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Software Requirement Specification

In theory a Software Requirement Specification is simply a detailed description of the software functionality that needs to be produced, which describes how the new software will behave and how it will interact with other software. It also contains the functional as well as non-functional requirements of the software and the constraints which will restrict its performance.

In reality since the software requirements specification is the building block for an entire development, they need to be absolutely correct, but rarely are. The reason? Either the business requirements documentation or the project management requirements are ambiguous or misunderstood. As soon as this occurs you can kiss your project goodbye, unless of course, it is using Agile methodology in which case you may have a chance to salvage it.

Intrigued? Well read on because even if you don't consider yourself a "technical" project manager, you must at the very least, understand what this documentation needs to deliver.

What Should a Software Requirement Specification (SRS) Contain?

Any Software Requirement Specification usually needs to address five categories regarding the software. These are

1.0 Functionality of the System

The SRS details what the system is expected to do.

2.0 Interfaces

This will describe how the software will interact with people, hardware and other software. This is particularly important. More software fails because it's can't "communicate" with other systems.

3.0 Performance

The software requirements specification gives the details of performance level that the software should be able to deliver. This includes reliability, speed and response time etc.

4.0 Attributes

This includes areas such as security, portability, maintainability and accuracy.

5.0 Database Requirements and Design Limitations

This includes database structure, communication protocol, language for implementation, memory constrains and assumptions etc.

Sections of a Software Requirement Specification

1.0 Introduction

This section includes the purpose behind writing the software requirements specification, the conventions followed in the document, intended audience, contact information of the SRS team and references.

2.0 Overall Description

This section includes the product perspective, product functionalities, users’ description, operating environment of the software, design constrains and assumptions.

3.0 External Interface Requirements

It includes user interfaces, hardware interfaces, software interfaces, communication protocols and interfaces. It pays to spend a little extra time on this section and get the right project management stakeholders and techies talking to each other, rather than rushing your development lead through this section by making a load of assumptions.

4.0 System Features

This section contains the details of the features that the system will have, the priority list, actions, results expected and functional requirements.

5.0 Non Functional Requirements

The non-functional requirement section includes performance, safety, security. quality of the software, project documentation and user documentation.

Appendix

This section includes the glossary of terms used in the document.

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