How do you know if your software project is on track? How are you supposed to make sure that the expectations for the product are clear and well-defined? The answer lies in a document known as a Software Requirements Specification.
As a business owner or a project manager, you need to be able to write a good SRS. It is one of the most important documents in any software project and can make or break the success of your endeavor.
But what is an SRS document and what does it include? What are the steps involved in creating one?
In this article, we will answer all of those questions and more. We’ll provide an overview of what a Software Requirements Specification is and discuss the different sections that it should contain. Then, we’ll walk you through the process of creating your own SRS document that meets the needs of both business and technical stakeholders.
What is an SRS?
Software Requirements Specification is an important document that describes everything about a particular software project. It specifies the exact requirements of what needs to be done, why it needs to be done and how exactly it should look like when you are finished with the project.
SRS document is very important because it acts as the contract between a business and software development team. It ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect from the project.
SRS documents are essentially used for:
- Defining the exact requirements in terms of software product features;
- Asking questions about the project that will become an input for creating an action plan based on the answers;
- Documenting the decisions that are made during project planning;
- Acting as a basis for testing the product;
- Serving as a reference point throughout the entire project.
How to Write a Software Requirements Specification
So, you are a business owner or a project manager and you have been given the task of writing a Software Requirements Specification document. What do you do? How do you get started? Don’t worry, we are here to help.
Now that we have a general idea of what an SRS document is and why it’s important, let’s take a look at the steps involved in creating one.
Create an SRS outline
The first step is to create an SRS outline. This will help you organize all the information that should be included in your specification document and make it easier for you to write.
Every use case is different and might require a different format. The way you organize your outline and the content that goes into it will depend on how in-depth, detailed or technical you want to be.
However, if you want to keep it simple, you can follow the general outline that we have provided below:
- Intended Audience
- Intended Use
- Definitions and Acronyms
- Overall Description
- User Needs
- Assumptions and Dependencies
- System Features and Requirements
- Functional Requirements
- External Interface Requirements
- System Features
- Nonfunctional Requirements
Now that you have an outline, it’s time to start filling in the details.
Define the purpose of the project
The first thing you need to do after the outline is to define the purpose of the project. What are you trying to achieve with this software? What needs does it address?
Definitions and Acronyms
If you are using any specific jargon or terminology, be sure to define it here. This will help avoid confusion among stakeholders.
This is where you will provide a high-level overview of the product. What will your product do? What are the main features and functions of it? In this section, you can describe in detail the benefits, goals, and purpose of your product.
Include the features that you think are the most important and explain how they meet your customer’s needs. How do you envision the end product and what are the main benefits for your users?
You can also define what the product will not do (the scope of the project) as it can help you and your team to stay within those boundaries.
This section should include a detailed description of who your target users are and what their needs are. What are the specific tasks that they need to be able to do with the software?
You can also list any assumptions you have about your user base here (for example, “Our users will be people in their 20s and 30s who prefer online shopping over brick and mortar stores”).
Assumptions and Dependencies
In this section, you list the assumptions that have been made about your product and any dependencies. What do you expect to happen in order for your software project to be successful?
For example: “To launch our new cloud-based accounting application, we will first need a new connection with one of the main banks.” You can also include the assumptions made by other departments or different teams.
System Features and Requirements
Now that you have written the general information and description of your product, it is time to move on to the system requirements. This is where you get more specific. This section will be divided into two subsections: functional and non-functional requirements.
Functional Requirements include all the features that are necessary for users to do their job with this software piece (the outputs). They define what needs to be done in order for users to be productive and reach their goals.
For example, if you are creating an online shopping platform, it will need a way for users to add items to their cart or wish list and then pay for them at checkout. It would also have different ways that users could search for items, such as by keyword or category.
Nonfunctional requirements are all the other requirements that are not related to the functional elements of your product. These are requirements that ensure the quality, safety and security of your product. Examples include the performance and capacity requirements, system response times and other aspects that ensure proper functioning.
Send for approval
Once you have written all the details of your software, it’s time to send a copy or link of your document to your stakeholders and give them enough time to read through it before you meet again.
Ensure that everyone understands and agrees with the document before you move on to development. Make any necessary changes in case of any disagreements. Rinse and repeat until everyone is happy!
And when you reach a point where everyone feels like the document is complete, you can then start creating your software and verifying that all of your requirements are included in it.
Software Requirements Specification is a document that describes what the software will be capable of doing. It is created by different stakeholders and defines their expectations from the product. The requirements are documented in detail to ensure that everyone has an idea about how the final product should look like, especially for larger projects where there could be hundreds or thousands of people involved (for example: creating a new website, a mobile app or software).
SRS serves as an important guiding document for the project team, as well as a reference point when issues arise or something goes wrong. It ensures that there are no misunderstandings about what is expected from the product and helps avoid any costly changes down the road.
Our guide should give you a good idea of what is involved in creating a Software Requirements Specification document. It can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it to have everyone on the same page and avoid unpleasant surprises during the creation and development of your product.
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