In modern times, many rules in the IT area are dictated by the Agile methodology that often neglects the SRS documentation development. However, sometimes, complex software that must perform various functions, just can’t do without an SRS document. Besides, poorly defined requirements that don’t allow the development team to understand what should be done are one of the 5 main reasons why many projects fail.
A software requirements specification (SRS) document is a document with a structured set of requirements (functionality, performance, design, etc.) for software. In simpler words, it describes a product to be developed. It’s intended to establish the basis for an agreement between the customer and the developer on how the software product should function. A well-written SRS document is the result of a detailed market analysis performed during the discovery phase.
An error in development can be very costly (imagine your programmers have been developing software that no one needs for half a year). If you set the task incorrectly, even the best team of developers won’t do it in the right way. If you don’t want this to happen, write an SRS document and include all the characteristics and functions that the program should perform. Don’t think that things that are obvious to you will also be obvious to other people.
This article will inform you about the importance and the main benefits of software requirements specification documents. So read on to find out how it can help your project.
Brief Recommendations On How To Write An SRS Document
- An SRS document should answer 3 key questions:
- Why do you want to create software? (to develop your business, to earn money, etc.).
- What software do you want to create? (small, beneficial app, large and promising project, etc.).
- How do you want to create the software (what team do you need, what tools and programming languages you will use, etc.)?
- All the terms must be interpreted in the same way by all participants in the development process. It’s also recommended to include a glossary.
- Create an SRS document according to a certain standard (ISO/IEC/IEEE 29148:2018, IEEE 830-1998, etc.). Of course, you don’t have to strictly follow it: adjust the software requirements to the specifics of your project.
- Entrust the process of the SRS document development to skilled professionals. As usual, the business analyst is the one responsible for this process.
- There are a bunch of helpful tools that you can use to create a comprehensive SRS document in the most convenient form for everyone. Reqchecker, Pearl, and Helix RM are some such tools. They allow you to create an SRS document quickly and easily, share it among all team members with ease, as well as edit it when needed.
Who Needs An SRS Document?
Here is a list of participants in a software development project that will benefit from an SRS document:
- product owners who want to establish a software product development lifecycle;
- developers and designers need an SRS document in order to be able to implement all the features that the customer expects to see in the product;
- quality assurance specialist requires an SRS document to verify that the program does exactly what it is supposed to do;
- the business analyst will use an SRS document to determine the complexity, time, and cost of development.
Top Reasons To Create An SRS Document
- It can ensure the stability of your project
If your stakeholders won’t have a clear vision of what the software will do, there is a great chance that your project will fail and you will have to forget about it. That is why specific requirements can be the first step to your project’s success. The well-defined requirements give the possibility to focus on the main needs of your customers and your business to provide the best possible quality. They will also allow you to implement the necessary changes, spot problems, and fix them before your product will be presented to the market. This is how an SRS document can make your project profitable.
- It will allow you to make changes in the process of development with ease
Software development may take a lot of time which means that there are great chances that you may have to make changes in your project due to a bunch of different reasons: the appearance of new technologies, failed testing phase, defects in design or coding, market changes, the appearance of new competitors, etc. If you made these changes incorrectly, this will lead to numerous problems like conflicts within the team, outdated documentation, waste of time and resources, etc. By coordinating changes with your requirements, you can quickly find out how they will affect your product.
- Your partners, as well as both new and already existing team members, will use the same source of truth
Modern teams consist of various specialists that have very different skills (designers, developers, marketers, etc.). The SRS report provides a unique source of information for all people involved in the project that allows seeing how their work fits into the whole picture. It also makes it easier to predict how each team member will impact the final product, as well as track the success of the testing process. This is how you can eliminate potential defects.
- Requirements will be added to the final documentation
When developing software, you should follow certain rules and meet certain standards. Writing an SRS document will allow you to make sure that you have made everything in the right way. It’s a truly smart move to prepare all records that can prove compliance with standards before the development process is finished. Thanks to an SRS document, you can quickly produce reports about your product’s compliance.
- You can save time and money
By having clearly defined, well-structured requirements, the specialists from your team will be able to deliver the product faster which also means that you will save your budget. Besides, the time wasted on the SRS document creation will be given back in the development phase.
- It structures your ideas
As usual, the ideas are chaotic and, in that form, they can’t be brought to life. The SRS formalizes your ideas that may be inconsistent and incomplete at first. When a business analyst creates an SRS document, he/she fills the gaps, clarifies the demands, and coordinates all aspects with stakeholders.
- An SRS document may act as an agreement between everyone involved in the project
The process of software engineering always has a lot of premises for conflicts. Clear requirements reduce the number of such conflicts: if some misunderstanding occurs, one can simply check the SRS document.
- You can see the scope of work and deadlines
With clear requirements in hand, you can clearly see the scope of work to be done. This will also help you and your team set the deadlines, and plan project iterations and release dates.
- You can estimate your budget
The development team can analyze the SRS document and estimate the budget required to create the software you need. Such a possibility is a great advantage as it allows for avoiding excessive waste of budget.
- SRS document is a good base for quality assurance testing
The quality assurance specialists need to have some requirements that will allow them to estimate how each software spec corresponds to your expectations. It appears to be especially important if you hire a third-party QA engineer who wasn’t involved in your project from the very beginning.
- It will be easier to make improvements and updates
If you ever decide to make your software better and more complex and hire a new team for this purpose, your new specialists may just study an SRS document to understand how the software should be rebuilt. Otherwise, they will have to investigate the software by themself which may take a lot of time.
- An SRS document allows you to see the entire picture
A good SRS document becomes a layout that keeps your team members synchronized. By seeing the requirements clearly, your specialists will work more harmoniously.
The high-quality SRS document can contribute a lot to your project’s success, helping you to save time and resources, and ensure mutual understanding within your development team. Moreover, it can enhance your project’s stability and act as a single source of information for all people who work on your project and are interested in its success. As you can see, the clearly written requirements will most likely be an advantage rather than a drawback.
If the developers won’t get a complete and clear description of what the program should do, then the result will most likely not be pleasant to the customer. Of course, some developers may add something out-of-plan, but you as a client will know about it.