Project Management

Testing Requirements

I'm sure all of you would agree that software requirements are a pre-requisite to developing any large system. However, how do you determine when the requirements are detailed enough to proceed with development? How much details do you need before you can sign off on the software requirements specifications (SRS)?

The answer is simple. Requirements Definition is one of the various activities of the software lifecycle, and like any other activity, it must be tested before being declared as complete.

The purpose of the requirements verification activity is not to examine whether the requirements are right or wrong--this has already been determined during the requirements gathering and analysis phase. The purpose of the requirements verification activity is to determine if the requirements are complete, and to ensure that there are no trade-offs. In other words:

  • Are the requirements detailed enough that a designer can start implementing his/her feature?
  • Are any requirements contradicting each other?

If the requirements are incomplete or contradictory, someone will identify the problem at some point in the product's lifecycle. Perhaps a designer will require more details before proceeding. Or perhaps a tester will realize that two requirements contradict each other while writing the system test. In either case, the issue will have to be …

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I did this thing on the Ottoman Empire. Like, what was this? A whole empire based on putting your feet up?

- Jerry Seinfeld