The simple answer is knowing what your application needs to do to be successful! If only life were that simple!
If you don’t have complete and correct requirements, you simply can’t succeed.
Application projects in many organizations rush to development too soon – especially if they follow an “Agile” process.
Requirements are only vaguely outlined at project initiation on the basis that they will be “fleshed out” as the project proceeds.
This leads to several issues during project execution:
1. Scope creep as additional requirements are rolled into the project
2. Ballooning costs and timelines as the requirements are more fully understood and the true scope of the required effort becomes clear
3. Build up of technical debt and refactoring of software as requirements are re-defined or re-prioritized
4. Mis-communication and expectation management as requirements continue to evolve.
To increase the success of your project, its important to have an approach to gather and validate your business requirements before you start to commit technical resources.
The best way to validate your business requirements is by having your users directly interact with your business functionality. Requirements documentation and UI mock-ups are not a real substitute for users getting hands-on experience. Quickly creating a baseline of the desired business functionality can be achieved by using an application platform that enables you to configure the business functionality without creating code or require technical resources.
Gathering requirements using a virtualization framework for business functionality enables you to validate your requirements with your business users at the start of your project. This significantly improves expectation management and provides a much better model for estimating costs and timelines for components that need technical assistance.
Spending a little effort upfront getting clarity on your application’s success criteria will enable you to deliver value faster, cheaper and safer.