What is SRS?

SRS is formally a document that some consider an instruction for tech specialists. Indeed, technical requirements comprise a part of it. The use of this document for other participants in the product development process often gets overlooked.

The SRS document describes the product’s purpose, functionality, interface, and performance criteria. Hence, the document should not escape the attention of any team member working on it, be it a marketing specialist or developer. It serves as a guide for aligning the efforts on creating a piece that fully corresponds to the client’s expectations. Yet, its function is not only in reflecting the desired outcome but also in streamlining the development process.

The form of presentation varies. It’s up to the team to decide whether to include graphs, schemes, and spreadsheets materials. The aspects worth discussing are structure and quality of content.

Who compiles SRS?

The document has multiple contributors. Every section requires specific expertise. However, the final editor is usually a BA, project manager, or product manager. It is a person who polishes all the information, gives it structure, provides clarifications, and handles miscommunication if it appears. Note that the document comes into effect after the approval of all stakeholders.

Who compiles SRS

What does a good Software Requirement Specification document include?

Keeping a structure in mind will help the author to stay on track. Creativity is great, but a fine SRS document example should follow standard guidelines. The idea behind the structure is to ensure that vital elements of the process are recorded and traced. Every section of the document later turns into an assignment for a specialist or group. They give directions and instructions on how to perform and what to focus on. An ideal SRS appears after rigorous interviewing, analyzing, and aligning demands, needs, and requirements of the client and the executors. It is a result of fruitful communication delivered in a written form.

The chances of getting multiple identical structure projects are low. Yet, having a template with the mandatory sections is a good idea. It helps a project manager or whoever compiles the document find a starting point when preparing project documentation and interviews.

Software requirement specification example

Software requirement specification example

Steps to writing an SRS documentation

Starting a new project is exciting and challenging at the same time. Anticipation of new ideas, innovations, and game-changing breakthroughs is often shadowed by paperwork, responsibility, and operations. Yet, the software development process doesn’t have to be burdening. It happens with ease when the team has an established process that has been tested before.

Writing SRS documentation is a part of the project discovery phase. It follows a series of workshops led by the team who interviews the client and gathers valid information. During that time, the following topics are discussed:

  • What should this software do?
  • Who is its target user?
  • What is the value of the software for the target user?

The following deliverables of the discovery phase become components of the final draft of the SRS document.

    • UX/UI Wireframes
    • Proposed tech stack
    • Project roadmap
    • Software architecture design

SRS documentation is a tool that guides, answers questions, and constructs vision. Investing time in its design lays the groundwork for success. Understanding the value of the SRS document, the Euristiq team provides a detailed analysis of the client’s requirements and presents a feasible, valid plan for any kind of project.

Components of SRS document: what are the most valuable parts?

SRS document appears after a series of workshops. They aim at listening to the client’s vision and translating it into the task for the software development team. A series of conversations about the product help to see what the client can do with the software, what can be improved, or added, and what limitations might come up.

The business value of such a document for the client is immense. It is not only a technical document but expectations put down on paper. All the details written in SRS are going to be implemented. Hence, the client does not have to sit in anticipation or waste hours on clarifications. Investing time and resources into the stage of discovery pays off in a long-term perspective. So, what are the key components that make SRS an indispensable tool?

Software architecture design

Architecture diagram as part of SRS

Architecture is often explained as a system of components and relations between them. Its importance extends to other aspects. It is one of the points of SRS that describes the capabilities of the product and shows the possibility to add new ones. Architecture defines the speed of work and productivity. If perceived wrong by developers and the client, the result of the software development process might be frustrating.

Architecture is sometimes understood as a general idea of the product. It happens that it is defined by a vague phrase that is later interpreted differently by all the stakeholders. If such instances appear, the expected results will not fulfill the needs of everyone. Hence, we recommend formulating this part after careful communication and assurance that all stakeholders see the same picture that the words describe. Moreover, if visualization is possible, it is high time to add it.

