Tips for software development: When requirements change constantly

Software Development

Subsequent changes are always a nuisance, but they are never completely ruled out in Software Development . This is no reason to despair if you can respond efficiently and quickly.

Anyone who has ever dealt with software development knows that clear requirement is one of the critical success factors for the success of a project. Unfortunately, it often happens that changes to the system become necessary after a supposedly successfully completed specification. Because systems are changing with the market and the business needs.

The problem: A conversion threatens to become more complex than a new building. Subsequent changes in requirements or specifications lead to significant difficulties and risks in projects. Nevertheless, they are often treated as step motherly or even completely ignored. The results are either solutions that do not adequately reflect customer concerns or additional costs that may ultimately exceed the intended benefits of the software. How can that be avoided? And what is the actual need for change?

Root cause analysis

Software Development

In software projects, everyone has probably heard the question: “Why is our specification still changing? I thought the analysis was complete, and the requirements were reduced.” The project participants usually respond with a shrug. Apparently emerging changes from nothing without a specific customer request.

In a classic software project, the business analysts start with a specification phase and then compile the requirements that they then document and coordinate with the departments. These specifications form the basis on which architects, software developers, and testers create their concepts, executable code, or test cases. With this further processing, however, the requirements are examined from a different angle. This inevitably leads to gaps, contradictions, or other deficiencies in the requirements.

Four tips for software development

Subsequent changes are always a nuisance, but they are never completely ruled out in software development. This is no reason to despair if you can respond efficiently and quickly. Instead of denying the changes, companies should better look for ways and means to respond quickly. Here are four tips.

Resist the beginnings

The most effective and economical way to deal with changes is to avoid them in advance. This can be done, for example, by collecting feedback. Such stabilized requirements can be used at an early stage to generate further results in other project sub-teams, such as development or testing. Feedback only based on reviews helps comparatively little.

Visualization and short cycles

It is also recommended to use visualizations and practical examples. Models and graphics increase the comprehensibility and are also relatively easy to keep consistent. Case studies are illustrative, especially on the client side, and prevent misunderstandings. Short cycles between the specification of the requirement and its implementation also reduce the risk that requirements “become obsolete.”

Voice of future users

The people involved in the requirement definition should be as many as possible who will later work with the software. The direct relation creates responsibility and contributes enormously to the quality of the requirements. Solution-oriented requirements are usually particularly susceptible to changes. Therefore, the solution and the requirement should be separated: The documented “what” is much more stable than the recorded “how.” Under no circumstances should the documentation be allowed to proliferate.

You may also like