Would it not be great to start every project with a clear idea about what the project is for and what is required? Of course, it would be. We use Requirement Gathering Templates to collect these requirements.
Download our free project management requirement gathering templates to make sure you gather all basic needs.
Why You Need a Requirements Gathering Templates?
A project goes into production after requirement gathering. And in this phase, no one has taken time to document every exception carefully, decision, assumption, and specification, where the project requirement gathered?
So, here comes the importance of requirement gathering management tools, templates, and plans. The requirement gathering templates sets the foundation on which your project stands.
This template provides a bridge between the developer and the user. As the user communicates his requirements, the developer anticipates them to ensure that he has considered every required product in the requirement gathering templates.
Important to Hold Requirements at One Place
Therefore, a project manager must understand the gathered requirements of the stakeholder or user. The requirements gathering is a way to hold all those requirements in one place where they can then be agreed upon by the user or stakeholder and those responsible for executing the project.
Effective requirement gathering templates collects business requirements, user requirements, and system requirements. Also, it’s an essential document to complete before any project, especially any IT or software development.
Moreover, this template includes all the features and functions of a product. Also, it is understandable for all involved, without any doubts. Therefore, it helps to reach a satisfactory conclusion for all parties.
What are Requirements?
Let’s start with a basic requirement definition. Typically, project requirements are features, functions, or tasks required to complete a project successfully.
So you can categorize requirements into two types: functional and non-functional. Mainly, we will focus on these two types of requirements that we typically see in digital products and services.
But, of course, there are other types of requirements, too, such as legal and technical requirements. And varying the context, the person in charge of handling requirements documentation may require further training in information mapping, technical writing, and more.
What are Functional Requirements?
For a digital engagement, functional requirements communicate a product’s functionality, usability, capabilities, features, and operations related to its probable objective.
Also, Functional specifications are referred to as such in Functional Requirements Documentation (FRD).
Although the Declaration of Work (SOW) specifies the high-level priorities and requirements of the intended product, the FRD allows for more in-depth planning of these requirements, which you will obtain as soon as the project and developments start.
Note: Requirements are not restricted to the time window before production: change assurance documentation, etc., are valuable sources of ongoing requirements documentation that exists during or outside the project! As long as you work for a customer, the documentation grows and evolves.
Depending on the project’s scope and size, you can decide on a milestone between the SOW and FRD. In this situation, some teams create Business Requirements Documentation to deliver a formal midway sign-off—an expectation checkpoint for all parties.
And this allows the Project Manager to validate the team in the right direction before going too far down the road with the deliverables.
What are Non-Functional Requirements?
Non-functional requirements include everything not related to a product’s functionality, stability, performance, protection, and technological standards, to list only a few non-functional requirements in the digital industry.
Functional vs. Non-Functional Requirement examples
The recording of both functional and non-functional specifications is similarly instrumental in its way. They live hand in hand; another directly influences one.
Even so, not all non-functional requirements are strictly compatible with functional requirements. For example, servers’ setup and configuration are non-functional requirements that affect the entire site’s stability without a corresponding 1:1 relationship to any particular functional requirement.
Here are some examples of functional and non-functional requirements and how they are linked:
Functional Requirements example:
- The verification email is sent to the user every time he registers for the first time on some software system.
- Authentication of a user when he tries to log into the system.
- System shutdown in the case of a cyber-attack.
- Some of the more functional requirements include:
- Administrative functions
- Business Rules
- Transaction corrections, adjustments, and cancellations
- Reporting Requirements
- External Interfaces
- Legal or Regulatory Requirements
- Audit Tracking
- Certification Requirements
- Historical Data
- Authorization levels
Non-Functional Requirements example:
- Handle each request within 10 seconds.
- The site should load in 2 seconds when the number of real-time users is> 20000
- Ensure sending Emails with a possibility of no greater than 12 hours.
Some non-functional requirements are:
- Data Integrity
Examples of Functional and Non-Functional Requirements
Here’s another example of functional and non-functional requirements:
Functional Requirement: tools and resources (infographics, PDFs, spreadsheets, courseware) available for users, handy via the Resources landing page
Non-Functional Requirement: administrative panel file format specs (“The following file formats are valid for upload within the administrative user panel, in relation to the Resources page: .zip, .jpeg, .pdf, .csv,”)
The Resources landing page functionality supports users to view resources such as infographics, PDFs, or spreadsheets. This functionality is the role and function of the page. This is a practical requirement.
On the other hand, the administrative panel file format requirements are non-functional; they are technical specifications relating to administrative features.
