Imagine reaching the airport, stepping up to customs, and realizing you do not have your passport. This little mistake can cost you your trip. Stepping up to create a detailed software product without the right documentation can lead developers into a similar situation.
Commencing any project requires the developers to be aware of what they are creating, and how they are going to do it. While Agile Methodologies emphasize the importance of dealing with issues as and when they arise, it is crucial to ensure developers have a clear understanding of the way forward.
Thus, having a detailed Software Requirement Specification, or SRS, the document can help avoid expensive mistakes and save time. Moreover, creating such a document will help give a clear understanding of how the software is expected to perform and the various functionalities and features it will need.
A clear SRS document not only lays the groundwork for the entire project but also informs the entire team of their tasks. Most importantly, this document is crucial to avoid any delays to the project, while also ensuring that the team sticks to the budget mandated. Ultimately, it helps keep all essential stakeholders on the same page for the scope, budget, and goals of the project.
Table of Content
- What is the Objective of Software Requirement Specifications?
- What are the Features of an SRS document?
- How to Make an SRS document?
- In Conclusion
What is the Objective of Software Requirement Specifications?
In a single sentence, the SRS document helps provide a clear roadmap to achieving the requirements laid out by the client. To achieve this purpose, comprehensive, and well-crafted SRS documents manage to successfully accomplish the following objectives:
The SRS document organizes all the information required into smaller sections, detailing requirements for each step. That's because having all software requirements for every stage of the project spread out in phases gives you a clear idea of the resources, time and effort required for achieving the objectives.
The SRS document serves as the ready reckoner for any software-related hurdle during development. For that reason, it is the uncontested master document that informs the software design specifications and the scope of work. The SRS document, once designed correctly, can avoid a lot of client-developer conflict during development.
Complete clarity and transparency are crucial between the developer and the client. Therefore, the SRS document helps ensure both parties are on the same page. To ensure that the client thoroughly understands the document, it is important to keep the language simple. Additionally, it is advisable to add footnotes/glossary for tougher jargon, and adding visual aids (diagrams, graphs, etc.) to improve the communication. The acceptance of the SRS document by the client is a tacit agreement that the development team has understood the project and has provided a viable solution(s) for the same.
Validation of Final Product
This document functions as guidelines for trying out strategies for the final product. Through the development process, the SRS document works as the final authority on the software requirements of the project.
What are the Features of an SRS document?
A comprehensive SRS document contains a variety of details outlining the project requirements. It details the various software requirements for the project and outlines how the application would act with users. Moreover, an SRS document describes the project’s purpose, the time required, along with the specifics and descriptions of the features it would include.
There are essentially three types of software requirements when it comes to creating an SRS document:
First, the Functional Requirements – This includes all the actions to be undertaken by the system
Secondly, the Non-Functional Requirements – This defines the features of the application’s performance
Lastly, the Domain Requirements – This defines the limitations posed by the project’s domain
The importance of a robust SRS document can never be understated. Here are some vital features of a software requirement specification:
The cornerstone of an SRS document is identifying software that can fulfill the requirements. Comparing the document with other, previously validated documents can help assure you of its accuracy. Moreover, user feedback can also help identify if any aspect is missing.
The most important aspect of an SRS document is absolute unambiguity in instructions. All the statements should be to-the-point without any unnecessary description that can lead to confusion. It is also a good idea to have an appendix at the end of the document to explain complicated terms.
This document should have all the necessary software requirements and responses necessary to execute the project.
The information being shared through an SRS document should remain consistent throughout the document. Any fluctuations in information can cause unnecessary confusion and delays to the project.
Order of Importance
Not all software requirements will be at the same level in an SRS document. Make sure that a clear ranking of features according to their importance is provided. Doing so will ensure that your development team knows which tasks to be completed on priority.
Provided the SRS document is completely clear, and has no ambiguity whatsoever, verifying the software requirements becomes a breeze.
The software development process can be fraught with many changes, which by extension means that software requirements too can be prone to change. An SRS document that can be amended and modified when required.
The document should ensure that the life-cycle of each feature should be traceable. Having a clear requirement origin for the software makes the process much simpler for everyone concerned.
How to Make an SRS document?
While there are a number of templates available online, you can just as well create an SRS document yourself. If you are doing so, you would want to make sure your outline includes the following points.
A brief outline of the project, and the purpose it is serving.
This defines the outcomes that are expected from the project. Essentially a definition of the purpose served by the product.
- Intended Audience
This section defines the final intended user of the software product being designed. It paints a detailed picture of who the audience and end-users are.
- Intended Use
This defines the general use of the software, whether it is to be used internally by the company or for general use. It also outlines the purpose it serves for these individuals.
This not only outlines the overall scope of the product being created but also shows how it aligns with the company objectives. It defines the overall objectives of the project and essentially functions as a table of content for it.
- Definitions & Acronyms
It is crucial that the SRS document be easy to understand for a lay individual. To ensure that this is the case, provide a glossary of technical jargon and abbreviations for easy reference. There should be absolutely no ambiguity in the text of the SRS document or any scope for misunderstanding.
2. Overall Description
Consider this a gist of the complete project, right from what you are making to how your target buyer wants to see it.
2.1 User Needs
This is a critical section to define the need for this product. You need to identify all your user classes and their requirements.
2.2 Assumptions & Dependencies
It is important, at the outset, to state the assumptions you are working on. It is just as important to list down the variables that remain outside your control and could affect the project’s outcome.
3. System Features & Requirements
This section details the vital requirements essential to the successful completion of the project. This includes all the functional requirements of the project and external interface requirements. It should include a complete list of system features and non-functional requirements for the software product you want to build.
3.1 Functional Requirements
These are requirements that are crucial to executing the project with the possible outcome. It is important to conduct due diligence in identifying all the building blocks of the project. The developers will be taking their cues from these building blocks to create every aspect of the product.
3.2 External Interface Requirements
These requirements include items such as details of the user, the software, the hardware as well as any communication components that need to be added. This section basically details how the end-product will work alongside different components.
3.3 System Features
This would include all the different features that are vital for the product’s effective functioning.
3.4 Non-functional Requirements
Software factors including the safety and security of the system, as well as its overall performance and quality fall under non-functional requirements. These become the parameters against which the team tests the final product.
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There is no single way to create a solid SRS document. In fact, ideally apart from the bare skeleton of this document, everything else changes from project to project. This is because no two projects are identical, and, there are differentiators among even the most similar of projects.
Having a comprehensive software requirement specifications document ready is a surefire way to ensure that the client and the development team are on the same page from the outset. This is something that we, at Third Rock Techkno, take particular pride in. In our detailed requirement communication, we ensure that the client and our development team are always aligned. Click here to learn more about our processes.
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