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Different Sources of Understanding Software Requirements

Last Updated : 01 Feb, 2023
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There are several sources that can be used to understand software requirements, including:

  • Stakeholders: Stakeholders such as end-users, business owners, and subject matter experts can provide insight into the specific needs and requirements of the software system.
  • User stories: User stories are short descriptions of how a user will interact with the software. They can help to identify specific requirements for the system and provide a clear understanding of the user’s needs.
  • Use cases: Use cases are a technique used to capture the requirements of a system by describing how the system will be used in different scenarios.
  • Prototypes: Prototypes are early versions of the software system that can be used to gather feedback and identify requirements.
  • Surveys and questionnaires: Surveys and questionnaires can be used to gather feedback and information from stakeholders and end-users.
  • Competitive analysis: Analyzing similar systems or products in the market can provide insight into potential requirements for the software system.
  • Industry standards and regulations: Industry standards and regulations can provide guidance on specific requirements that the software system must meet.
  • Existing documentation: Existing documentation such as process flow diagrams, system design, and requirements can provide insight into the requirements of the software system.
  • It’s important to note that different sources can be used to understand different types of requirements, and it’s often beneficial to use multiple sources to get a comprehensive understanding of the requirements for the software system.

The requirements specifications of the software provides a base for developing the system and this is one the most crucial steps in SDLC. Although the stakeholder is the ultimate source of the requirements, you cannot depend on the specification stated by a single source. For single source requirements, there will be almost no possible verification of specifications because no comparable checks will exist for the prescribed specialties from a variety of sources including customers, consumers, problem domain experts, connected domain experts, potential users, operators, experienced developers, and even critics of the system. A set of knowledge data is produced from the execution of an existing manual or semi-automatic system. Feedback from owner, user, operator, other workers. and the beneficiaries are also gathered and their suggestions and expectations about the new system are recorded. The data collected is evaluated and refined collectively and in consultation with the people involved.

  1. Stakeholders/Buyers : They are the persons responsible for accepting and executing the software. They can be individual individuals, organizations, trusts or even the government or public of a country.
  2. User/Beneficiaries : These are the users of the product for which the product is intended.
  3. Operators : They are the persons who work on the software to make the services of the software available to its beneficiaries or the end users.
  4. Domain experts : They are professionals with experience and expertise of the domain in which the software provides its services, viz. insurance, financials, banking, communication, data transfer, networking, etc. Domain experts unwind the hidden or unseen probable requirements or risks involved in product development.
  5. Developer : The software engineering responsible for developing the software to make it provide the expected services. They are responsible for software design, prototype development, and technical feasibility. They work closely with the end-users, buyers, and application experts.
  6. Automated Tools : In the new generation of information technology and software development paradigm, many automated and semi-automated tools are available that allow for the affirmation and management of the need for building the system. such software also provides input. System/software requirements.
  7. Past Experience/Case Studies : An organization working in the similar or same domain may provide its past experience or even documented case studies. This helps have a clearer picture of the requirements, which may otherwise be left hidden.
  8. Connected People/Machine/Environment : People associated with software or environmental factors and IT domain may give a lot of provide information about constraints involved in development, development, its and environment implications on software.
  9. Tester : Testers are a good source of information about the user’s behavior or the predictive behavior of the system’s condition. continuous contact with real users for their input. In such cases, examiners may use their experiences and analytical skills to provide input.


Advantages of using multiple sources to understand software requirements include:

  1. Increased understanding of the requirements: Using multiple sources can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the requirements for the software system.
  2. Increased stakeholder involvement: Involving multiple stakeholders in the requirements gathering process can increase their buy-in and engagement in the project.
  3. Improved quality of the requirements: Using multiple sources can help to identify and validate requirements, which can improve the overall quality of the requirements.
  4. Improved alignment with business goals: Using multiple sources can help to ensure that the requirements align with the overall business goals and objectives of the organization.
  5. Reduced rework: By identifying and addressing requirements early on in the development process, using multiple sources can reduce the likelihood of costly rework later on.
  6. Improved compliance: By using multiple sources to identify relevant laws, regulations, industry standards or company policies, the system can be designed to be compliant from the start.

Disadvantages of using multiple sources to understand software requirements include:

  1. Increased complexity: Using multiple sources can increase the complexity of the requirements gathering process.
  2. Increased time and cost: Using multiple sources can be time-consuming and costly, especially when involving multiple stakeholders.
  3. Risk of conflicting requirements: Using multiple sources can lead to conflicting requirements, which can make it difficult to prioritize and implement the requirements.
  4. Risk of changing requirements: Requirements may change over time and it can be difficult to keep up with the changes and ensure that the project is aligned with the updated requirements.
  5. Misinterpretation and miscommunication: Misinterpretation and miscommunication can occur when trying to understand the requirements from multiple sources.

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