Tip

Software requirements: A picture is worth a thousand words

My first task in developing a system or software requirement is to build a diagram of the overall process. I ask the requestor to describe in his own words what the completed system would look like.

From that, I put together a diagram (using typical flowchart symbols) to show the interactions between entities (e.g., a merchant, a system, etc.) and processes (e.g., credit scoring, customer validation, etc.).

The resulting diagram (process flow) becomes the source for identifying specific requirements.

For instance, the flow depicts a retail merchant sending an authorization (for a purchase) to a system. The requirement that would be derived is the definition of the authorization request. (What data is included, what actions need to take place based on the data, etc.)

Thus, one of the resulting requirements may be "the system must be able to accept an authorization for purchase from a participating merchant." From that, another requirement would embellish on the data that's required -- what editing must occur, etc.

The "key" is to treat the diagram as a work in progress. Revise and update it on an ongoing basis so that the focus is on extracting more and more detail until the requirements become more specific and thus easier for the effected developers to understand what's necessary.


    Requires Free Membership to View

This was first published in August 2007

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.