What Is Requirements Management? (With Stages and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 19, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A vital component of every effective product development process involves recognizing and satisfying business, user, and stakeholder requirements. Most businesses and professionals develop requirements management systems to help them identify relevant requirements, meet those instructions, and define how such requirements align with long-term organizational objectives. Understanding the elements that constitute an effective process for managing requirements can help you improve product quality, customer satisfaction, and team communication.

In this article, we answer the question, "What is requirements management?", outline its stages, discuss elements of project requirements, explore the importance of managing requirements, outline the types of project requirements, and provide a few tips.

What is requirements management?

Requirements management is the strategy organizations employ to ensure it aligns its process with relevant project requirements. These strategies apply throughout a project's lifecycle and can accommodate new requirements and changes to existing ones. They also form a vital part of project management and inform an organization's plan to meet its product development targets. Generally, project and product managers are responsible for managing project requirements.

Project requirements are the functions, specifications, and tasks that define the successful completion of a project. You can consider these requirements when defining a project's objectives, scope, resources, and milestones. These requirements also guide the execution of a project by defining its result. Project requirements combine various features to ensure they're helpful in project management. One of the essential features of a project requirement is its specificity, which helps you define clear goals.

Stages of requirements management

Some typical stages involved in managing project requirements include:

Collection

The collection stage of requirements management involves collating, determining, documenting, and managing relevant requirements. The nature of the project determines which requirements are relevant. Most requirements management processes address the stakeholders' requirements at this stage. Other forms of requirements to address are business and user requirements. You can apply various techniques when interacting with the relevant parties to determine their requirements. These techniques include interviews, workshops, observations, surveys, prototypes, questionnaires, context diagrams, benchmarking, and document analysis.

Analysis

Analyzing involves interpreting the data from the collection processes to determine the best approaches for meeting the relevant requirements. This stage of requirements management involves building prototypes and observing their interaction with existing requirements. You can also categorize requirements to make more effective analyses. Categorizing requirements allows you to group related requirements and apply similar approaches to resolving them. For instance, you can categorize requirements by determining if they relate to a product or project's functional, operational, or transitional requirements. This stage also helps determine how requirements align with a team's abilities and long-term objectives.

Related: 7 Analysis Questions to Ask (With Example Answers)

Definition

This stage of the process allows you to apply the requirements you collect and analyze to define your objectives for a project. In defining requirements, you can determine your estimates for a project, conduct risk assessments, and establish deadlines. Documenting the findings from this stage is important as they become valuable in creating user stories, maps, and personas. You can also export such documents into requirements management tools or software.

Prioritization

The success of most projects and project management strategies depends on how well they manage scarce resources. The scarcity of relevant resources makes it crucial to prioritize project requirements and allocate resources accordingly. Ensure that resources serve the most vital requirements to make prioritization measures effective. While your experience is valuable at this stage, it's also helpful to collaborate with users, stakeholders, and customers. Their input at this stage helps you prioritize effectively and develop practical alternatives.

Related: Developing Prioritization Skills to Achieve More at Work

Validation

Validation involves the evaluation of management processes to ensure they comply with requirements. This stage can occur singularly or repeatedly throughout the process of requirements management. Validation becomes necessary at different stages if a project is complex and has various requirements. You can verify by certifying different project stages after ensuring compliance with requirements. Your certification at various project stages can also serve as a way to establish milestones.

Elements of project requirements

Here are some of the features that constitute typical project requirements:

  • Specificity: This is a core feature of project requirements as it concisely outlines a project's end goal. You can improve the specificity of a project requirement by asking straightforward questions at the requirement collection stage.

  • Feasibility: The feasibility of a requirement refers to how the end goal shapes the attainability of a project. This feature helps determine how resources contribute to a project.

  • Necessity: A relevant project feature is necessary to the project's management process. You can determine a requirement's necessity by how it influences the project's result.

  • Comprehensibility: It's important for a project requirement to be understandable by all team members and relevant professionals. This allows non-experts to act on its provisions and identify a collective end goal.

  • Testability: This feature of project requirements allows you to conduct tests to validate a project's compliance with user or business requirements. These tests can include a user acceptance test enabling you to review your product using the results.

  • Accuracy: A valid project requirement speaks accurately to an end user's needs. This feature allows you to rely on the contents of a requirement as a true reflection of an end user's experience.

Importance of requirements management

Here are some of the benefits related to managing project requirements:

Improves cost-efficiency

Managing requirements for a project helps you determine the relevant resources for completion. You can also use the management process to prioritize resources for the project aspects that the end users' requirements emphasize. This can help you direct resources where they're most vital and achieve cost efficiency. The specificity of this process also enables you to achieve maximal results for every resource allocation.

Adds definitive project scope

Collecting, analyzing, and defining requirements helps you determine a precise scope for your projects. By defining the scope, you can enjoy other benefits, such as accurate projections of relevant resources. You can also use your understanding of the scope to determine how to apply your expertise and the type of team to assemble.

Read more: What Is the Scope Baseline in Project Management? (A Guide)

Enhances collaboration

The nature of requirements management establishes interactions between you and the end user, customer, or stakeholder. These interactions allow you to collaborate effectively with those you intend a project for and determine their needs. Requirements management also helps you connect seamlessly with other relevant departments for product development.

Related: 9 Smart Ways to Work Effectively with Others

Improves product quality

Most products and projects are popular among customers and clients depending on how well they meet their needs. Requirements management improves the quality of a project's result by starting the project with a clear definition of requirements. You can then develop products and manage projects while streamlining them to a specific need.

Types of project requirements

Here are some requirements that are important to consider in project management:

Business requirements

Business requirements relate to the organizations' short- and long-term objectives for a project. Business plans and models usually reflect these requirements. These requirements align with other requirements at the analysis stage. You can consider these requirements when determining how the execution of the project contributes to existing goals. For instance, you can provide product instructions in multiple languages when a business aims to expand into new markets.

User requirements

User requirements outline the needs of a project or product's end user. The nature of the project determines the user whose requirements are relevant to the structure and management of the project. For instance, you can determine relevant user requirements from a project's user, customer, client, or stakeholder. User requirements address their pain points and the details of their experience when interacting with a product or service. This makes the requirements vital in improving customer experience and developing products. You can also utilize the requirements you collect and analyze from users to design user stories, personas, and maps.

System requirements

System requirements are features that a product or project requires to function technically. This type of project requirement usually combines a consideration of functional and non-functional requirements. Functional requirements relate to the capabilities, features, and behaviours of a product. For instance, the Wi-Fi compatibility of a smartphone satisfies a functional requirement. In contrast, non-functional requirements address factors contributing to functional features, such as the environment conducive to a product's function. These issues can include a product's performance, reliability, and security features. Product requirements documents (PRD) usually outline these requirements.

Tips for managing project requirements

Here are some relevant tips that can aid you during requirements management:

  • Use requirement management tools: You can use project management software and requirement management tools to automate various processes. These tools can help share and store vital information.

  • Create a process for updating or changing requirements: Unexpected requirements may arise, or it might be important to change existing requirements. Consider developing a process for managing such changes when they occur.

  • Conduct risk analysis: You can anticipate the likely issues by performing a risk analysis. Afterwards, develop possible solutions you can adopt to manage the problems when they occur.


Explore more articles