as “The page loading time should not be more than 5 seconds.”

2. Atomic

It should be ensured that the requirements are specific and presentable at the basic level. Breaking down the high-level requirements as per the different atomic levels would easily bring up appropriate clarity in the SRS document. Also, all requirements should be presented carefully as a separate and single entity. For example, The high-level requirement had been written as “The application should support creating new and updating the existing Work Orders.” This can be rather written as “The application should possess the capability of creating new Work Orders. The application should possess the capability of updating/editing existing Work Orders.”

3. Valuable/ Important

The client would always prove to be the best judge for their business requirements. Therefore, once the documentation is prepared to get it reviewed by the client should be taken into consideration.This is something really important and generally the best idea. The requirements that are regarded to be important as per the client cannot be omitted.

4. Complete and Accurate

Rather than being open-ended and ambiguous, the requirements should be well defined and complete. The details should be accurate enough to reflect the business perspectives and needs of the client very clearly. For Example, The requirement states “The application should be able to integrate with Payment gateways.” However it should be actually stated as “The application should integrate with Payment Gateways – DirecPay and PayPal.”

5. Consistent

Conflicting requirements should not be stated in the software requirement specification. In case of conflicts, the user would be required to make up a trade-off decision. In order to maintain clarity among the stakeholders, the requirements should be consistent and compatible with each other.

6. Verifiable

The requirements that had been stated should be verifiable as per the existing constraints of environment and expertise. Also, the non-functional requirements should be mentioned with a quantitative value so that they are easily verifiable. For example, the high-level requirement is “The application should present worthy performance.” It should be rather mentioned as “The page loading time for the application should be 5 seconds.”

7. Implementation

Design perspectives or implementation should not be mentioned in the SRS document. Rather than design choices and implementations and design choices, the focus should be laid on probable solutions to the needs of the stakeholder.

8. Concise

With its expertise in various domains, this documentation tends to cater to the needs of several stakeholders. Therefore, the documentation should be created briefly though it should be able to clarify intends to all the stakeholders.

9. Modifiable

Perfect requirement documentation is the one whose organizational structure is well defined and is easily adaptable. It should avoid any redundancies and should be modifiable as per requirements.

10. Traceable

The required documentation should be prepared such that it can pace way to the origin of development and also back to the present documents prepared by the SRS.

Considering the above points would let you prepare a well-defined and appropriate Software Requirement Documentation.