They should not alter the usability of end-users. Yeah, these requirements do influence the accessibility of administrative users, but they do not explicitly determine the software’s usefulness for the end-user. That is an example of a non-functional Requirement.
The Importance of Requirements Management
Requirements management is vital for the following reasons:
- Requirements documentation works as a reference point to document a project’s development, implementation, and moving parts.
- Requirements documentation works as a blueprint for the client to comprehend what to expect from the project (the what, when, where, and why).
- In addition, to explaining what they should expect, part of the management preparation criteria should outline what they shouldn’t expect. For example, having the “Assumptions” or “Exclusions” part is an intelligent approach to removing the possibility of the customer’s feared imagination.
For example, showing how requirement gathering is essential as a point of reference and a blueprint for overseeing expectations:
What: PayPal integration
When: Phase 3 of 4 in the checkout experience (after the shipping address web form, before confirmation)
Why: Developed integration is a more substantial option than robust custom-built integration for a payment service in this case. Because it conveniently satisfies consumer requirements.
- Taxes do not apply
- Flat fee for all shipping & handling
- All shipping is within the U.S., excluding Alaska or Hawaii
- Tax rules
- Custom handling and shipping fee calculations
- Shipping internationally, to Hawaii or Alaska
Note: The narrower the delta between customer preferences and their digital product, the happier your client will be with the outcome.
Most of the time, a client would be open to your limiting scope creep scope if it ensures that you retain their budget. If you teach a client enough on whether a function would be discussed and then document the reasoning behind the solution within the requirements, the client is more likely to be interactive.
They’re more inclined to give their consent because farther down the line, as they’re doing User Adoption Testing (UAT), they will get a head start in knowing the “Why” behind the team’s approach.
Requirements Management Tools
Traditionally, spreadsheets are helpful to capture Requirements. However, there are many resources available today devoted to handling requirements. So, we will look at some of the best requirements management tools that the tech teams are using today.
- Modern Requirements
- Jama Software
- Visure Requirements
- Jira Software
- Requirements Hub
- Visual Trace Spec
Understanding the Requirements Gathering Process
Before you even worry about designing or constructing something, the first thing you want to do is to develop a solid understanding of your project, its priorities, partners, and industry.
It feels like a lot to discover, but it’s going to be worth everyone’s effort to align and build goals for what you’re doing together.
While requirements gathering should start as soon as an engagement begins and throughout your entire project life cycle, the bulk of your requirements documentation for a whole website build should land after discovery (content strategy, site mapping, wireframes, designs) before development.
It’s never too early to start gathering and documentation project requirements. In fact, it started yesterday.
Here are the steps to gather requirements, taking you through a complete requirement gathering templates process. These steps will help you to finalize requirements documentation through team collaboration, checks and balances, and client education.
Do Prep Work to Get Concrete Requirements
It might be helpful to ask yourself these questions before you hop into a requirement gathering templates discussion with project stakeholders:
- What specifications does the statement of Work (SOW), project brief, or supporting documents already contain?
- What sort of information am I looking for?
- How will this information facilitate the project and my team?
- Is there any doubt about what this effort will accomplish within this project’s scope?
- Where is there chaos?
- Do I recognize my client’s business and how our project goals plan it?
- Am I about to ask the right persons these questions?
- Will these requirements help me set the appropriate expectations?
Whether internal with your project team or external with your client, every meeting always takes notes.
Digital Project Managers are not secretaries, so there are requirements that we can catch action items, require clarification, opportunities for more research/discussion, and all other relevant details shared at meetings.
In the time, it can be tempting to believe that all the requirements which are addressed will be remembered, but three months and 15 meetings later, the staff and your customer will thank you for having a list of those conversations to look back on.
Moreover, before going into your meeting, organize your notes document to consider your plan, so managing the action items and points will be more straightforward.
For example, your schedule may have the goals, “Paypal integration,” “Checkout landing page,” and “Promotional code functionality.” So, add up those points as headers and contain any issues you or your team may want to bring up under the corresponding heading on your notes document.
Further, schedule 15-30 minutes to review your notes, prioritize action items, digest what was discussed, identify challenges, and need additional meetings. Or clarifications
Now, send your notes to your internal project team. Let them review and confirm what you’ve identified as red flags, action items, etc.
Once after the team’s confirmation, send your notes to your client.
Finally, leverage those notes as a reference for creating tasks out of each action item. And add any new data into your requirements documentation. And schedule any necessary meetings for additional discovery or discussion.
