Without adequate plans and procedures, software development teams will struggle to get the job done. That's why requirements management is one crucial part of any software project. But how do successful teams get it right? Here are the 10 success factors for mature requirements management!
In an accelerating digital market landscape, change is constant, and focus on UX and product quality are becoming critical success factors. Therefore, requirements management is becoming more and more important to engineers and development teams, and RM plays a great role in making or breaking the success of the product development organization.
Top 10 Requirements Management Success Factors
Requirements management is an expansive topic, with a lot of considerations to be taken into account, especially in the case of complex software projects. In our experience working with software teams, the following concepts are the 10 "tried and true" requirements management success factors to focus on:
An entire development team may have several different teams under its umbrella. Each of those teams uses different tools to manage their specific tasks and processes. This is even more true as the complexity of software and the needs of development teams continue to expand, driving the need for specialized tools and with it, siloization and data gaps.
This results in the need for one singular team-wide method for tracking the development process. Integration and traceability are vital for product quality, transparency, and efficiency in development.
Advanced development tools such as integrated Application Lifecycle Management platforms allow teams to track projects through every phase of the development process. In such a central collaboration hub, teams can see projects go from requirements management to development to QA and, finally, to deployment. The platform serves as a single source of development truth for all teams contributing to the final product.
Everyone tuning in to the same platform has everyone working toward the same goals. This significantly improves productivity, transparency, and delivery times.
2. Configuration and Change Management
The development process is more collaborative now than ever before. Customer needs are constantly changing. As a result, software requirements are becoming more complex, and more iterations of each project are created.
Managing changes and configurations to each iteration of a software project can be a nightmare without a central hub. Having the right requirements management process and tools in place helps to unify configuration and change management.
Many different developers can be involved in one software development project. If they aren't operating from a unified set of software requirements, you can end up with conflicting software versions. Redundancies like this can significantly slow down production time and inflate costs.
There are a large number of stakeholders in every project. Investors, development teams, project managers, and customers all have a vested interest in how a particular project performs.
Engineers formulating your list of software requirements, as well as QA team members, need to be able to work with customers.
To be effective, teams need to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery, welcome changes to requirements, and tune and adjust their behavior regularly. In addition, these teams need to be able to meet with key players face-to-face. The business side and IT side of your project team also need to be unified.
4. Recycling Assets
A lot of time, energy, and effort go into every asset created by your team. Make sure to squeeze every asset you have for as much as you can get out of it.
This is where the iteration model of development comes in handy. As a project moves along, your team will have access to a robust project history. They can comb through a library of previous versions to see what works and what doesn't.
Requirements, chunks of source code, test cases, and other processes are a shortlist of the assets that can be reused to create your team's final product.
The quality of specifications matters, too. Find out how to write good requirements!
5. Use of Tools
The ideal scenario for any development team is for all of your people to be working on a unified platform. But that's not always the case. If a team is pioneering the proprietary development of a software platform, they may not have the luxury of leveraging such tools.
As a result, different tools are used for each aspect of the development process. Using several different tools that only serve one specific purpose can result in "tool friction."
To be successful with your requirements management, you'll want to work with tools that have built-in solutions for handling scaling and integration.
6. Requirements Management and IoT
Development projects that are Internet of Things-ready usually require the integration of hardware, software, and service. As a result, they can be a challenge for your requirements management strategy.
The best way to combat these challenges and make development as smooth as possible is to take a top-level view of the development lifecycle. Don't think in terms of the lifecycle of a single product. Think in terms of the lifecycle of everything as a whole.
Using this approach will significantly increase safety and reliability. It will also support compliance needs.
Download our eBook with BHC to learn more about aligning ALM and PLM processes:
7. Agile Requirements Management
Agile development processes are changing the landscape of IT projects. The process revolves around user stories that get the end-users involved in the development process.
It can be a challenge for teams to transition to Agile processes. Besides realizing a deep-rooted cultural change, the success of any Agile transition depends on having the right processes and tools in place. If you're going to transition to Agile development, your tools should foster smooth collaboration, transparency in Agile's fast-moving environment, and your tools should automate change control as much as possible. Look for tools that have recorded artifact trails to increase traceability.
DevOps is one of the most important aspects of your project. You want to do everything you can to help DevOps drive down the costs of your project while increasing quality. The better your team is at breaking down the wall between development and operations, the better they'll be at achieving this goal. This comes from a happy marriage of reviewing developer feedback and analyzing real-time data.
Don't miss out on key DevOps insights!
In mission-critical industries, safety and the robust functioning of software is vital. In order to ensure software product quality, regulations and guidelines (either by national governments or international standardization agencies) are adopted.
Regulatory bodies are continuously updating and strengthening these standards to ensure safety, reliability, and security for everyday products. The strict nature and number of these regulations are only going to increase as time goes on. As a result, it will be more challenging for development teams to achieve compliance.
This is where collaboration is key. Teams will need to develop airtight product review and validation processes. Review workflows, process traceability, and documentation will all become increasingly important.
10. Human Factors
And finally, an often forgotten factor. With most development teams needing to do more and do it better and faster, there is bound to be some friction. Project managers must resolve these issues quickly. They can be dangerous to employee satisfaction and morale, and could also negatively impact product quality in the long run. Development teams need to focus on transparency, accountability, and efficiency moving into the future to combat these issues. Automate as much as possible, and equip your software teams with modern tools to provide them with an efficient, cutting-edge work environment.
Looking for an ALM tool? Download this comparison report to find the best development platform for your needs:
Making Software a Success
Using the right practices, processes, and tools for requirements management will help your software and product team work together, and can contribute to high product quality. Ready to learn more about future-proofing your requirements management practices? Ready our guide to the most important RM success factors: