Software Requirements Documentation Best Practices: Nail It Like a Pro

Krunal Shah

May 31, 2022

6 min readLast Updated Jun 21, 2022

An SRS document or software requirements specification document is an integral part of any software development process. Precisely, before the software development process starts, one needs to come up with an SRS document template to ensure a fast, smooth and successful software development process.

Statistics say that more than 60% of the software development projects fail, contributing to nearly 95% of the startups' failures each year globally. And one of the common mistakes responsible for this is not having a well-defined set of requirements from the beginning. An SRS document helps you avoid such outcomes by letting you document all the relevant requirements for a software development project. So that you can follow the right steps and complete the project successfully on time.

While an SRS document is pivotal for any product development, knowing how to write software requirements or how to make a system requirements gathering template is not enough. To make the best out of an SRS document, you must adopt the best practices. And in this blog, we will guide you through the SRS document best practices to nail it like a pro.

What Is an SRS Document?

An SRS document template or an SRS document is defined as a document where all the requirements and related specifications for a software development project are mentioned. Not only does an SRS document include information related to the software development project scope, goal, and overview, but also the expected software features & solutions, targeted outcome, purpose, related parameters, and relevant business goals.

An SRS document is highly significant to ensure the fast and successful execution of a software development project. Also, it lets you utilize your time, and resources properly to build software as per your expectations, goals, and purpose. No matter whether you have an in-house software development team or opting for third party software development services, you must adopt the practice of writing an SRS document to optimize the efficiency of your software development project and quality product.


See More: Importance of Software Requirements Documentation for Your Project


Structure of an SRS Document

Before we walk you through the best practices for writing an SRS document, let’s have some basic ideas on the structure of an SRS document. Some of the top elements of an SRS document are -

SRS Document Title: Write a suitable and relevant title.

Introduction: Include the purpose, scope, and overview of the SRS document based on your software development project.

General Description: Document the overall description of the project including the expected features/solutions, overall software development goals or the goals aligned with your business, and others.

Functional Requirements: List out various functional requirements related to the core operations, top quality attributes, and related expected functionalities from the software.

Non-functional Requirements: Specify the expected or targeted non-functional requirements from the software such as speed, performance, security, and others.

Interface Requirements: Mention all the interface requirements in terms of design, functionality, ease of access, and other associated factors.

Budget, Time, and Resources: Specify the overall budget, time duration, and other resources for the software development process.

Appendices: Mention the source of information, reference links, abbreviations, acronyms, and others.

See More: Discovery Phase of Project: A Complete Guide


How to Nail an SRS Documentation: Best Practices

Now that you have better knowledge of an SRS document, SRS document template, and how to write software requirements, let’s walk you through the best practices to nail an SRS document.

Be Specific

The main purpose of an SRS document is to make the software specifications and requirements clear to the software development team members as well as others such as the stakeholders, business persons, or investors. Unless you are completely specific about each requirement, half of the purpose of an SRS document will be lost.

For instance, if you are developing a gaming application, and in the non-functional requirements you write good performance, then it won’t suffice for the development team. Here you will need to specify the details such as in which respect good performance is wanted or, how much good is good. So, just knowing how to write software requirements is not enough, you will need to become specific about every piece of information you document there.


Keep It Organized

Always keep your SRS document organized in terms of the information shared, the process flow of writing an SRS document, or the way you utilize it during the software development process. When you are starting the SRS documentation process, where you are storing the system requirements gathering template, whether the SRS document is updated or not, who has access to view and read it, and who else can modify or update it - these all information and the related process flow should be completely organized. So that, not only you can use the SRS document during the development process but can access it as and when required for any purpose.


Use Authentic Sources and Information

You must ensure all the information used in the SRS document comes from authentic sources. It is recommended to verify and review to ensure the same before the software development process starts.

For instance, if you are developing a SaaS product and there are a set of features mentioned in the functional requirements, do a double check on what basis those requirements are made, by whom those are suggested, and whether those are relevant to the purpose of the software or goals of the business or not. Similarly, if a list of preferred tech stacks is mentioned, ensure that the list is made after discussing it with a professional in that field, and so on. This will help you follow the right steps during the software development process with the help of a proper SRS document that is not made just for the sake of making.


Ensure the Requirements are Measurable

Whenever you are mentioning any requirements on an SRS document, ask this question - how to measure this requirement? Or, how to ensure that it’s fulfilled? Unless the software requirements are measurable, it will be hard to know whether you are going in the right direction or not, or whether the developer team is completing the milestones or not.

For instance, if you are developing an e-commerce app and just mention in the SRS that - each category should have enough filtering options, then it is not measurable. How many filters are enough? Two, three, four, or more? It is relative to the person reading it. Instead, you should mention - there must be filters for color, size, sleeve length, and fabric in each category. Now, this will enable anyone to check whether the requirements are fulfilled or not in a matter of a few minutes.

Get It Reviewed by the Stakeholders

One of the common mistakes people do, while writing an SRS document template or system requirements gathering template is not taking into account the stakeholders’ perspectives. Always remember that there is a bigger purpose behind any software development which is more important than just achieving a set of functionalities.

How is the product going to help your business earn more profit, increase the recurring revenue, or scale it up further? Or, what else is worth mentioning in the SRS document or SRS document template to ensure the software is developed as per the requirements? These are all you can ensure by getting the SRS document reviewed by the stakeholders and other related business persons. This will only make the SRS document more to-the-point and purposeful.

See More: Mobile App Development - Step by Step Guide for 2022

Takeaway

We all focus more on how to write software requirements or system requirements gathering templates. But it is equally important to adopt the best practices to bring the best out of the SRS document and utilize it in the right way. The above guide will help you write an SRS in the best possible way that will help you fulfill the software requirements and the relevant business goals.

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