Specifying User Requirements for Software

Before deciding on the purchase of new software, it is essential to specify the business and technical requirements that are to be met. This is usually accomplished by means of a User Requirements Specification (URS).

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  • A failure to specify requirements precisely can result in an inappropriate choice of a system that is unable to meet business needs and expectations.

  • Once the Business Case which justifies the expenditure is approved, a URS should be produced with input from both business and IT departments.
  • Circulate the URS to users and invite their feedback before it is formally signed off.
  • From the signed off URS draw up a Request For Proposal. Where the information in the URS is not confidential, attach it. This document is used to invite quotes from vendors.

    N.B. the URS later plays another important role. Once the new software has been purchased, it is tested against the URS to confirm it meets the original requirements. See User Acceptance Testing and Testing Software before Transferring to a Live Environment.
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