How to scope requirements for your software development project
As a bespoke software development company we are often asked for advice about how best to scope requirements for a business software development project. In a project, requirements define the product your team (or us!) is building to serve a business need. Requirements come from many places: customer interviews, user stories written by analysts or developers, and issues logged by users. But not every requirement makes it into the final product, because it’s neither feasible nor cost-effective to build everything that’s been requested. So as software teams scope their projects to fit within budget and time constraints, they must identify which requirements are critical for meeting those goals. In other words, teams have to scope their projects by deciding what they’re going to build.
Different project managers use different scoping techniques depending on the type of software service / product being built and the customer’s priorities for maintaining their competitive advantage in the marketplace. But by using any one of these scoping techniques, teams can reduce the cost and time needed to build a product that meets their customers’ needs.
Choosing which requirements make it into your project is perhaps the most important choice you have to make as a software engineer or designer. Set yourself up from day one to get this right from the start. Requirements are either high priority or low priority based upon market needs and how it will affect the company. The more a team understands of what the customer needs and why they want it, the easier it is for them to validate that these requirements should be part of the project. If a requirement cannot be met in a timely manner with reasonable cost, then it is better off not having this new requirement implemented into the product which could cause confusion for future projects.
Different scoping techniques can be employed depending on whether you’re building a greenfield project or taking on an existing product. For example, when you’re building a new application entirely from the ground up, then you have more freedom to pick and choose what requirements makes sense. You can implement all of them into your code base if it’s technically possible, but also leave some to be implemented sometime in the future when you’re certain that they are really necessary to meet your customers’ needs.
But with existing software products, this is usually not possible since there are already people using it so you must always maintain backwards compatibility for any prior features that were implemented before. Your ability to change these core functionalities may be very limited which means you’ll definitely need to prioritise your features based upon urgency and market feedback. This helps you adjust your roadmap and figure out what needs to be done first before anything else.
When designing or building a new product, the goal is to identify and fill in the features that were missing from previous products and improve upon them with this one. The overall purpose is for this product to make life easier for both customers and developers by meeting their individual needs. It’s impossible to build everything they need, so its up to the team to look at how it will impact their company as well as future projects down the road. This way they can focus on what’s most important such as fixing bugs or implementing core features that people are requesting without having too much stuff added into the existing code base that may cause more problems then good.
This approach helps you keep your product backlog prioritized by how important it is for the company. But if you don’t feel like you can get through your backlog in a reasonable amount of time, then its best to split these new features into sprints or future events that will provide value to the customers over time.
The purpose behind this method is to identify what’s possible given resource constraints and timing requirements while still adding value. This may not be an easy process at first because certain stakeholders may want everything built right away which makes it hard for others to prioritize their own tasks. You need to convince them why some tasks should take precedence before moving onto other parts of the project.
But when working with greenfield projects, feasibility studies are usually not necessary since you have the luxury of adding anything that’s technically possible into the product which could be a huge advantage since no prior features are in place. However, when maintaining existing products you will need to use feasibility studies because it may be very hard to change certain things that were once built before without keeping backwards compatibility for any customers who are still using your software or service.
This way you can carefully plan out what needs to be done in order for this project to succeed by setting aside certain time slots where all stakeholders can meet and discuss these requirements in detail. This avoids constant interruptions throughout the day which allows everyone on your team to focus more on building features rather than answering emails and doing administrative tasks such as filing expense reports and filling out time sheets.
But most importantly, this approach helps you stay disciplined throughout your project by making sure certain tasks are not ignored if they need to be completed for the overall success of the product. You may even consider delegating some responsibilities to other people on your team who have more free time if it’s a must since everyone should share in the responsibility of maintaining existing products.
The purpose behind estimation is to figure out how much work needs to be done based upon specific requirements given at various durations throughout the event. This allows all stakeholders to plan ahead so no one will be distracted from their goals which could slow down progress over time or miss important deadlines that will eventually hurt your company’s reputation within each market segment that it serves.
People who are not familiar with Scrum will often make mistakes when they try to estimate their tasks which can lead to a lot of stress for everyone. Some common mistakes in the past have been estimating in ideal hours instead of real working hours or simply forgetting to break down certain features into more discreet pieces in order to get a more accurate time frame.
This way you can fairly distribute work evenly between your team members so no one person is overloaded with too much work at once, thus allowing them to perform better while avoiding burnout. You also want to look at giving enough time for people who are new to the project so they feel comfortable taking on new responsibilities before adding even more deadlines for other of the project that need attention right away.
If you’re working on a team that’s used to working together, then it should be easier for everyone to estimate their own tasks without consulting others which saves time and reduces miscommunications at the same time. Team members won’t need to factor in interruptions and conversations with other people who happens to have more experience than they do so they can think more clearly about what needs to happen throughout the day.
But when your company is growing quickly or hiring new employees, it would be best if you ask them for their availability during different periods of the month such as 1st and 15th since these are typically slow times where less work will be required compared to other days which tend to get busy all of a sudden due to unforeseen circumstances. This will help you plan ahead to accommodate any changes that need to be made so everyone can remain productive throughout the year, resulting in a better product overall.
During this meeting, you will want to go over all of your estimates and discuss what exactly needs to happen before the next event happens which is the Retrospective. If too much work was estimated for one part of the project then it can become an emergency if no one has time to work on it by itself until the next Sprint rolls around which means each person’s workload must be adjusted accordingly.
This way you can avoid potential problems such as having too many features that were completed at the end of a Sprint and not enough time left over for Q testing and bug fixing which could potentially harm your company’s reputation amongst clients if they weren’t caught in time.
A Retrospective Meeting is an important meeting in Scrum that happens after every Sprint where the Team and the Scrum Master go over their work and group together any suggestions, complaints or simply anything that was worth mentioning about what went well and what went badly during the last Sprint. These meetings are also known as Sprint Retrospective Meetings since it’s held after every Sprint and not every time a project is complete. So a Retrospective Meeting should only happen after a Sprint since it’s where everyone can give their input on how to make the next Sprint better. Even though the Scrum Master may already have an idea of what went well or not, it’s always best to discuss.
I hope you found this article helpful. If your business is considering a bespoke software solution to help it address operational inefficiencies or exploit new opportunities and you would welcome a hand with scoping out the requirements of the software project, and perhaps planning and delivering the software project too, then do please contact us.