According to statistics, 48% of projects fail due to poorly documented requirements and it’s one of the top reasons for software project failure in the world. That is why many development companies start their projects from SRS document development.
Everyone—developers, marketers, stakeholders, designers, and others— involved in product creation needs an SRS. It serves as a guide for all team members working on the project and helps turn a great idea into a real product.
In this article, we will inform you on how to prepare SRS document that will be useful for each member of the development team.
What Is an SRS Document?
A Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document is a complete description of software requirements for product development. It also contains standards and expectations of the product to be developed. To put it simply, it should describe what the product should do and how the development team should develop it. A good SRS should define how an app will interact with hardware, third-party programs, and users in various scenarios.
Imagine you have a clear idea of the app you want to create. How are you going to communicate this idea to your development team? You can’t just tell them “I want to build an app like TikTok.” That just won’t be enough for your developers, designers, and other team members. That is why you need an SRS document. It contains all the details about your future product—from its purposes to its technical aspects.
If you want to see how your idea will come to life, you must provide your team of specialists with all the details of the future project. That is why an SRS document is important for the vast majority of projects.
As usual, SRS creation is the responsibility of a project manager or business analyst. They conduct research and communicate with clients to come up with product requirements.
Why Is an SRS Document Important?
An SRS is important for a bunch of reasons. We named some below.
1. It’s the basis of your entire project.
An SRS is a guide that everyone involved in the project should follow. It provides critical information needed for the product’s development, quality assurance (QA), and maintenance.
2. An SRS minimizes the time, cost, and effort required to create a product.
Since an SRS contains clear requirements, it makes it easier and faster to achieve the desired goals. Moreover, for the same reason, your developers are less likely to make mistakes, which results in reduced budget, as you won’t have to spend extra resources to fix errors.
3. The document eliminates any confusion and misunderstanding within the team.
An SRS defines what the product should do and how it should function. This way, your specialists won’t have to think about what they have to do. Thus, the development process will go easier.
4. An SRS is a communication tool.
An SRS serves as a communication point between marketers, developers, and other specialists working on the project. It’s not a static document and may change under certain circumstances. So, when changes are made, they are agreed upon by managers and team members.
5. It contains fixed requirements.
There are a lot of discussions when it comes to software development. The product versions may change after testing, team meetings, and others, which may be overwhelming. An SRS helps put an end to discussions and unite their results into a single standard.
6. An SRS serves as a guide for the development team.
An SRS is not just a list of requirements. It also contains instructions for developers to guide them through the development process. The developers need an SRS for coding. QA testers need it to plan and run the testing process. Designers use an SRS to match the design with the app’s functionality.
How to Write a Software Requirement Specification Document: A Step-by-Step Guide
SRS creation implies a lot of communication and research. Below are the main steps in writing an SRS.
Step 1. Discuss the document with stakeholders.
First, you need to find out what the stakeholders expect to see in the product. Of course, it won’t give you a full understanding of the requirements. Nevertheless, it’s an important step in SRS creation.
Step 2. Conduct research.
The research will define how the future SRS will look like. You will have to study the problem that your future product is going to solve. As the end result of the stage, you are going to have several hypothetical variants of how your product is going to solve user problems. That will allow you to make an app that is really helpful and useful for the users.
Step 3. Create an SRS document structure.
After all the discussions and research, it’s time to start writing the document. Depending on the type of product to develop, the SRS can have different structures. Here is a sample Software Requirement Specification document.
Software Requirements Specification Sample
The introduction must contain a brief summary of the document’s contents. There, you may write information, such as:
- Purpose of the document
- Idea of the document
- Intended readers
Define the main goals you want to achieve with your project (for example, create an MVP of a photo editing app or create a website to support your business). This part of the document should also contain the objectives that must be achieved so the product could be considered successful.
In this section, you should answer questions like:
- How are users going to use your product?
- What functions are you going to provide for them?
1.3. Volume of Work
Here, you need to determine what the scope of the work needs to be performed to achieve your goals.
This part is devoted to definitions and acronyms that will be used in the SRS. Since the document is intended for many specialists, you need to explain each term that may be confusing for somebody.
2. Overall Description
Here, you need to give a brief description of your app, its idea, and why it can be interesting for users.
2.1. User Requirements
It’s impossible to create a universal app. Any app is created to meet the needs of a certain category of users. So, as you know your target audience, you can create a user persona (a representation of your target audience or your ideal user).
3. Technical Specifications
3.1. Functional Requirements
This is the technical part of the document where you need to describe each software spec that the app should include and the standards that the specs should meet. Functional features are those that the app can’t function without.
3.2. Nonfunctional Requirements
Nonfunctional requirements define attributes, such as security, reliability, performance, maintainability, scalability, and usability. They also determine how the system should implement the functional features.
3.3. Tech Stack
A tech stack is the combination of technologies used to create an app. It typically consists of programming languages, frameworks, a database, front-end and back-end tools, and so on.
4. Interface Requirements
Here, you need to write the logical characteristics of the user interface (UI), such as graphical user interface (GUI) standards, screen layout, various samples, and others.
According to standard (IEEE/ISO/IEC 29148), an SRS document should include an appendix, but it’s not necessary. In this part, you may include any information that doesn’t fit the other sections.
Recommendations on Creating a Comprehensive Software Requirement Specification Document
1. Make it understandable and simple.
As we have already mentioned, an SRS is intended for a large group of people with different specialties. Your team members shouldn’t be puzzled about what is written in the document. This way, an SRS should be written in understandable language and have a clear structure and formulations.
2. Don’t focus solely on technical characteristics.
It’s important to include your business objectives in the SRS, and not just focus on the app’s specs. This information will be especially important for the non-tech-savvy specialists involved in your project.
3. Add information about your target audience.
Information about your users is very valuable. It helps create the design and features of the app. That is why it’s advisable to add such information in the document.
4. An SRS should be considered a live document.
Even if you think your document is perfect and won’t need changes, great new ideas may appear after each iteration. That is why you should always be ready to modify your SRS.
5. Use special services to prepare an SRS.
Of course, it’s up to you how to create the document. However, there are a lot of services that can make this job easier. For example, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Reqchecker, Pearl, or Helix RM. They will allow you to make an SRS in a neat and well-understandable form.
Qualities of a Good Software Requirement Specification Document
Here are some characteristics that make a good SRS.
- Correctness: An SRS must provide a correct script, not just a report.
- Unambiguousness: An SRS should provide precise information regarding the scope of work required, product requirements, and end results. That is why it should be unambiguous and include vague adverbs, incomprehensible abbreviations, and so on. However, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be adjusted when needed.
- Reliability: All people involved in the product creation will use the SRS as a guide. That is why it should be reliable.
- Completeness: An SRS should contain all the necessary software requirements of the product.
- Flexibility: Frequently, there is a need to change something in the process of software development. That is why an SRS’s structure should be flexible so it could be easily modified when there is such a need.
- Provability: After the product is finished, it will be checked if it meets the requirements. That is why each statement in the document should be provable.
As you can see, a Software Requirement Specification document is an important part of the software development process. There are no strictly defined rules on writing an SRS. Moreover, it may change during the development process. However, in general, this document should include goals, functional and nonfunctional requirements, as well as design and tech stack requirements. It’s also important to make each requirement in the document understandable for everyone.