Writing Effective Requirements

Course:  WEREQ
Duration:  2 Days
Level:  I
Course Summary

Writing effective requirements is a critical skill for business analysts, subject matter experts and others who represent the business interests on an IT project. This workshop provides detailed instructions on the conversion of requirements into highly effective requirements specifications.

The challenge lies in defining business needs in the form of business requirements, stakeholder requirements, solution requirements, and transition requirements that other audiences will interpret and use to design the solution.

This workshop provides a proven set of core business analysis techniques, methods and tricks to help business professionals create, clarify, and confirm business, stakeholder, solution, and transition requirements – the kind of business requirements that IT professionals need to do their job well.

This is an intensive training session on how to write clear, crisp, technically accurate requirements documents. It is designed to teach the principles and techniques of readable requirements writing.

The Writing Effective Requirements workshop focuses on how to write the different levels of requirements effectively. The workshop focuses on industry standards and best practices for writing requirements needed for project scope definition, requirements and documenting the system specifications necessary for IT projects.

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Topics Covered In This Course

Introduction to Requirements Writing

  • Writing Effective Business Requirements
  • Clarifying Requirements
  • Initial Requirement Statements

Writing Effective Requirements

  • Creating Requirement Statements
  • Business System Requirements
  • Rules for a "Good" Requirement Sentence
  • Reducing Complexity Increases Comprehension
  • A Complete Sentence Forces a Complete Thought
  • Structured Requirement Statements
  • Rules for a "Good" Requirement Sentence
  • Think "What", Not "How"
  • Rules Review

Writing Understandable Requirements

  • Removing Requirements Ambiguity
  • Rules for an "Understandable" Requirement Sentence
  • The five Cs of writing: correct, clear, concise, comprehensive, and cohesive
  • Relevance Increases Comprehension
  • Ambiguity Ruins Requirements
  • Increasing Understandability
  • Rules for a "Good" Requirement Sentence
  • Peer Reviews Clarify Requirements
  • Clarifying Mutual Understanding
  • Revise, Define and Clarify Your Requirements
  • Verifying Understandability
  • Rules Review
  • Clarifying Requirements

Writing Measurable Requirements

  • Writing Measurable Requirement Statements
  • Rules for a "Testable" Requirement Sentence
  • To Test or Not to Test is NOT the Question
  • Requirements Testability
  • Effective Requirements are Verifiable or Testable
  • Confirming Performance Requirements
  • Understanding Performance Requirements
  • Clarifying Quantitative Performance Requirements
  • Quantifying Qualitative Requirements
  • Testing Performance Components

Requirements Verification and Validation

  • Achieving well-formed requirements through validation
  • Reviewing requirements with walkthroughs
  • Verifying requirements with inspections

Fundamentals of Grammar

  • Key grammatical rules for technical writers
  • Proper use of punctuation marks
  • Guidelines for proper use of abbreviations
  • Guidelines for capitalization
  • Basic spelling rules
  • How to Write Numbers, Units, Equations, and Symbols

Principles of Technical Composition

  • Use of active vs. passive voice
  • Use of simple vs. complex language
  • How to write more concisely
  • Use of specific and concrete terms vs. vague, general language
  • Making writing more powerful with visual description
  • Add eye appeal:
  • Rules for handling tenses
  • Making writing more readable by keeping sections, paragraphs, and sentences short
  • How to keep ideas parallel
  • Informal vs. formal, professional vs. conversational— which style is best?

Use of Words and Phrases

  • How to tell the difference between correct technical terminology vs. unnecessary jargon
  • Why you should substitute small words for big words
  • How to eliminate wordy phrases and redundancy from your writing
  • Why you should avoid cliches, corporatese, and overblown phrases
  • Rules for using nouns as adjectives
  • Misused and troublesome words and phrases
  • How to avoid sexist language
  • How to achieve a contemporary style

Principles of Organization

  • How to organize your material to suit the reader's needs
  • Ways to organize a technical document for easy reading
  • Use and misuse of executive summaries, leads, and warm-up paragraphs
  • How to separate fact from opinion in your writing
  • Use of headings and subheads to organize technical documents

Principles of Communication and Persuasion

  • Do technical documents merely inform—or do they also persuade?
  • How to gain your reader's attention in the first paragraph
  • Use of facts, opinions, and statistics to prove your case
  • How to determine when you are giving too much detail
  • How to get the reader on your side
  • How to get the reader to take the next step

Special Concerns of the Technical Writer

  • How to quickly gain specialized background knowledge in technical fields
  • The collaboration between the writer and the client/technical expert—who does what?
  • What to do if the subject matter is too technical for you to understand
  • What to do if technical experts you must work with or interview are uncooperative, arrogant, or poor communicators
  • Tips for making a boring topic more exciting
  • How to write for a specific audience
What You Can Expect

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Define best practices and standards for writing requirements and solutions documents
  • Understanding the different levels of requirements
  • Document functional and non-functional (quality) requirements
  • Understand the requirements management process
  • Define characteristics and guidelines for writing effective requirements
  • Understand communication techniques for gathering requirements
  • Learn writing skills for writing successful scoping and requirements documents
  • Participate in practical exercises in writing problem statements, business objectives, high-level requirements, non-functional requirements, screen and reporting specifications
  • Focus on your purpose and the reader's needs (understand your audience)
  • Apply the five Cs of writing: correct, clear, concise, comprehensive, and cohesive to writing requirements
  • Organize to highlight main messages
  • Make ideas flow smoothly
  • Weed out wasted words
  • Energize your verbs
  • Catch the right tone
  • Add eye appeal
  • Sharpen editing skills
  • Learn to consider the needs and abilities of the audience
  • Learn how to incorporate clarity and utility
  • Learn stylistic methods for effective writing
Who Should Take This Course

This course is intended for anyone who desires to develop their technical requirements writing ability to a professional level.

Those who will find this of value include Business Managers, Business Analysts, Business Requirements Leads, Project Managers, Solutions Leads, Technical Leads, Quality Assurance, Business Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), Architects, Designers and Developers.

Recommended Prerequisites

There are no specific prerequisites for this workshop.

Training Style

Instructor-led, group-paced, classroom-delivery learning model with structured hands-on activities.

If possible, the instructor would like to receive specific templates used within the organization in advance of the seminar date. The instructor would demonstrate their function during the workshop.

The seminar can be tailored to your specific needs. Actual organization examples may be used throughout the presentation as examples or the instructor will use generic examples.

In addition, we further customize by going through the course agenda with you and have you tell us which items you want stressed and emphasized. There is no extra charge for this customization.

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Every student attending a Verhoef Training class will receive a certificate good for $100 toward their next public class taken within a year.

You can also buy "Verhoef Vouchers" to get a discounted rate for a single student in any of our public or web-based classes. Contact your account manager or our sales office for details.

Schedule For This Course
There are currently no public sessions scheduled for this course. We can schedule a private class for your organization just a couple of weeks from now. Or we can let you know the next time we do schedule a public session.
Notify me the next time this course is confirmed!
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