After that, save your notes in a shared space so that your project team members can easily access and reference them in the future.
Go Beyond the Creative Requirements
Do not leave design and styling decisions up for lifts: deliver creative requirements whenever feasible. And if your timeline and budget allow, creative guidance is invaluable to developers.
Moreover, at the very least, give a style guide—even if the style guide is as bare-bones as font and brand colors. Ideally, you will have the full user interface designs and wireframes for mobile and desktop through all page types.
So, after gathering them, upload all the creative resources to a shared space so that all teams can access and view them.
Also, make sure you’re saving the ultimate versions of these designs in one place, so your team is confident they are referencing the decisive creative assets.
Now, after finalizing and officially `approving creatives by the client, it’s helpful to schedule an internal handoff meeting for the project team. This gives your creative team members a prospect to hand off their work to the development team members efficiently.
Also, it lets clear up needs for clarification, discussion to ask questions and reduce the risk of developer assumptions. Moreover, include everyone who has supported deliverables thus far, which will undoubtedly play into the production, development, and implementation.
After handing off the deliverables from creative to development, annotate your page elements across all page types. This can include dropdowns vs. text fields in webforms, static vs. carousel hero images, pop-up modals vs. new page loads, dropdowns vs. slideouts, and any other functionality on each page type.
And only annotate pages once they are final because there is nothing worse than having to re-annotate a page with 35 elements on it just because a pagination bullet shadow was removed.
Also, each page element needs an annotation. So, use Invision or Skitch to annotate the page designs.
Typically, annotate the mobile page design and then annotate the subsequent desktop design only where that page’s functionality varies from the mobile experience to the desktop experience.
Moreover, it’s most helpful in the digital industry to keep everything mobile-friendly when delivering a digital solution.
If so, you might well have a customer in the Automotive or Mechanical Product room whose customers can access their site via storage desktops and cannot access them via mobile devices. In any case, you can first fit and annotate the designs of the desktop tab.
From my point of view, If it’s a smartphone, mobile, laptop, portrait, landscape, what do you have? First, annotate the format or type of page design that makes the most sense. Then, regulate the remaining strategies for each page if needed.
Now, after annotating your creative, load the images into your documentation. If a user journey exists, it’s most helpful to leverage this as support for the order in which you organize the annotated designs. For instance:
- Product Detail Page
- Product Category Page
- Product Customization Page
- Checkout Page
- Payment Page
- Confirmation Page
If you don’t have a customer journey to exploit, then arrange the annotate page templates in a manner that makes sense to your client.
Also, “Homepage” is always a safety risk for a first design to display in your requirements documentation. Similarly, the page design with which your client is most familiar at this point holds the same place.
Use a Requirements Document Template
All requirements engineers use a blueprint when beginning a new requirements template. If you don’t, you should do it. And if you do, you need to make sure that your template is a decent one.
A good requirement document template should include a cover page, section headings, specific content criteria for each section, and a short description of the version (change) management framework used to monitor the document’s changes.
As you plunge into documentation, remember that requirements documentation will be the most difficult because you do not have a previous document from which to influence. Luckily, this article includes a requirements documentation template to serve as a foundation for you.
According to the template, organize my requirements documentation into four parts:
- Annotation contains the numbers from your annotated design. And if your page design has eight elements on it, you will have eight annotations. And your annotation column will have eight rows
- Element contains element titles as they connect to each annotation.
- Functional Requirement comprises a definition for each element.
- Admin/ CMS functionality classify any administrative or CMS functionality, as is linked to the corresponding element
Hold an Internal Review
Once you have completed your first draft of the requirements documentation, the requirements gathering process comes. So, at this point, schedule another internal meeting with your project team to evaluate your requirements documentation altogether.
Moreover, This is the last internal checks and balances to ensure the comprehension of the development process. It’s crucial because, like a DMP, you handle the client’s requirements for execution. So, your understanding of it is imperative to the project’s success and your client’s satisfaction.
Also, let the team review your requirements documentation before the meeting to be ready with their questions and feedback. So, use the meeting to discuss any queries and feedback on the conditions. Also, identify gaps in understanding and verify the uniformity of the requirements documentation.
As part of the internal review process, you will need to make the required documentation changes based on the internal discussion. Then, finally, forward the updated requirement documentation to the team for final blessings.
If the internal project team has final approval of the requirements documents, save the paper as a PDF to ensure it remains in its final state for the next step.
Now, provide the production team with the PDF version of the gathering business requirement documents. Ideally, the developers or production manager will perform the build-up task.
