Thursday, October 16, 2003

Requirements Analysis

by Asim Jalis

Requirements analysis is a process of discovery, not of documentation. The goal is not to document known requirements, but through a process of exploring the real needs of the users, to discover what it is that the people really want. It is not just communication between users and developers -- that assumes that the users already know what they want. When the discovery occurs it is just as new to the users as it is to the developers. Requirements is closely tied to value proposition. When a successful marketer figures out the value proposition of a new product, it is frequently the case that the users did not know the value proposition either, until it was spelled out to them. Frequently the requirements analyst assumes that as soon as he has documented the requirements the job is done. This analyst does not appreciate the delicate negotiation process that must occur between what is technologically possible and what the real needs of the users are. As I write this I also realize that this is probably a really INTP way of looking at requirements analysis. People with other attitudes towards reality might feel that it's better to set the goals and achieve them.