Getting Started With Usable Requirements
Getting started with Usable Requirements
At Usable HQ we think that projects driven from the perspective of a shared and joint understanding of requirements are more likely to succeed than those that are only managed as a collection of tasks. The requirements give context to the tasks and enable all project members and stakeholders to understand what the key outcomes and needs of a project are.
Usable Requirements is a tool for organising the information about what the outcomes of a project should be and what should be done to achieve those outcomes. Desired outcomes are requirements and activities that need to be completed are tasks. Usable Requirements enables groups of people to manage requirements and tasks on projects.
Who Requirements is for?
If you do projects for customers or clients and need to agree the scope, needs and outcomes of the project, then Usable Requirements would help you with those projects. Requirements helps to capture, organise, tag and agree the project specifications, and then link tasks to those requirements to drive the project. During the project all the team members can see where the project is and what needs to be done. To make it easy, Requirements works with your current workflow. If you use Basecamp, Pivotal Tracker or Asana to manage tasks now you can continue to use any of those apps alongside Requirements.
How Requirements can be used?
We’re in beta right now. Requirements isn’t finished, but there is a good set of features that will help your projects right now. But we’d really like to see if it’s useful to you which is why we’re offering it for free right now. In return, we hope you will tell us what you like, what you don’t like, what works, what doesn’t and what you think we should be adding (or taking away). If you have a project, why not add a few requirements:
- Start with the project’s Objectives or Business Case. What critical things must the project achieve to be successful? These are top level requirements. Create a single ‘Business Case’ top level requirement and create the individual business case items as sub-requirements. You probably only need 4 or 5. Tag them with ‘BC’ or ‘BusinessCase’. Tagging requirements makes them easier to manage by allowing you to group them in flexible ways.
- Now add Functional Requirements. To help with organisation, create a top level ‘Functional Requirements’ and then add sub-requirements under it. In project management terms we talk about ‘products’, and these are things like documents, software, electronic items or delivering a training course. Functional Requirements are things that these products should do
- You may also have Technical Requirements. These are limitations or specifications that a product must meet. e.g. a server something is hosted on, the size of a container, a browser specification or performance requirements (1000 simultaneous users).
- A rarer form of Requirement is a Legal or Regulatory Requirement. These are things like accessibility, security or privacy requirements and could depend on the industry or environment in which the ‘products’ are to be used.
Once the requirements are entered you can either export them as a PDF document to share with the stakeholders, or better yet, invite the stakeholders to the Requirements and share the project with them – simply invite them to it. They’ll be able to join the project, read the requirements, make comments and you’ll be able to change and agree enough requirements to get the project going. You don’t have to agree everything to start, just to make sure that you’re on the right track.
In the next post, we’ll be looking at tasks and collaboration in the project.