Although certain organizations will work in a framework where DPMs do all the jobs, I prefer to make developers do their duties; the few hours it takes for them is worth it. In addition, this allows developers to build out tasks in a way that fits their development method.
Moreover, you can provide helpful guidelines for your team to develop their development tasks. Here are some excellent example recommendations for a website build:
- The task should go beyond eight hours
- Each annotated page form feature in the required documents should have its subtask.
- And mobile and desktop should have independent stories.
- 1 sprint = 1 week.
- Use time estimates.
During the task build-up, you’ll be able to get a final hour estimate. For example, if the developer builds up all their activities with hour forecasts and a total of 150 hours, then,
- Assume your developer is focused only on your project, and each week you will get 35 hours of their time 150 hours total at 35 hours per week = 4.3 weeks
- Now, add QA, which should be 20% of your development time
- 150 hours development = 30 hours of QA or one week
- Now, you can prove your development timeline is 4 or 5 weeks, followed by one week of QA.
- Compare that forecast the timeline that has been communicated to your client earlier and manage accordingly if needed, hold an external review.
- Written requirements documentation,
- Verified the documentation with your internal project team,
- And, built out development tasks,
- And confirmed the projected timeline through QA, present the requirements documentation to your client.
Provide this documentation as a PDF. Also, include a message instantly requesting a meeting to walk through this documentation together.
This demonstrates investment on your part to ensure client understanding of the digital solution. Also, it will be a protection for you, as a DPM, to be able to say “I told you so” when the scope creeps certainly rears its nasty head later on in the process.
Also, educate your client by walking them through this gathering effective requirements documentation you so carefully put together for them.
Although your customer may balk at walking through the documents, you may be shocked by their gratitude for being able to walk through the documentation with you.
Important Things to Note
Note: They are experts in their industry, and you are a specialist in the digital solution you are offering to them. They’re paying you a premium for this solution. So, educate and inspire the customer. They deserve it.
Start the dialogue and make sure they understand that now is the time to pose any questions, ask for clarity, and ask no question is a stupid question. They’re going to appreciate it. Lousy case scenario: they refuse the invitation for a stroll. At least you might tell that you gave it.
Once the client has verified their understanding of the requirements documentation, it’s time to receive formal approval. Again, we highly recommend acquiring a signature for these requirements documentation before starting any development whatsoever.
Finally, send the signed and approved requirements documentation to your team. Also, save in a shared space, so there is a proper indication that development may start.
All-Important Requirements Gathering Techniques
A DMP needs to stay close to the documentation of the requirements. Because they are the records that you can use to perform budget health tests, send through the customer before permission is given, review products during the Quality Assurance process of the project, use them as a checklist for checking features and functionality—and all in between.
Here are some techniques to help you ensure the best requirement gathering templates process:
1. Start Immediately
Start requirement documentation as soon as conversations happen. Don’t wait until after wireframes are made and until all of the discovery discussions have occurred.
This way, you can capture all the information and then pare them down. Then, begin to categorize it into (A) what’s included and (B) what’s not included rather than removing information from the document. In this way, you can avoid betraying the client’s statement later down the road.
Now, at this point, pull out your work in progress requirements documentation. And then, point out where you took that information, why it may not be incorporated, the reason behind the decision, and the date you accepted that.
2. Use Requirements Documents Templates
Requirement gathering templates are also the best way to gather all requirements efficiently. So, have a few requirements documents templates and start leveraging them for future use on other projects.
3. Do Teamwork
It’s highly doubtful that you will have only one person drumming up project specifications—this is where the elicitation requirements come in.
If there are various resources on a project, such as User Interface Designer, User Experience Designer, Frontend Developer, Digital Strategist, Software Engineer, Content Architect, each expertise’s requirements may be authored by relevant experts.
Furthermore, when a DPM writes documentation generated in the minds of a planner, a developer, or a designer, you run the risk of missing something in translation. In some instances, discussion about requirements is a twisting road of phone calls, multiple meetings, discussions, etc.
What is Needed to Compile Requirements
This is where a DPM needs to delegate the specifications documents to the respective team members to produce and compile the requirements.
To support the team with the elicitation criteria, make sure:
- Capture and share your notes.
- Offer documentation templates.
- Facilitate requirements documentation, planning meetings, and reviews.
- Arrange for the right conversations to take place.
- Put the final touches on the documents.
