4 Reasons Requirements Analysis Must Be Priority One
Builders don’t construct homes without blueprints. Manufacturers can’t make a product without knowing what it’s supposed to be. And software designers can’t create a piece of software without first determining what the application is expected to do, a process called requirements analysis or requirements gathering.
This may seem like common-sense protocol, but in the software industry, there is a growing belief that software can be designed and implemented without first conducting a thorough requirements analysis. More and more software companies are either skipping this step altogether or doing a cursory analysis that doesn’t fully capture what features and capabilities are expected of the software. Others treat requirements gathering as an ongoing process that takes place throughout the course of a software project.
This, however, doesn’t make sense. The very purpose of software design is to implement the specifications of a piece of software—how can this be accomplished if these specifications weren’t established from the very beginning?
Software projects that underprioritize requirements run into problem after problem. Don’t let yours be one of them. Here are four top reasons your company should make requirements analysis the first step in your software project.
- Requirements analysis prevents scope creep.
There are a lot of details and decisions that take a software application from conception to implementation, and it’s hard enough without relying on guesswork. Without consensus on the software’s purpose, operation, and goals, the client may have a far more complex vision of what the application should do than the designer understands. Therefore, the resulting software won’t meet client expectations. At that point, changes and additions have to be made, expanding the scope of the project—which wouldn’t be necessary if a thorough requirements analysis had been performed at the beginning.
- Requirements analysis serves as concrete evidence in contractual disputes.
One of the most typical complaints from clients about software projects is that the application doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. The only way to know how software is supposed to perform, however, is with a thorough, written requirements analysis. Verbal agreements are difficult to enforce should the dispute lead to court.
- Requirements analysis keeps projects on time and on budget.
In the absence of a thorough requirements analysis, software is either being designed on the fly, according to a fluid and ongoing discussion of the application’s capabilities, or it’s being designed according to guesswork, leading inevitably to unmet expectations. In either case, time and cost overruns are nearly guaranteed. In the first scenario, there isn’t a definitive endpoint (nor budget) and thus no way to measure how the project is progressing toward completion. And in the second scenario, once the software doesn’t perform as the client envisioned, the revision process increases time and costs. The design team may even have to start over completely. The more reworks, the more the quality suffers.
- Requirements analysis makes software testing possible.
At the end of the project, the whole objective is for the software to work correctly—but against what standard? Software can only be tested for correct features, capabilities, and performance if the expected result has been established. Without a requirements analysis, no one knows whether the software is actually doing what it was designed to do.
At Prolifogy, requirements analysis is a core part of our service offerings. We perform this step at the beginning of all internal software projects, and we are also one of few firms to offer it as a standalone service.
As a team of software veterans with decades of education and hands-on experience creating new technology, Prolifogy is well-equipped to tackle even the most lengthy and complex requirements analysis. Let us help your company with this crucial step to ensure that your software project meets expectations, attains the highest quality, and stays on time and on budget.