A team can only give commitment and be effective when a common understanding about the intention of a requirement is reached.
Requirements can only be implemented successfully when they are, in what Agile terminology is referred to as ‘ready‘, meaning complete and clear to all parties involved.
Getting requirements ‘ready‘ is something that cannot be done in solitude, but is performed by the entire delivery team. At the minimum it must involve a delegation of the team, requiring expertise from test, development and business perspective.
A team needs to fully understand the intent of a feature and the underlying need for that feature, in order to truly implement a business request.
Breaking down feature requests into viable executable units, for instance in the form of user stories, makes it possible to successfully plan and determine scope. Describing user stories with clear and self-explanatory examples leaves no doubt about the scope and the intended goal, and this is essential for successful software development.
Techniques like Impact Mapping, Specification by Example, BDD (Behavioural Driven Development) and ATDD (Acceptance Test Driven Development) will help to create meaningful requirements, with clear and measurable acceptance criteria.
Knowing when a feature is truly ‘done‘ and exactly what’s in scope and what’s out, allows teams to build the right thing, with little to no rework, resulting in maximum value being delivered and great customer satisfaction.
Effective requirements drive development, drive testing and will form the basis for the documentation of the system. When done right, requirements for a large part will determine the overall quality of the system. With automated tests the requirements can form the living documentation of the system, continuously validating it remains of high quality.
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