Balance Relating to Requirements
By the time you start writing requirements documentation, you should already have had several points of checks and balances relating to requirements, including:
- Client meetings
- Shared note
- Internal review/handoff
- That said, make sure that you make the most of your team members when you need to complete the criteria enough.
4. Don’t just Record Requirements—Learn
Do more than merely take the notes. Also, expect more than the resources to email you a wall of text covering their part of the requirements. Moreover, take the opportunity to sit down with the developers and hear about the team’s implementation solutions. Also, Discuss why and how to do so.
5. Keep Your Client Aware
Typically, the requirements document does not have to be Level 1 Secrecy with a big red Top Secret stamped diagonally over the front page. While you should have an internal requirements document where you’re not concerned with including more transparent notes, it doesn’t hurt to have a client-based WIP requirements document.
If you are not concerned with sensitive information, you can use Google Docs to build this shared space with the client’s permissions to comment.
When dealing with sensitive data, share a copy of the requirement document every week. And provide the customer with a snapshot of what you captured.
6. Believe Client Knows Nothing
Instead of taking the risk of thinking that your client knows better than they do, presume that your client doesn’t know anything about it. Define as much as you can. For each annotation, ask yourself, “Why?” five times to ensure each Requirement’s thoroughness.
Some Expert Tips: How to Write a Clear Project Requirements Document
1. Write Requirements for Global Elements Separately
Cover all global elements in a “Global Elements” section of your requirements documentation to eliminate redundancy. This is applicable for global elements such as your main navigation menu items, anything within your global header, and anything within your footer.
Once you’ve written requirements for these global elements, do not bother annotating them throughout the other pages; only annotate elements specific to those pages.
2. Copy-Paste Identical Functionality to Ensure Consistency
This is merely a tip to keep in mind for your (and your client’s) sanity. You’ll see this most with common page elements such as hero/banner images, headers, or “back” icons…among a large number of repeated functionality across page types (not to be confused with global elements).
This is not new age Google SEO Strategy where you have to worry about repeating words or phrases, and this is not your Grade 9 English Essay where you have to make the same idea sound profound by rewording it six different times. This is the requirements documentation.
3. Acknowledge Admin and CMS (Or Lack Thereof)
When we are so focused on each page element’s functionality, it is easy to disregard administrative or CMS functionality. If you’re implementing a solution that offers administrative or CMS functionality, be sure to include this as its own column in your requirements.
Requirements Gathering Template / Documents
Requirements Document Template specifics your requirements definition will depend on your relationship with the client, your team’s experience, and other factors. However, you’ll still need the essential parts of a project requirements document that defines a feature’s functionality, location, design, etc.
The free template includes a cover page that displays the project’s name and a box that tracks the versions and the reason for the change.
The following section is for the project plan, description, purpose, scope, timeline, milestones, goals, dependencies, etc.
A description of the project follows that it presents stakeholders’ opportunity to capture their views on the project’s goals and objectives. Also, this section mentions the limits and constraints that exist and how to overcome them.
The more reporting requirements you have, the less space for mistakes and presumptions. The work upfront will mean fewer headaches later. Checks and balances would benefit the team’s shared awareness of the project and the client’s wishes for the final product.
As with other areas of expertise: the more you do, the better it will be. It will take you about 15 hours to do the requirements for a website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are Tips to write Successful Requirements Gathering:
1. Determine Project Goals and Objectives
2. Document Requirements Elicitation Activity.
3. Be Clear with Requirements Documentation.
4. Talk to the right users and stakeholders.
5. Don’t assume about requirements.
7. Put Into Practice Active Listening.
What are the five stages of requirement gathering?
Here are five steps to help clients and developers manage the process of requirements gathering:
• Step 1: Identify Pain Behind The Requirement.
• Step 2: Remove Language Ambiguity.
• Step 3: Recognize Corner Cases.
• Step 4: Write User Stories.
• Step 5: Establish a Meaning Of “Completed”
How do you start a requirements gathering session?
Steps to start the requirement gathering process and Elicitation Meeting are:
1. Identify the objective and goal of the meeting.
2. Decide who should attend the meeting.
3. Establish a detailed meeting plan.
4. Establish a suitable time duration of the session.
Who is responsible for requirements gathering?
Subject experts and business analysts are responsible for the requirement gathering process. Unfortunately, business users prefer to expect tech teams to be mind-readers and produce solutions based on unspoken or unknown criteria. Therefore, all requirements need to be formally recorded in a mammoth document.
What are the 5 phases of SDLC?
The Phases of a Secure SDLC are: planning, creating, developing, testing, and implementing an application.