Here is a bit of a teaser with an informal and introductory list of attributes of good requirements and process specifications — and tips for writing good requirements and use cases.
As we say at IAG, your business requirements should be clear, concise, concrete, complete and consistent.
And sure, as we work alongside more mature organizations, we have developed – and provide – more formal peer review checklists and criteria for verification and validation of requirements and related specifications, but this basic list is a nice one to keep fresh in your mind (with the easy-to-remember 5 C’s) what you should do to be writing good requirements.
1. Be Clear
§ Organize the discussion logically
§ Get to the point and stick to the point
§ Phrase things in the positive
§ Use plain words rather than fancy ones
§ Avoid euphemisms
§ Test to see if each “point” is clear and complete enough to stand alone
2. Be Concise
§ Keep the specification simple
§ Use bullet points
§ Use words that you use everyday
§ Use specific words rather than general ones
§ Avoid redundancy
3. Be Concrete
§ Use examples and scenarios
§ Avoid jargon and clichés
§ Have clearly defined causes
§ Have clearly defined outcomes
§ Avoid confusing compound statements
§ Avoid negative statements
4. Be Complete
§ Sufficient for the level and objectives of the project
§ Use your checklists and validation techniques
§ Document all possible, conditions and responses (branches)
e.g., what if expected result doesn’t happen?
§ Support verbs such as ‘calculate’, ‘update’, or ‘modify’ with required detail.
e.g., the formula, what data is updated, etc.
§ Check for operations without defined events
§ Check for operations without all outcomes defined
§ Specify all required data elements e.g., data definitions, rules, etc.
5. Be Consistent
§ Use the same terms for synonyms like client and customer, sales rep or sales person, vendor or supplier, etc.
§ Use the same fonts and styles throughout the document