Functional requirements and non-functional requirements

The technical part of the SRS document contains functional requirements. It is a detailed description of how software works, interacts, and what makes it possible. This part is useful for the client to see how the target user can interact with the software, and what benefits and flaws are there. The good news is that such information comes at the stage of discovery and allows changes without additional expenses.

Tips on how to write Software Specification

Consider this document a knowledge base to which all involved parties refer for answers. It is a unified, approved, and reliable source of information. With the project progressing, it will serve as a way to communicate and avoid misunderstandings between the developers, managers, designers, etc. It leads to the conclusion that consistency, coherence, and unambiguity are must-have requirements. Here is a checklist for making sure your work is not going to spread chaos but bring order:

  1. Use short and clear sentences. A 60-word sentence loses its sense somewhere in the middle. Keep it short and stick to 25-30 words per sentence.
  2. Avoid dubious meanings. The problem of ambiguity stems from a lack of information and understanding. The solution lies in effective communication with the team, especially when it comes to technicalities.
  3. Use simple language to make the document easy to read. Figures of speech and idioms are designed for implications. The purpose of a technical document is to deliver the information explicitly leaving no place for imagination and interpretation.
  4. Visualize as much as possible. Schemes, graphs, and tables allow for forming a tangible vision of the product. SRS in engineering requires diagrams of requirements, systems, activities, and workflow. A well-structured visual aid enables the identification of gaps and quicker solutions.
  5. Balance the details. It is irrelevant to set limits on the number of pages in the document. The quality of content should not suffer from extremes. Seek to find the golden mean. One of the indicators that call for more details is ambiguity. If a description provokes questions, it might need some rephrasing or detailing.
  6. Identify priorities. Depending on the complexity of the project, the list of requirements can be quite extensive. Presenting them in a solid piece without prioritizing makes it difficult to synchronize the work of all the parties involved.

Optimizing processes, maximizing savings: an SRS document case study with a 50% budget reduction client

Our client is an insurance company from the UK. They came up with the idea to create a brand new insurance product for the transportation and logistics industry. Based on vast experience in the domain, the client decided to optimize the insurance costs by monitoring the driver’s behavior.

Idea

The Euristiq team was tasked with the development of a platform that collects videos in real-time, creates driver’s records, and provides reports. The challenges were posed by the hardware which the client selected. It was supposed to perform all the functions requested by the client, and be secure and cost-effective.

Discovery

Jumping straight into the development of this solution meant uncertainty in terms of budget. With that in mind, we offered to start with a discovery phase. After a set of workshops with the client, we were able to conduct profound research on the hardware which led to an accurate cost estimate:

The client operates thousands of cameras and the price per unit matters. Their replacement and maintenance should fit into the designated budget. If not tested before the release, the client would face the costs in process of usage.
The platform can serve not only as a source of analytics but as an educational tool for drivers to improve their work performance.

Results

With the deliverables from the discovery, in particular, SRS we planned each stage of development and release. The SRS document consisted of hundred pages that gave a clear understanding of how it works and how much it costs, so the client was confident that all the budget limitations were considered. Meanwhile, the functionality of the platform did not suffer. All in all, in 1,5 months of the discovery we saved 50% of the costs for development by setting the priorities right.

Conclusion

The importance of the SRS document is proven by years of practice. It serves as a tool for controlling the price of the project, managing deadlines, and providing the expected results. Using documentation as a basis for software development does not prevent flexibility or change. There is no standard as to how to comply with the document, what to include in it or how to modify it. SRS document represents the synergy of the client and developer’s vision. It allows a correct estimation of product capabilities. Although it seems to be a time-consuming activity, in practice, it is the time-saving one.

With the support of a qualified, experienced team, the project documentation does not put much pressure on the client. With Euristiq, you get an exciting trip into the future of your product, and all the routine tasks are performed by qualified specialists with the needed expertise. Get the solution of your dream with a predictable price, process, and result.

  • Author Ivan Muts
  • Published May 15, 2023
  • Category Software development
Investment portfolio management platform for managing more than £10.6 billion funds
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