The Most Complete Guide to Requirements Management and Traceability
Requirements Status & Request Changes
Table of Contents
To stay on top of the project, track each requirement throughout its lifespan. You could even assign an attribute value to store that information for extra security and accuracy. This type of status tracking will help reduce the common dilemma with software projects – falsely claiming it is “ninety percent done”. Every requirement must have one of these statuses during any given time frame:
- Advocated (someone vigorously supported it)
- The approval process was successful and the allocation has been placed on a baseline.
- After carefully crafting, scripting, and testing the code, we implemented it.
- Once the requirement underwent and passed its tests, it was verified for successful integration into the product.
- This requirement will be fulfilled at a later date.
- You decide to Delete it and not implement it.
- Dismissed (the concept was never given the green light)
Besides the aforementioned status options, other statuses can be considered. Some may opt for a “Reviewed” status to validate their requirements before adding them into baseline configurations. Alternatively, organizations may use “Delivered to Customer” as a means of verifying that they have released the requirement in-tact and correctly.
If you enquire about the progress of a developer, he might answer that there are 87 requirements for this particular project. 61 have already been confirmed and 9 are in place but still pending verification while 17 remain to be finalized. However, it’s important to note that these requests do not all match when it comes to size or effect on customer satisfaction; they may require different amounts of effort as well. As a project manager, I would have no doubt that we had an accurate understanding of the subsystem size and how close it was to completion. This is much more effective than simply saying “I’m about ninety percent done”. With an overall picture of progress, I can confidently say “it’s looking great!”
To achieve successful requirements management, your organization must attend to each requirement addition, deletion and modification. This will enable you to track the status as well as the implications of all change requests. You can also use this data to answer several inquiry questions such as:
- How many requests for alteration have been made within the designated timeframe?
- How many of the requests have been answered and how many remain unresolved?
- What was the rate of approval for requests, and what percentage were refused?
- To what extent did the team expend energy to execute each authorized modification?
- What is the typical length of time that requests remain open?
- On average, how many items (e.g., requirements or artifacts) are impacted by each submitted change request?
Ensure that you track any alterations made during the development process after setting a baseline for each release. Remember, one change request can have an effect on numerous requirements of different kinds (user-oriented, functional and non-functional). To assess how many changes were undergone in a particular period of time, divide the number of modifications by the total amount of requirements prior to this period (like when defining your baseline).
We don’t want to entirely remove the volatility of requirements. After all, there is often a legitimate justification for altering them. Yet at the same time, we have to ensure that our project can handle alterations and still meet its obligations. Getting closer to completion incurs additional costs when changes are made frequently; this makes it hard to determine when you’ll release your product into the world! As development progresses, most projects should become more resilient to changes; in other words, the rate of change acceptance should gradually decrease until it reaches zero when the release is finished. An iterative approach gives teams multiple chances for incorporating improvements in later iterations while still staying on track with each cycle’s timeline.
If your team is inundated with change requests, chances are that the elicitation process wasn’t comprehensive or ideas continue to arise as the project progresses. As such, it’s essential to keep track of where these changes come from marketing, users, salespeople, management teams etc. Keeping tabs on this information will assist you in determining who and what needs attention to minimize overlooked requirements and prevent miscommunication down the road.
When change requests remain unresolved over an extended period of time, it’s a clear indication that your change management process needs some attention. I’ve personally witnessed one organization that had enhancement requests that were multiple years old and still pending. To get the project manager to prioritize their energy on the most important items in the backlog, this team should assign specific open requests into planned maintenance releases and convert other long-term deferred changes as rejected ones. This way they can more easily address what is essential and urgent first before tackling any less pressing matters.
Time and Effort
To ensure optimal performance, we strongly suggest you record the amount of time your team spends on requirements engineering tasks. This includes crafting quality requirements and managing change, tracking progress, creating traceability data, and other activities related to this process.
People often ask me how much time and energy should be dedicated to a project’s necessities. This answer depends heavily on the size, team, organization building it, and its purpose. Keeping track of your efforts invested in critical tasks for projects like these can help you better plan out future ones with accurate estimations.
If your team has previously completed a project and allocated 10% of its time to the requirements, upon reflection you may have noticed that the quality of those requirements could be much improved. If faced with another similar project, it would be wise for the Project Manager to ensure more effort is given towards creating thorough specifications – greater than ten percent of total available resources should suffice!
As you collect and analyze data, compare the project development effort with a measure of product size. Your documented requirements will give an idea of its overall size. To be more precise, you can correlate effort to count testable individual specifications, use case points, or function points – whatever is proportional to your product’s measurements. By gathering size-related data for your product and noting the associated implementation effort, you can formulate accurate estimates in preparation for similar future projects.
Fear may linger in the minds of many; fear that developing a software measurement program will steal away valuable time from essential tasks. On the contrary, implementing an efficient and targeted metric system does not require too much effort or energy. All you need to do is build a basic infrastructure for collecting and analyzing data, as well as encourage your team members to log some relevant details about their work activities. When you create a culture based on metrics within your company, it’s amazing what one can learn through this method!
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