Requirement analysis

July 26, 2010
  • business requirements; These requirements have their basis in strategic business goals for your product. Defining the business requirements for your product is primarily the responsibility of your organization’s business leaders and/or the product manager on your product team. Business requirements should answer these questions:
    • What is the product vision?
    • Are we solving the right problem?
    • What business goals must the product satisfy?
    • What is the product’s revenue model?
    • What is the timeline for the product’s release?
    • What are the time and budgetary constraints for the overall product development effort and, in particular, for your design effort?
  • market requirements; Your organization’s product strategy and business goals and your product’s place in the competitive marketplace dictate what capabilities, features, and qualities your product must have. Defining the market requirements for your product is primarily the responsibility of the product manager for your product. Market requirements should answer these questions:
    • What is the product’s essential functionality? What features must it include to compete in the marketplace?
    • What other possible features might the product include? What are their priorities?
    • What differentiates the product from other similar products in the marketplace?
    • For an existing product, what features have customers requested?
    • What information does your organization want to communicate to users?
    • What information does your organization want to obtain from users?
    • What technologies must the product employ? With what other products must it be compatible?
    • What standards of performance must the product achieve?
    • If the product is a software product, for what platforms is the product to be developed?
    • Is the product a standalone product or part of a product suite?
    • What user assistance or documentation does the product require?
    • What training and technical support will the product require?
    • For what international markets is the product to be developed?
  • user requirements; These requirements have their basis in your user research, data analysis, user modeling, and task analysis. If your primary responsibility is the interaction design for your product, you should work collaboratively with the product manager on your product team to define user requirements for your product, basing them on a deep understanding of your primary and secondary target users; goals, desires, needs, and tasks; and for an existing product, your awareness of the pain points users are experiencing with your product. Satisfying these requirements is essential to developing a product that can succeed in the marketplace. Ensure that your product manager always states user requirements in terms of capabilities, not design solutions. User requirements should answer these questions:
    • What capabilities and features must your product provide to satisfy your target users?
    • What must your target users be able to do using your product? What workflows and tasks must your product support for your target users to be able to accomplish their goals efficiently?
    • What needs, desires, and preferences must your product satisfy for your target users? What qualities must your product have?
    • What information needs do your target users have? When do they need information? How should your product provide the information they need, when they need it?
    • What data must your product enable your target users to provide or create and save?
    • What kinds of data objects should your product let your target users manipulate?
    • Are there different user roles your product must accommodate?
    • Do your target users require your product to be customizable and/or personalizable?
    • What standard of usability must your product achieve?
    • For an existing product, what pain points does your product redesign need to address?
  • technical constraints; Because your design solutions must satisfy technical constraints, they limit the possible design solutions for your product. The product manager and/or system architect on your product team are responsible for defining these technical constraints. Be sure to find out what technical constraints you must consider when designing your product. These technical constraints may cover the following:
    • database constraints
    • technology constraints and requirements
    • performance requirements
    • operational requirements
    • maintainability requirements
    • reliability requirements
    • safety requirements

From Pabini Gabriel-Petit: Design Is a Process, Not a Methodology

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