Flawed software product requirements are one of the most common reasons of failed software projects. How do you prevent receiving not the product you want and expect to receive? It hugely depends on how well you gather requirements for your project—and this works for startups like nothing else. The more of these essential steps are missed, the more problems may arise later, with everyone involved having to sit late at night and fill in all the gaps.
Step #1. Document Everything About Your Software Project
When you are driven by passion for what you do and a desire to share it with the world, you seem to remember everything perfectly. It's never that way. Any initial documentation is a good start for a software specification, which becomes an essential artifact for both software developers and your potential investors. You won't lose the details that do tend to be lost. When you write an idea down, you develop it right there, then come up with another one, and so on. Ideas always come when you pay them due attention.
Step #2. The Sooner You Set The Goals, The Better
This is the universal rule for every software project. Your business goals are the basis for the upcoming decision-making, no matter if your project is about development of a mobile app or complex ERP system implementation
. All of your technical requirements will help the project achieve your business goals. If a requirement seems secondary for satisfying your objectives, leave it on the shelf until later. Your goals and business model can be expressed and developed with a startup canvas
Step #3. Set The Right Priorities For Project Development
For most startups, the user is the main priority. The user chooses the best available product. The user brings revenues. Startups don't have yearlong time to roll products out on the market. They let software development walk the agile way, offer a minimum viable product
to users, and improve with each new update
. This natural scheme of things works through prioritizing features. Research of the market and professional opinion in your business domain will help you determine what is necessary and what "would be nice." Well, it will be so until the first user feedback, which will help you to move on.
Step #4. Look For The Right People And Listen To Them
We already discussed before how and where you should look for a software development company to do the job. Besides your project team, we'll mention that the "right" people include investors, who are able to help your software product with marketing and media coverage. You should also look for those who can help you with testing your future product – your target audience, actual users. It goes without saying that professional feedback is valued for the sake of a great software product.
Step #5. Think About Users And Business Requirements, Your Team Will Find The Right Technical Tools
Specifications, sketches, notes, diagrams, user stories, goals of the product – determine what you need. After that, your project team will see how it can be done. Your designer knows how to design a good app
; this person will guide you through this stage. Meanwhile, experts of your project team will come up with the optimal tech stack, whether we are talking about simple iOS
apps or complex software systems
Step #6. Get Rid Of Ambiguities
Once you've found the right people to do the job, be clear and share your vision. Always make sure your team understands all your industry-specific terms you might use. Collect the main notions and create a project glossary. Illustrate everything whenever you can. When you systematize your software requirements and use certain terms and abbreviations, make sure to structure them; it will be valuable for the team in the future. Not to mention it'll save plenty of time.
Step #7. Never Neglect Details In Software Development
Many details pertaining to your product may seem generic and obvious, but never trick yourself into it. Write all of them down in a structured way. Don't rely on vague assumptions. "Users will need to create an account" is not enough. How many steps will it take? What fields do they need to enter? Do they need to confirm the activation via email? Will they be able to create it in one click through Facebook? Or maybe Twitter? What personal data will be accessed and will it be alright with the GDPR
requirements? Within the answers lies the feature.
Step #8. Keep In Mind: You'll Miss Something Anyway
You won't be able to capture everything once and for all. Something changes (say, your priorities or technologies), something gets forgotten, something needs to be altered, and somewhere there may be a mistake. Planning ahead is essential, but the point is being ready to fill in the gaps quickly and effectively. Keep your hand on the pulse of your software project; your software project team will do the same.
Step #9. Try Writing User Stories
''As a *user type*, I want to *perform a certain action* in order to *achieve a certain goal*.''
If you roughly know what your software is supposed to look like, try writing user stories with the help of sketches, proceeding from screen to screen. It's a great way of explaining features to your team, and a way to understand exact needs of your users.
Conclusion: Learn More About Gathering Requirements For Your Software Development Project