Risk-assessed user requirements management

When a company wants to buy, enhance or newly develop software to support its business, it is crucial to know what the requirements are of the people that are going to use or support the application. In a lot of software development projects, analysts often have difficulties identifying all or the correct User Requirements. This will lead to a lot of misunderstandings which will disrupt the communication between users, developers and testers. Development of unwanted software, effort put in the software parts that are less important for the business or even too much software can be the result of this miscommunication, leading to more development and testing costs and making a project run past its deadline.

Using a model like “Risk-Assessed User Requirements Management” (RUM) will lead to better communication and will assist in the development of better software. The main model is based on 4 phases.

In phase 1 the User Requirements are identified in a structured way by means of a User Requirements Hierarchy.

In phase 2 the model identifies the risk/importance of the software parts.

In phase 3 the result of these two phases are compared and the corresponding items matched. The following statement can for example be made: “User Requirement X is covered by the Risk described in item Y”.

In a lot of cases there will be a gap between the established User Requirements and the identified Risks. This means that some User Requirements have no matching Risks, but more important is that some Risks will have no matching User Requirements. By filling these gaps the completeness and quality of user requirements and impact and quantity of the risk (incl. possible solutions) will improve. When these are identified early in the process, better focus, coordination and communication is possible on these items.

In phase 4 Acceptance Criteria will be given to the matched User requirements and Risks in order to check if they are compliant with the business needs.

The total result of the RUM model is to combine various aspects analysis, development and tests in one overview at an early stage, so an excellent tool is available to perform:

  • Requirements management;
  • Process measurement;
  • Effort estimation for development and execution phases;
  • Project follow-up;
  • Risk analysis and
  • Communication.

ps_testware presented this new approach at the SPIder session “Project driven by requirements”, you can download the presentation.

You can contact us if you want to know more about the approach or possibilities of Risk-assessed User requirement Management (RUM).

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