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Are Your Requirements SMART Like You?

Image of LN Mishra, CBAP, CBDA, AAC & CCA
LN Mishra, CBAP, CBDA, AAC & CCA

Most of us would have heard something as SMART objectives. 

SMART objectives have been used by professionals for a long time to ensure they set objectives which are clear to stakeholders and are achievable.

Can we apply the same principles to requirements?

This would actually be a nice conversation with your stakeholders. If you find a requirement which is NOT SMART, you simply indicate to a stakeholder that the requirement is not very smart and should be modified appropriately.

Smart requirement ensures there is clarity in requirements and less of dispute with stakeholders and user group.

That translates to faster sign off or turnaround time for the requirements.

This also gives much better clarity to the developer community and the expectation is set clearly.

We can define the SMART requirements as one which follow the below-mentioned rules:

Specific

Without ambiguity, using consistent terminology, simple and at the appropriate level of detail.

Let's consider this requirement - The new system shall be able to manage project schedule.

Is the requirement specific?

What is meant by the verb Manage?

Does it mean Create - Retrieve - Update - Delete or something more?

Measurable

Is it possible to put a number to the requirement?

This is especially true for non-functional requirements.

Let's consider the requirement, The system shall have great usability.

How do we measure great usability?

Making the requirement reworded as New users should be able to perform top 10 key tasks with 2 hours of training makes it measurable.

Advantageous

Adds value.

Let's consider the requirement, Let's automate the budget template.

The cost to implement the same is $10,000.

The budget template is used by just 1 person once in a year.

Can we consider this requirement as value adding?

Realizable

Realistic, given the resources.

Do we have the required staffing?

Do we have the skill?

Do we have access to the development infrastructure needed?

Do we have access to the run-time infrastructure needed?

Do we have enough time in hand to implement the requirement?

Let's consider this requirement: Let's implement Oracle Applications in next 1 month.

Any ERP project takes significant amount of planning and preparation. There would not have been any ERP implementation which is less than 3 months duration.

Traceable and Testable

From its conception through its requirement specification to its subsequent design, implementation, and test.

Let's consider a project to implement project management aspects.

We get a new requirement to implement recruitment management.

Can we trace the requirement to project objective?

We have used this simple classification and found a very good use of the same.

Do let us know if this works for you as well.

Happy reading and have a wonderful day and to provide your suggestions and comments.

We would love to hear from all professionals here, please leave a comment with your feedback.

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