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Concurrent Engineering Blog

Writing requirements: 6 ways to get them right

Posted by Concurrent Engineering on 30-May-2024 11:15:00

Writing effective requirements can be the difference between success and failure on an engineering project. Good requirements ensure all project elements are understood from the start. On the other hand, badly written requirements can lead to expensive errors and delays.




In this article, we’ll lay out six tips to make sure your next batch of requirements sets your project on the road to success. Let’s get started.


What are requirements?


But first, let’s clarify what we mean by requirements. 


Requirements are sets of actionable instructions that create the path for an engineering project, setting the tone for communication between all stakeholders. Any requirement should answer the following questions:

  • Who will use the feature? - user role
  • What the user gains - user benefit
  • The final desired outcome
  • How to test the requirement - metrics


Now, let’s look at six ways to write better requirements.


1 - Trim the fat

No one wants to see too many unnecessary requirements for the sake of it. When you start writing requirements, always consider what you will do, who benefits from it, and why you’re doing it. This will help you understand whether your requirement is truly necessary. If it isn’t, stop writing it and move on.


2 - Clarity and accuracy are everything

Make sure your writing is as clear as possible so anyone can read and understand it quickly. Avoid jargon and acronyms. Be clear in your writing, staying away from flowery language and passive voice. Also, focus on what should be done rather than what shouldn’t.


Also, be accurate. Accurate requirements prevent the project from derailing due to incorrect assumptions.


3 - Less is more

Be as concise as you can in your requirements. A good rule of thumb is, if it’s too long to fit on a post-it note, it’s too long. Get straight to the point and get out. Then, your requirements will be easy to understand, analyse and action. Perfect.


4 - Be realistic

You need your requirements to be implementable from the start. Ensure the statements in your requirement are feasible within the agreed budgets and timeline with the resources available to you.


5 - Organise and prioritise 

It’s essential to keep your requirements organised in some sort of order to prevent confusion amongst your stakeholders. 


Firstly, categorise your requirements so everyone knows which ones are relevant to their role in the project. An effective way to group your requirements is:

  • Functional
  • Non-functional
  • Business
  • System


Once you’ve categorised your requirements, sort them into order of priority so people know what to work on first.


6 - Be accountable

Everything about your requirements should be traceable so everyone knows who is responsible for what parts of the project, including any changes.


Keep detailed records of requirements and their changes through the product lifecycle. This helps manage the project efficiently and keeps everything aligned with the project’s goals.


Find out more


Writing requirements doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Follow our six tips, take the time to get it right, and you’ll begin your project on the front foot.


Find out more