Good and professional requirements are the foundation for a successful software!

Geschäftsleute arbeiten an einer Anforderungsanalyse

Requirements Engineering (RE) has been on everyone’s lips for several years and is still gaining importance. Requirement analysis is indispensable for the successful introduction of new software solutions. In the long run as well as in the short term, not only problems are saved, but also a lot of time, costs and nerves.

Why Requirements Engineering?

According to the Chaos Report 2006 of the Standish Group, within twelve years (between 1994 and 2006) the processing of software projects has changed enormously for the better due to well-founded requirement analysis.
In 1994, about 30% of the software projects examined failed, 10 years later it was only 20%. The projects with high customer dissatisfaction and time or budget overruns also decreased from 53% to 46%.
Standish Group Chairman Jim Johnson said that this positive development since 1994 was due in part to better analysis and communication of the company’s requirements.
Studies show that 60% of errors in system development or system deployment projects are caused by poor and unprofessional requirements analysis. The later these errors are corrected in the requirements, the more costly and time-consuming is the associated effort. (cf. Boehm 1981)
Therefore, the implementation of software as well as innovative and powerful systems nowadays requires comprehensive requirements engineering for high-quality output.

The main activities of Requirements Engineering are:

  • The Requirements Engineering

    Various techniques are used to analyse and detail all requirements within the processes of stakeholders and other project participants.

  • Requirements documentation

    In the documentation, the developed requirements are described precisely and recorded in detail in various models.

  • Audit and requirements coordination

    The documented requirements must be coordinated and checked in good time in order to meet all the required quality criteria.

  • Requirements management

    The administration accompanies all processes and includes all measures to structure the requirements.

 

These RE steps have a huge impact on the quality of work and efficiency of the system used in the future.

When should Requirements Engineering be used?

The requirement analysis should already be accomplished as soon as the first thoughts about the procurement of a new system falls.
The larger and more complex the newly introduced system should be, the more demands there are from the company side.
Internal or external system profilers deal with the stakeholders for a uniform requirements analysis. All business processes are analysed and documented together.
The requirements are the characteristics and framework conditions that a software system must have so that a successful project life cycle can be secured and an optimal output can be generated.

What happens if RE is not used?

  • The scope and potential of the system are not accepted and adopted by those who are involved.
  • The familiarization phase of the new software increases dramatically
  • The duration of the projects increases, because the coordination of the departments is made more difficult by missing RE or deficiencies.
  • Failure of projects, because essential requirements are missing or the system cannot be optimally embedded in the company.

Costs and benefits of RE?

Of course, RE increases the costs of a system introduction at first glance. However, as errors can already be detected and eliminated prematurely by a well-founded and clean requirements analysis, not only future processes are facilitated, but also many costs are saved in the end. Furthermore, the entire project duration can be shortened and possible complications can be counteracted prematurely.
It is important that independent, certified and experienced requirements engineers carry out the requirement analysis in order to optimally screen all processes of the company and that no essential area of the company processes remain unnoticed or are even incorrectly documented.

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