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Software requirements specification templates

A software requirements specification is a comprehensive document that aids in the software development process. Expert Karl E. Wiegers explains how to use templates when creating a software requirements specification.

I am just starting out as a business analyst. Can you please supply me with any type of template for a requirements specification? How do you structure your requirement specification? What is the standard format for the presentation? I am grateful for some examples and advice.

A good template provides categories in which the business analyst can store the different kinds of information that are discovered during requirements development. Because there are different kinds of requirements information and different kinds of projects, you might need more than one template.

I think in terms of three levels of requirements: business requirements, user requirements and software requirements. The business requirements can be stored in a Vision and Scope Document.

User requirements are often represented in the form of use cases, so a use case document template is helpful. The software requirements specification (SRS) contains the detailed product requirements, including functional requirements, nonfunctional requirements, interfaces, and other kind of requirements information.

You can download templates for all three of these documents from Process Impact. That URL also provides an integrated set of sample requirements documents that use these templates. These examples will let you see how you might write the different sections of the documents. Another popular template for the requirements specification is the Volere template, which can be downloaded here.

If your organization undertakes different kinds of projects, consider having different sets of templates for them. For example, you need a comprehensive template for specifying a large new systems development project, whereas a smaller project or an enhancement projects can use a simpler template. Also, it's not necessary to create three separate documents for every project (vision and scope, use cases, and SRS).

Smaller projects can combine the information from these documents into a single deliverable.

This was first published in March 2007

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