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Requirements Life Cycle Management (LCM): Definition, Tools & Techniques

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Requirements Life Cycle Management (LCM): Definition, Tools & Techniques

Requirements Life Cycle Management:

Requirements life cycle management is the systemized approach to managing and maintaining requirements from initiation through final implementation. The process includes monitoring, planning, analyzing, managing, and communicating organizational requirements. Requirements are essential for any business in order to make informed decisions and stay competitive. By using a Requirements Life Cycle Management (LCM) process, you can ensure that your requirements are properly managed and maintained throughout their entire life cycle.

There are five tasks that a business analyst needs to perform in order to properly manage requirements: trace requirements, maintain requirements, prioritize requirements, asses requirements changes, and approve requirements.

Trace Requirements:

In order to trace Requirements, you need to be able to identify where they came from and how they relate to other Requirements. This can be done manually or through Requirements management software.

Requirements traceability is the process of tracking requirements throughout the development cycle. During this, a thread of documents is prepared that provides complete bi-directional visibility of all the activities surrounding each requirement. Requirements traceability is considerably helpful in minimizing the potential risk of negative outcomes and maximizing productivity.

Benefits of Tracing Requirements:

Various benefits are provided by requirements traceability. They include:

  • It makes impact analysis easier.
  • It helps in making changes properly. Hence, improves product quality.
  • It also helps define the traceability links in a way that it records the reverse engineering knowledge as well. 
  • In case a team member with vital knowledge leaves the company, having complete information transparency helps a lot. It majorly reduces the risk of incorrect development. 
  • It confirms 100% test coverage via an appropriate verification process. 

Maintain Requirements:

Once you have identified and traced your Requirements, you need to make sure that they are maintained throughout their life cycle. This includes keeping them up-to-date, ensuring that they are still relevant, and making sure that they have not been obsoleted by other requirements.

Requirements must be maintained accurately in order to ensure that they remain in a correct and concise format especially after approving any changes. For this is necessary:

  • Clearly named and defined.
  • Easily available to stakeholders.
  • Manage the relationships among requirements.
  • Manage the sets of requirements.
  • Manage associated business analysis information.
  • Facilitate requirements and design traceability.

Requirements Maintenance Elements:

Maintain Attributes – Attributes, also known as the properties of the requirements, act as the representatives of the important information about the requirements. This information can further be used while resolving various queries during the product development cycle.

These attributes must be updated every now and then. They basically establish a context and a sort of background that goes beyond the description provided for the requirements. In order to be able to define the priority of the attributes, each requirement should have a proper value for the attributes that are going to be used. Attributes make tasks like filtering, analysis, and prioritization, easier and help better understand the requirements.

Re-usable Requirements –  Requirements that can be used in more than one project or product are known as reusable requirements. Requirements such as ‘The system shall allow the user to login’ can be used in a number of projects with just a few changes. These requirements must also be properly maintained like any other requirement so that they can be reused later on. For this, it is important to have:

  • Clearly named and defined.
  • Easily available to stakeholders.
  • Manage the relationships among requirements.
  • Manage the sets of requirements.
  • Manage associated business analysis information.
  • Facilitate requirements and design traceability.

Prioritize Requirements:

Requirements need to be prioritized in order to ensure that the most important requirements are addressed first. This can be done by using a Requirements Prioritization Matrix.

Requirement prioritization is basically used for determining the candidate requirement that should be included in a certain release of the product. Since there are different stakeholders, they have different priorities for the desired product. Some stakeholders have a stronger position than others, and hence, their decisions are more important and carry more weight. Not every requirement can be referred to as a “High Priority”. Some have to be on the lower side. That is where prioritization comes into the picture. It is a process of deciding which requirement is higher on the priority list and which ones are lower. On an important note, the requirements that are low on the priority list are not neglected. They are also implemented in the product. It is just a matter of series in which the requirements are implemented.

Assess Requirements Change:

Requirements will inevitably change over time, so it is important to be able to assess those changes and determine whether or not they are valid. This can be done by using a Requirements Change Control Process.

Change is a continuous facet that must be managed throughout any project, as every Business Analyst understands. The objective of this phase is to evaluate the requirements in light of the changes that will occur. Assessing the formality required for each initiative in terms of the type of project and factors that might influence it is one of these key elements. Whether a change is an evolutionary or revolutionary type will also be determined. Requirements can be classified as functional or non-functional, and each of these types of requirements has different characteristics that need to be taken into account when assessing a change.

Elements of Requirements Assessments:

  1. Assess Formality: the formality of the assessment process is based on the information available, the importance of the change, and the governance process.
  2. Impact Analysis: Impact Analysis, as the name suggests, is about analyzing the impact of the changes in a product or application. It is one of the most integral steps in the development cycle of any product as it provides useful information about the areas of the system that might be affected by the change in any adverse way.

When considering if a change should be approved the following needs to be considered:

  • Benefit: what benefit would be gained by making this change?
  • Cost: what is the total cost to make this change? These costs include the cost of rework and the opportunity cost of other features that need to be sacrificed to make the change possible.
  • Impact: How many stakeholders would be affected by this change?
  • Schedule: How would making this change affect the timeline of the project?
  • Urgency: how urgent is this change? If this change is not implemented, how would it affect the success of the solution?

3. Impact Resolution: the impact and resolutions resulting from the change analysis has to be documented and communicated with all the stakeholders.

Approve Requirements:

Once you have assessed the changes to your requirements, you need to make sure that they are approved before they are implemented. This is typically done by a Requirements committee or other decision-making body.

The Requirements Approval Process is the formal process used to sign off on requirements. This is an important step in ensuring that all stakeholders agree on the requirements and understand what needs to be delivered. The Requirements Approval Process should be tailored to the specific project and organization, but there are some common elements that should be included:

A list of all stakeholders who need to approve the requirements.

  • A description of the requirements that need to be approved.
  • The criteria will be used to assess the requirements.
  • The process for approving the requirements (e.g., sign-off by each stakeholder).

Once the requirements have been approved, they can be implemented as part of the project.

Conclusion:

In order to ensure that your project is successful, it is important to have a requirements management tool in place. The Visure Requirements ALM Platform is an industry-leading requirements management tool that has been designed with the user in mind. It meets all of the essential selection criteria and impresses with its remarkable selection of useful features. Request your free 30-day trial today to see how this powerful tool can benefit your projects.

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