What Makes a Good Software Specification

Software Requirements Specification (SRS): Tips and Templates

Communication is the key to success in software development. According to a study that examined why software development companies struggle to provide their customers with software solutions that meet their expectations, poor communication and unclear requirements are one of the main reasons software projects fail.

Clear, well communicated requirements support development teams in developing the right product and form the basis for successful product development. But what do such requirements actually look like and how should they be communicated? The answer is simple: with a Software Requirements Specification (SRS).

What is an SRS?

An SRS is a document the purpose of which is to provide a comprehensive description of a software product under development, including its purpose, the main business processes it supports, the functions, the main performance parameters and the behavior. As such, it essentially serves as a map that guides the development process and keeps everyone on track.

An SRS is usually deregistered at the end of the requirements engineering phase, the earliest phase in the software development process. It contains both functional and non-functional requirements. The functional requirements describe the function of a software system and its components (e.g. the pre-booking of books when describing a university library system), while the non-functional requirements describe the performance characteristics of the software system and its components (e.g. security or service) availability ).

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) specification 830-1998 describes the methods and recommended approaches for defining an SRS. This allows software customers to describe exactly what they want to receive and make it easier for suppliers to understand exactly what the customer wants.

Benefits of Writing an SRS Document

An SRS not only provides the basis for successful product development by establishing coordination between customers and suppliers and keeping all those involved on one side. It also offers a number of other benefits that make the product worthwhile to make ..

Kurosh Farsimadan, a full-stack developer at Rideau, explains: “Using the SRS can eliminate and prevent errors in the design phase, as contradicting requirements and functions that need to be checked can be resolved at this point and the parties involved have to be redone Review can be contacted. "

It is always much cheaper to make changes at the beginning of the software development process than later, after countless hours and a lot of energy and resources have been expended. With a well-written SRS, you can streamline the development process by avoiding duplicate tasks and structuring problems so that they are easily solvable.

All other technical and business documentation can be based on the SRS to ensure its consistency and accuracy.

Components of an SRS

No two SRS documents are the same as all software projects are different. Some use the waterfall development model, others practice agile development. However, it is still possible to distill the main components of an SRS and create a rough outline of what it should look like:

  1. introduction
    1. purpose
    2. audience
    3. Usage
    4. scope
    5. Acronyms and Definitions
  2. general description
    1. Needs of the user
    2. Dependencies and acceptance
  3. Requirements and system functions
    1. Functional requirements
    2. External interface requirements
    3. System features
    4. Nonfunctional requirements

The first section describes the product to be developed, its purpose, target group, intended use and area of ​​application. The second provides more information about user needs and the factors that may prevent the requirements set out in the SRS from being met. The last main section is devoted to specific functional and non-functional requirements.

How do I write a good SRS?

A good SRS should meet several key properties. It should be:

  • Correct : It is important to ensure that the SRS always reflects the product functionality and specification.
  • Clearly : It is better to be too specific than ambiguous. The SRS is not a literary masterpiece, so even the most basic rules of style can be ignored in the name of clarity.
  • Completely : It is never a good idea to leave out customer requested features.
  • Consistent : All acronyms and definitions should be used consistently throughout the SRS.
  • Ranking according to importance and / or stability : Time is often a scarce resource during the development process. It is therefore a good idea to order requirements according to importance and stability.
  • Verifiable : There should be a verification method for each requirement.
  • Modifiable : Changes to requirements should be made systematically and their effects on other requirements taken into account.
  • Traceable : All requirements should be traceable from the origin.

How RM software can help you write SRS documents

It is entirely possible to write a good SRS document in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or any other word processor. The problem with this approach is that it can be excruciatingly tedious and time consuming. The fact is that even relatively simple software development projects can be demanding. As requirements change, word processors like Microsoft Word quickly recognize the limitations.

Instead of encountering obstacles later in the development process, it is a much better idea to use a dedicated requirements management tool like Visure from the start. A special requirements management tool offers comprehensive support for the entire requirements process and manages all requirements-related information as well as their relationships and interactions with users.

Visure is an excellent example of a modern requirements management tool as it holistically supports the entire requirements process, including collection, analysis, specification, validation and verification, traceability, management and reuse of requirements. Visure is fully customizable and integrates with many third-party tools.

Conclusion

Anyone who's worked on a software project knows how quickly requirements pile up and how difficult it can be to manage. A software requirements specification provides a comprehensive description of a software product to be developed and keeps everyone involved on the same page. With modern requirements management tools, writing a software requirements specification is not at all time-consuming and the advantages are obvious.


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