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Requirements & app dev - keep in synch?

By ccollins ·
Need best practices/advice from the field:

I'm currently working on a project team that does a poor job in keeping both the user and functional requirements and the software design document updated relative to system development changes. (aka change control)

I know, I know - this is a tough way to do a project. We're on a compressed schedule and have a baselined version of both the user and functional reqs, which drove the development of the first release. We are currently developing the second release, which would obviously necessitate updates to both of the requirements sets and the software design.

What's a good, non-electronic way to ensure real-time synchronization of these documents as system development continues? (already considered DOORS; too tough to use in this environment)

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Change Control or Status Control

The need for change control is an industry assumption that presumes that missing business requirements or scope creep are inevitable. For best practices, I suggest you look at for future project applicability that in fact synchronizes business/system requirements because they both result from the same process, are always companion documents used in development discussions, and are Word based (you don't need a fancy CASE tool).

Using such a process will lead to focussed conversations around 'status control' where changes result from technology decisions, and always discussed in terms of business context.

As for your current project, your requirements are probably incomplete to start with and will remain so for the duration of your project. This will make it tougher to keep things in synch. The sense of urgency to deliver will also cause you to continue to miss important updates (especially if you have a lot of project documents floating around).

Before work on your next release begins, I suggest you invest some time to a) synch the existing project deliverables to the original user requirement, and then b) perform a complete analysis on the next release before coding begins, using the best practice mentioned earlier.

You'll save a lot of time, money, and grief down the road.

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