Requirement Tools are not the Silver Bullet!

Think Perfect Software Requirements Equal Perfect Software?

I recently had a conversation with a seasoned CEO. We were talking about the software development life – cycle (SDLC) for a business application. He had experiences in the past that drew him to the conclusion the technical staff needed to do a better job gathering requirements.

The theory was ‘perfect requirements’ would equal ‘perfect software’.  So in his mind the next step was requirements tools and training.  Requirements tools and training were the Silver Bullet.

Perfect Software Requirements are Impossible

Well, he is partially right.  Good requirements are needed to build software.  The issue however is that perfect requirements are impossible to gather for a large project.  In an attempt to gather perfect requirements his team would require years of effort.  During those years the business environment would change and the requirements would  no longer be perfect, in fact,  they could be wrong.  However, by that time the project would be started and money spent.  If the project was stopped, hope of capturing any return would be impossible.

The problem with this approach is it makes some dramatic assumptions.  It assumes the software development team can see and predict the future.

What is the Better Approach for the SDLC?

A better approach would be to break the project into small ‘releases’ that are prioritized base on business value and built according to that value.  In effect create a series of small projects from one larger project.  This would mean moving to an agile development approach.

See my follow-up post, RIM and Market Value of an Iterative SDLC  with a focus on the value of an iterative / agile software development process.

John Munro

Partner, Web Financial Solutions (WFS)

Web Financial Solutions provides expert Software Development Life Cycle process improvement.

The services we offer include:

For more information about our services you can fill out our online contact form and someone will follow up with you shortly. You can also call John 416-505-4756