Creating an SRS document step-by-step by analyzing requirements

When you have a great business idea, writing a lengthy tech document is the one thing you wouldn’t love to do. However, SRS (Software requirement specification) is important for a successful development process. An SRS document is important because different people have a different understanding of the same concepts and processes. This is why most development companies and project owners often work in opposite directions when there is no SRS.

In this article, you will learn everything about creating an SRS document but first, let’s discuss SRS.

What is a System Requirement Specification?
An SRS document is a document containing the goals and measurable outcomes of the development process. Taking a glance at such documents, any stakeholder will understand what the finished product should look like.
To stand out in an overcrowded market, your project needs to have unique features no one else offers. The best way to do this is by using a mind map. It lets the stakeholders see the big picture and have a deep understanding of the needed features.

How To Use Mind Mapping To Develop An Srs Document
Usually, it begins with a brainstorming session. It allows you to determine the product’s key features and turn the results into an actionable mind map. Find the quick process below:

  1. Create a big-picture mind map to answer the questions: Why, Who and When. Why do they need it? Who will enjoy your solution? When will they use your product?
  2. Develop user stories mind map. It allows you to follow different scenarios and understand which features will meet the audience’s needs.
  3. Based on the user stories mind map, estimate the functional features, plan and rank their development.
  4. Transfer the mind map data into an SRS document. The structured document can help you come up with new ideas.
  5. Update and broaden the mind map as you develop a better understanding of users’ needs and requirements.

There is no need to waste days drawing a complex mind map with detailed explanations for all features. Instead, concentrate on critical concepts and explain them in an SRS document. You will transfer the document to the chosen software development services provider. So, your system requirement specification should be as detailed as possible, explaining all your wishes.

Include any constraints you deem necessary for the project, like budget and time frame. You need to rank the features and drop those that aren’t critical to the project’s success.

9 STEPS FOR CREATING AN SRS DOCUMENT FOR A WEBSITE PROJECT
1. Introduction: First of all, you need to set the purpose of your product. This section summarizes the whole document and explains the concept of the product. This section answers the first question of the development team: “what are we working on?”

When creating your app, get a definite picture of the industry you wish to conquer and the competition. Depending on whether you offer retail products, consulting services or SaaS solutions, most of the requirements will differ. It’s of vital importance for the readers of the document to understand your business context. What organization or person is interested in the development of this application? Which mission does it perform? Why it’s different from competitors? Defined business context allows seeing key priorities and organizing the development process.

The introduction usually includes the project’s scope. Except for the general ideas, it’s obligatory to mention the target audience of the application. How does the intended user look like? What are his/her preferences, wishes and fears? The users can be divided into several groups according to their rights. Limited access improves the system’s security and reduces your risks. You can also write about the users’ locations and devices.

The section about acronyms and definitions isn’t obligatory, but it’s a great idea to include it in your functional requirements document. It allows avoiding misunderstandings, especially if you want to create an application in a specific field that the stakeholders may not understand the meanings.

2. General system description: It’s important to give an overview of the product you build before the list of its tech specifications. To begin with, write whether it’s a new application or a system that already exists.
Next part of the overall description tells about modes and states of the future system, as well as its main conditions, capabilities and constraints. Just mention all these aspects. You will give a detailed description of them in the next section.

The general system description must contain assumptions and dependencies. It means the list of factors that can affect the relevance of this SRS document version. What internal and external occasions may change your requirements and the project’s scope? Tell about them to minimize any risks. For example, you can need software components you’re reusing from another product. It’s one of your project’s dependencies.

The last point is operational scenarios. It’s a description of how different parts of the system interact with each other, the user, and the environment. You can imagine it as a sequence of events that happen with the user.

3. System capabilities, conditions and constraints: The detailed description of requirements is one of the most meaningful components of an SRS document. Why it’s crucial to specify your necessities? It’s because it helps the development team bring your plan to life. As a result, you will receive a product that represents your ideas. This section allows programmers, designers, and other IT specialists to understand your demands.

There are non-functional requirements that can be the same across many industries. They elaborate on the performance of the system, showcase HOW it should operate. It includes the final user’s needs and expectations.
Functional requirements outline the system’s behaviour or WHAT it should do under different circumstances and in various use scenarios. Functional requirements make people fall in love with your products, and non-functional requirements make them stay. Let’s look at the example of an appropriate representation of each function.

Now we will consider different types of functional requirements examples. As for physical requirements, there are 4 of them:

  1. Construction (answer to the question “Where your app will be installed?”)
  2. Durability (write about staying power of the system)
  3. Adaptability (includes growth, expansion, capability, contraction)
  4. Environmental conditions (think about external factors around the future app)

4. System interfaces: The interfaces are divided into internal and external ones. Here you should explain dependencies among system components. It can be existing elements, those under development, and future components. It’s necessary to think about both human users of your system and other applications that will be connected with it. You can set requirements for the 4 main types of interfaces:

a. User
b. Hardware
c. Software
d. Communications

5. Requirements traceability matrix: RTM is a quite useful tool to see whether each requirement is covered for testing. It’s an important part of an SRS document, which ensures a smooth development process and helps arrive at the right destination. RTM looks like a table that includes all points of the tech document and change requests.

Depending on the organization, there are different variations of this document. The table usually includes requirement ID, its type and description, and test cases with status. Practically, you can send to the PM only PDF file with your requirements.

How to prepare RTM?

  1. Check all the determined requirements.
  2. List them with ID# for each point.
  3. Write all respective functional requirements for each business one.
  4. Open Test Case document and link available TC IDs to respective functional specification

6. References: If you aim to write an excellent SRS document, add all needed references. The perfect way to organize them is a table. You can put links to each document, its date, author, and your comment.

7. Glossary: The list of abbreviations can be placed in the introduction to the SRS document. But if there are lots of them, it’s better to put these explanations in a separate section.

8. Revision history: The long-term projects may have several versions of the specification document. It’s convenient to organize them in a table, with columns named: “Version #”, “Date”, “Name”, and “Description”.

9. Appendices: This section isn’t obligatory. But if you have some files or information that weren’t included in the previous parts of the SRS, add them in the appendices.

USE THIS CHECKLIST TO WRITE AN EXCEPTIONAL SRS DOCUMENT

  1. The text provides validation strategies and the hierarchy of requirements, which can be changed according to new decisions.
  2. It determines the problem that the application must solve to make the customer’s demand fully clear for the development company.
  3. The perfect SRS document sets the needs and preferences of the final users. It tells about the advantages that make the product unique.
  4. Its language is complete, accurate, verifiable and consistent. The author uses logical frameworks for short, clear statements.
  5. Check whether every requirement is testable. If you aren’t sure, apply to a project manager or tech consultant.
  6. Functional requirements don’t contain design details. The development team should be free in choosing ways of the needed features realization.
  7. The negative phrases are used less often, than positive. The technical requirements document shows what the system must do, rather than mustn’t.
  8. Pay attention to the description of compatibility. The ideal SRS document defines what exactly this word means in a particular context.

With the above steps, you are sure of writing a detailed SRS document that both the stakeholders and development teams will understand and have a clear picture of what you are trying to build.

Need help creating an SRS document? Here is a free template.

 

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