The specification of software requirements

The specification of software requirements is the stage of development that determines the success of a software. It is what defines the objectives and functions that a software needs to perform, as well as those that it cannot have (restrictions).

The importance of specifying software requirements

The software requirements specification step requires a step-by-step description of what will happen to each user action. This way, the development will be more assertive and the result will be in line with customer expectations.

A failure in the basic requirements of the software can put the whole process to lose and generate problems like:

  • Difficult usability;
  • Errors in execution;
  • Disorganization;
  • Unnecessary requirements;
  • Lack of important functions;
  • Waste of time in development.

This whole situation can generate frustration on the part of the client and the developers. It is possible that the budget will have to be revised and the delivery time may be impaired. Therefore, the more cohesive and clear the specification of software requirements, the better for the success of this system!

What are software requirements?

Before we talk about the specification of software requirements, we need to understand what software requirements are. In short, requirements are the requirements, resources, goals and utilities that a system needs to meet, according to the needs of the company and users.

By meeting these expectations, you ensure that the system is functional and reliable, as well as performing well.

Survey and documentation of requirements

The specification of software requirements usually happens with the elaboration of a document by the system analyst. The professional checks with the customer and other interested parties what are the necessary functions in the software. This step is called requirements gathering and can be done through:

  • Meetings;
  • Interviews;
  • Workshops;
  • Reports;
  • Prototyping;
  • Questionnaires;
  • Brainstorming.

With this information, the analyst records these requirements in a technical language in a requirements documentation. He then forwards this document so that the software development team can continue the process.

During construction, it is possible for the programmer, architect and analyst to contribute with proposals, solutions and suggestions for improvements.

By following this protocol, you can understand the client’s expectations and goals regarding this system and optimize time, both for the company and its team. This is because the specification of software requirements makes everything clearer for both parties and makes the development process more assertive.

Classification of software requirements

In order for the specification of software requirements to be documented correctly, it is necessary to be aware of their classification. This is important in order not to lose focus during the process.

The priorities of each of these classifications depend on the company, the platform and the type of device in which the software will be used. For example, a smartphone application has different priorities than a web system. Requirements can be divided between Functional and Non-Functional.

Functional Requirements

They are related to the functionalities that the software must have to meet the needs of the company and the users. They also include the way in which the software will respond to certain actions executed within the program. Some examples could be:

  • User divisions that offer them different permissions;
  • Access to data and information history by the user;
  • Inclusion of functions that can speed up company processes;
  • Possibility of inclusion or inclusion of information;
  • Option to share and exchange information between users.

These functional requirements must obey the company’s administrative rules. Everything not to harm the user’s procedures and at the same time protect the data and information, often confidential.

Non-Functional Requirements

Unlike functional requirements, which need to be determined for good system performance, non-functional requirements are intrinsic or implicit. They are part of the central feature of the software and are already expected to exist before the customer asks. Some examples are:

  • Security aspects of the software;
  • Prevention of system failures and errors;
  • Storage;
  • Accessibility;
  • Existence of security environment;
  • Usability;
  • Need to login;
  • Information saving;
  • Speed;
  • Reliability.

The non-functional requirements are determined by some limitations of the software, such as space, languages to be used, operating system, among others. Because of these properties, the non-functional requirements are measurable metrics.

For the specification of software requirements, non-functional requirements can still be classified into:

  • Product Requirements: linked to speed, usability and reliability, i.e. how the system should behave;
  • Organizational Requirements: related to delivery, company standards and policies, and implementation;
  • External Requirements: refer to ethics, security, privacy and legal requirements.

Software requirements are essential both to estimate project costs and to determine development, modeling and prototyping deadlines. In addition, they are essential to establish testing and maintenance needs.