Software Testing 101

Requirements Management

November 15, 2018

One of the top causes for software failure is poor requirements management. This is why it is necessary to have a system for documenting, analyzing and prioritizing requirements. In the good old days, a humble spreadsheet would suffice to capture all the requirements. However, as software testing and development becomes more complex, a requirements management module is now an integral part of the QA tools.

Requirements management is an iterative set of activities that help in eliciting, documenting, organizing, and controlling changes to the requirements. It is a continuous process because requirements evolve and change through the cycle. The objective of requirements management is to make sure that the teams document, verify, and meet the needs and expectations of end users and stakeholders.

Requirements management enhances all major parts of your enterprise strategy by

  • Improving quality
  • Decreasing risks
  • Reducing repetitive work
  • Reducing cost
  • Ensuring effective scope management

While it sounds intuitive enough, the main challenge with Requirements management is that the gathering often occurs informally and documentation remains unchanged through the DevOps lifecycle even if the requirements are changing. Static documentation and uncontrolled changes lead to chaos, confusion, delays, budget over-runs and a poor-quality product.

Now imagine a complex, mission-critical, distributed application development. The lack of requirements management can have serious implications. Modern and mature systems of requirements management rely heavily on test planning and test case definitions so that there is traceability, adequate test coverage and a product that meets user expectations.

However, this means the use of sophisticated requirements management tools that enable the following process:

  • A shared, exhaustive and dynamic requirements repository
  • Access to requirements for all stakeholders
  • Easier dissemination and management of changes upstream/downstream across the lifecycle
  • Accurate monitoring, tracking and reporting on requirements
  • Requirements-based testing and test coverage analysis

To modernize your requirements management process, you need the right tools and processes in place. Here are some features that you should look for:

  1. Support for various software development methodsThere are many popular approaches for software development. Even within Agile, there are several methodologies based on the need. Your requirements management module needs to be adaptable to accommodate various practices.
  2. Scalability

    Requirements management should scale up or down to address changing needs of various teams.

  3. Traceability

    Requirements Traceability is one of the key differentiators that creates a downstream flow of connecting software requirements to product requirements and test cases to software requirements. It links requirements through the validation process and makes sure there is adequate test coverage and ability to identify missing functionality. Ideally, your tool should offer end-to-end traceability for agile requirements management.

  4. Supports collaboration and integration

    Collaboration is cornerstone of Agile success. With more remote and multi-location teams collaborating on development, a tool that enables sharing, commenting and teamwork is an essential.

  5. Reporting and dashboards

    An important aspect of the tool is the ability to track progress with comprehensive and detailed reporting and analytics.

  6. Version control

    During the lifecycle, requirements are constantly updated, removed or modified. A version control feature helps by providing access to various change states of individual requirements in the life cycle.

An efficient requirements management process has immense business value. From better control of complex projects to improved software quality, reduced project costs, enhanced team communication and better compliance with standards and regulations. Modern software testing tools that support the DevOps and Agile methodologies favor the comprehensive approach from requirements to full test management.

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