Requirement specifications are the main project document, describing all its technical and non-technical issues. Any of your ideas are just ideas until specifications developed. In this article, we will explain why this document is so important when it’s correct to begin development and what exactly it should contain.
WHY YOU NEED THE SOW
If you don’t describe the expected result, don’t formulate a clear task and project requirements, you will:
- overpay for work and edits;
- waste time;
- get not at all what you want and again overpay for edits;
- close the project due to the fact that there are no more resources for corrections.
And in order to prevent this, it is important to write requirement specifications. In order for the team to understand specific tasks and be able to implement them so that the expectation and the final product result coincide.
THE SPECIFICATIONS` ROLE IN DIFFERENT PROJECT STAGES
- Formation of business requirements
This is the foundation for project implementation. At this stage goals and budgets are set. Here the SOW development process begins because it determines the future product success. All further work on specifications should be based on business requirements.
- MVP development
It’s almost impossible to build the perfect product on the first try. In any case, it will change based on the feedback of the market and users. Therefore, it is logical to start with MVP – the minimum viable product. For the development of MVP, the SOW is as important as for the development of the main product. At this stage, the specifications task defines:
- basic functions and user interface needed to test a hypothesis;
- criteria necessary for understanding the success of the implementation and launch of the first product version on the market.
So, specifications at the MVP development stage describe which functions are needed and how it is necessary (minimal and sufficient) to implement in order to test the hypothesis.
- Main product development
After the successful launch of MVP, requirements for the main product are finalized based on the results: a positive market reaction, as confirmation that the business model is working. That is necessary to take into account and describe in the SOW, we have written in detail in the 3rd section of this document. At this stage, requirements play a crucial role:
- take into account market features (business opportunities, necessary budgets, target audience);
- define the project objectives;
- demonstrate use cases;
- captures functional, non-functional, and technical requirements so that the product is properly designed.
At this stage, specifications are a complete guide to action, completely describing all important points, starting from a business analysis of the market and target audience, ending with colors, fonts, and other details.
- Marketing promotion
In the good SOW, there is a place for market research, competitors, communication channels with potential users, and resources for promotion. Marketing promotion is the logical and necessary project support at the start and after it. If you don’t initially plan marketing activity, you probably won’t take into account the resources (in particular, the money) needed for a confident release. You run the risk of being left completely without promotion since the main resources will go to development. So, without the described marketing, you can confront a lot of problems:
- lack of promotion resources;
- lack of understanding of the market and its users;
- failure to provide your product benefits to the audience;
- and as a result – market failure.
At this stage, specifications are the answer to the question “what to do after the release?”
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ACCOUNT AND DESCRIBE IN THE SOW
- Describe a problem
- Why does the market need a product?
- Whose and what problem does it solve?
- What tasks should the product solve?
- Determine personal goals
- Why do I need this in the long term?
- Why do I need this in the short term?
- Describe a business model
- Who is our target audience?
- What is a client portrait?
- Where to find a target audience, through which sales channels?
- What are the communication channels with the client?
- Who are the key competitors? What are their advantages and USP?
- What are our value propositions?
- What is our USP?
- What are the product advantages?
- What key actions do we need to perform?
- What key resources do we need?
- Who are our key partners?
- What are the risks?
- Form a financial model
- What will be the main costs?
- What will be the main sources of income?
- Calculate the breakeven point (optimistic, real, and pessimistic forecast).
- Describe use cases
- Describe users by groups. For example, administrator, manager, financier, operator, driver, etc.
- What is the use case for each group?
- What are the features and limitations of each of these roles?
- Describe Functional / Technical requirements
- What key target action should the user make?
- What features need to be implemented?
- Do you need integration with third-party services?
- How many and what languages are needed?
- What operating systems, browsers and their versions need to be supported?
- What are the technology preferences for development?
- Are there any additional requirements for safety or personal data security?
- What legislative framework should be taken into account? For example, RGPR.
- Describe Non-Functional requirements
- How should the product look like?
- What screens are needed in the product, what is displayed on each of them?
- How does each screen change in different states (there is the Internet, there is data to display, there is no data to display, an error has occurred on the server, etc.)?
The ideal picture is described above, which is not always needed and feasible. Depending on your goals, project size, and product complexity, some points may be skipped. The main thing is to answer all the questions that are important for the project and document it at the SOW. Then, you will be sure that you are moving in the right direction at all stages of development.
If you don’t have specifications or you are not sure about the current ones, we can develop it for you, just contact us using the button below. We also recommend our article about application types and when and why a business may need a mobile application.