Improve Applications with Thorough Requirements
When the time comes to replace outdated business applications, the decision to move to the cloud should be accompanied by a fresh look at requirements. Cloud software development follows the same guidelines as traditional software development. To gain user acceptance and ensure that the application serves the current needs of the organization efficiently, a well-researched and professionally written Functional Requirements document is key to success.
The first step in creating a Functional Requirements document will be to research the requirements documentation that was created to build the current software. While certainly helpful, that documentation is often hard to find or simply doesn’t exist.
Following research, interviews with the people whose jobs will be affected by new software provides the foundation of your requirements. The interviews will include:
- Stakeholders, including executives and managers, will define the desired outcomes expected from the application.
- User interviews will help define the day to day challenges that the application needs to address.
- Cross functional discussions will help to identify common requirements that can be combined for efficiencies.
Outside the box
During the interviews, it may be challenging to get the users to think outside of the current application. People become comfortable with their current systems and are often reluctant to change. There may be resistance to the prospect of a new application. During the requirements gathering, you should be sensitive to user concerns.
To help identify missing functionality in the current application, ask users questions about how they accomplish their work, including:
- What processes do you currently use a spreadsheet to track?
- How often do you have to refer to notes to complete a task? For what processes?
- How many steps does it take to accomplish your most common tasks?
Role of the Business Analyst
Based on the interviews, you will likely have a long list of requirements. This is the stage of the process where a business analyst, with experience in your industry, will be able to interpret and organize the information that has been gathered. With a clear understanding of the desired outcomes, the business analyst will present the findings and recommendations through a professionally created Functional Requirements document.
Replacing the business applications that support your organization is an opportunity to improve processes and modernize operations. With the open input of stakeholders and users, your cloud application development projects will deliver even greater value to the organization.