Requirements Management

Transform good ideas into breakthrough products by considering all relevant functional, performance, safety, regulatory, and market needs.

What is requirements management?

Requirements management gathers, analyzes, confirms, and documents business, market, and user needs for product development. Gathering requirements involves research and engagement with stakeholders. The data is analyzed to identify patterns, prioritize needs, and determine potential integration into products. Stakeholder feedback and validation confirm that the data represents their needs. Documented requirements serve as a guide to product scope, as well as a basis for future decision-making.

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Why is requirements management important?

Software-defined products are made up of thousands of requirements. It is extremely difficult to deliver these requirements quickly and accurately without a reliable requirements management solution. Requirements management enables organizations to transform good ideas into breakthrough products by considering all relevant functional, performance, safety, regulatory, and market needs. Mature requirements management practices provide a foundation for product excellence.

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Who is responsible for requirements management?

Every organization has a unique approach to making product and project decisions. Often, a portfolio team will analyze trends, define investment themes, and define the high-level vision of a product. This vision is refined over time as product, software, and systems engineers conduct further analysis within their domains of expertise, adding more detailed specifications. Regulatory teams may contribute regulatory requirements. From initial ideation through product delivery, requirements will change as user and market needs evolve or become better defined. Requirements management is an iterative and fluid process with many stakeholders.

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What are the stages of the requirements management process?

Requirements management stages vary from organization to organization, but typically include the following:

Requirements Planning

Organizations decide how teams will analyze, document, validate, and govern changes to requirements, working within Agile, V-model, or other processes.

Requirements Development

Over many iterations, requirements or epics evolve from high-level vision to detailed requirements and user stories, with success criteria defined via associated test cases.

Requirements Validation and Change Management

Teams work to ensure that documented requirements meet market and user needs and make changes to requirements as appropriate.

System Verification

As the product takes shape, teams test it to verify that each iteration meets the documented specifications.

Implementation

The ultimate aim is to deliver a product or service that satisfies the requirements agreed to so that requirements engineering naturally flows into the design and manufacture or implementation.

Benefits of requirements management

Improved traceability

Traceability is essential when working with requirements. Teams need visibility into the development, testing, and validation process for their requirements. A good requirements management solution helps teams gain that visibility and transparency throughout the product lifecycle, improving traceability.

Manages risk

Risk increases exponentially when requirements are improperly managed. Handling hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of requirements is complex and challenging. There is a lot of room for error without a single source of truth. A comprehensive requirements management solution helps to manage that risk by streamlining workflows.

Simplifies compliance

The path to compliance is reliant on traceability and transparency into every test and validation of each requirement. Requirements management software helps customers to demonstrate each step clearly for quicker and easier compliance.

Reusability

Unifying requirements in one software solution makes reuse much simpler. Teams can take existing requirements and reuse them for different products or new iterations of an existing product. Reusability is a key part of a sustainable development lifecycle that can also save teams time and money.

Enables real-time collaboration

One comprehensive requirements management solution can unite different stakeholders from different teams, allowing real-time collaboration across geographies and time zones. Team members can view or engage with the software at whatever access level they need to help manage different workstreams.

Lower cost of development

The benefit of real-time collaboration, better reuse, a simpler path to compliance, and less risk is that these factors all lower the cost of development. Traceability and real-time collaboration can prevent time-consuming and costly errors from ending up in the final product.

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Explore Windchill

Explore Codebeamer Codebeamer helps engineers connect people, processes, and tools with requirements workflows allowing for traceability, transparency, and advanced change and configuration management. Explore Windchill Windchill, PTC's PLM solution, offers a scalable repository that can be customized for valuable requirements and validation assets addressing complex product manufacturing challenges.

Requirements management best practices

Collaboration

Harness collective wisdom by capturing and managing both structured and unstructured requirements, epics, and user stories.

Harness collective wisdom by capturing and managing both structured and unstructured requirements, epics, and user stories.

Product Definition

Use requirements to inform design, development, and testing.

Use requirements to inform design, development, and testing.

Traceability

360-degree traceability allows teams to trace requirements from high-level vision through detailed definition and implementation.

360-degree traceability allows teams to trace requirements from high-level vision through detailed definition and implementation.

Change Management

Request, analyze, approve, and communicate changes to requirements, and notify individuals and teams of changes to work in progress.

Request, analyze, approve, and communicate changes to requirements, and notify individuals and teams of changes to work in progress.

Configuration Management

Manage, branch, and merge requirements for specific products, variants, product platforms, and prototypes.

Manage, branch, and merge requirements for specific products, variants, product platforms, and prototypes.

Reuse

Accelerate development and reduce costs by providing teams with easy access to shared requirements assets.

Accelerate development and reduce costs by providing teams with easy access to shared requirements assets.

Verification and Validation

Continuously verify that products meet stated requirements, and validate that requirements are optimized to meet user and market needs.

Continuously verify that products meet stated requirements, and validate that requirements are optimized to meet user and market needs.

Compliance

Ensure compliance with relevant industry regulations.

Ensure compliance with relevant industry regulations.

Requirements management frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between requirements management and project management?

Requirements management is dedicated to eliciting, analyzing, and documenting business, user, and market needs. Project management is a more generalized discipline that can be applied to a broad range of deliverables, not limited to requirements.

What are the challenges of requirements management?

Common requirements management challenges include:

  • Confirmation bias. We all tend to interpret information in a way that confirms or supports our existing beliefs. Truly listening to customers with an open mind is actually challenging.
  • Complexity. Today’s highly engineered products can be associated with thousands of individual requirements. Without the right toolset, it's easy to get lost in the details, and simply finding the right set of information to work with can become a monumental task. This is why it's so critical to provide a toolset that organizes requirements information into well-organized hierarchies and logical groups that automatically associate work items with relevant requirements information.
  • Siloed organizations. Large and distributed teams can make it more challenging to develop and implement a shared vision. While transparent access to documents is crucial, it's also important to bring people together to foster a collaborative working environment.

What are common types of requirements in requirements management?

Common requirements categories include:

  • Functional requirements define product functions or capabilities
  • Nonfunctional requirements specify general attributes or performance needs such as speed, torque, weight, etc.
  • Safety requirements define how the product will perform in response to specific hazards or threats
  • Regulatory requirements must be in compliance to sell into specific industries, geographies, or markets

How do Agile user stories contribute to the requirements process?

User stories are a requirements elicitation technique used by Agile teams that captures needs and wants from the user's point of view, typically using first-person “I need, I see” narration. User stories are an excellent way to build an understanding of the user's world and empathize with their challenges. Epics organize multiple user stories under a common theme.

How can AI help with requirements management?

AI can not only help write requirements, but it can score your existing requirements to ensure that they are well-written and complete. There are existing AI tools that can help to check the requirements for your teams to cut down on human error and save time proofing. AI has great potential for helping to reduce writing and editing time and lets teams focus on testing, validation, and getting those requirements to customers.

What is a requirements management plan?

A requirements management plan (RMP) helps teams to establish and define the requirements and how they will be defined, managed, and executed . When creating an RMP, teams need to be specific about each part, including roles and responsibilities, how requirements will be gathered and defined, and how they will be traced. It is important for teams to look at the whole product lifecycle and how they plan to maintain and update their requirements over the course of a product life.