Requirement Capture

Whatever pursuit you undertake, the requirements should start with a love of what it is that you are pursuing.”
Bill Toomey

Every OSS project starts with a set of requirements. The traditional approach was to form a set of functional (and non-functional) requirements that the solution needed to fulfill. These can sometimes be very detailed and risk over-specifying the outcome. An alternate approach is to capture the required benefits. This approach tends to be less prescriptive and allows more flexibilty by implementation teams. An approach gaining increasing popularity is the user-story approach, which describes the required outcomes from the perspective of a single user (or user persona).

1.1 OSS Requirement Capture by Benefits/Features

The following template is used to assist you to capture the requirements of your OctopOSS and prioritise the most important functions / benefits.

It is also designed to be used during the first step of the vendor selection process, assisting to create a short-list of potential products / vendors that most suit your needs.

OSS Requirement Capture Template (sample only)

As you’ll notice, there are 16 sections of requirements, but only the first part of the first section (NMS Hardware and Software) is shown in the attachment.

If required, this requirement capture template can be modified to align with TMF’s The Application Framework (TAM).

1.2 OSS Requirement Capture by Agile User Stories
User Stories is a technique that I’ve only recently discovered. I’ve found it to be very helpful to quickly capture the intended outcomes of a couple of recent OSS tools I’ve been working on.

This Sample User Story Template has been cropped so as to not give too much away about this new product, but it does give an indication of how the template functions.

The columns are described in more detail as follows:

  • Story Number – a unique number to differentiate between stories
  • Role – who needs this scenario
  • Action – what the scenario is
  • Benefit – why the scenario is important
  • User Story – is a compilation of “As a <role> I want to <action> so that <benefit>” The template has an auto-formula that calculates this sentence from the data in columns B, C and D
  • Priority – allows developers to quickly identify which story to develop next
  • Estimate (hrs) – estimates the number of hours required to develop each story
  • Confirmations (tests) – itemises high-level test cases for the test team to build their test cases around
  • Module – this is only used if your solution consists of multiple separate modules and allows quick identification of which stories align with which modules

1.3 OSS Requirement Capture by Benefits

!! Template coming soon !!

If you’d like the full version of any of these templates (or assistance in customising your own templates), please contact us here.
If you find any of these templates helpful, I’d love to hear about your story, your project and any other enhancements that you’ve made to the template.

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