Since software development is the most expensive and holds high risks the best way to assure the lowest chances for failure is to have a detailed strategy. One of the biggest reasons projects fail is poor planning.
When it comes to the planning process in software development, creating a list of requirements is an important part of it. However, not all requirements are created equal, and it’s essential to have a framework in place to help ensure that the requirements you create are clear, concise, and actionable. One popular framework for requirement creation is INVEST.
INVEST is an acronym that stands for
These are six key qualities that your requirements should possess in order to ensure that they are effective and efficient in driving the development process forward.
History of INVEST
In 2003, Bill Wake introduced the INVEST checklist to quickly evaluate user stories, using the SMART acronym to guide task decomposition. The checklist became widely recognized in 2004 with Mike Cohn’s “User Stories Applied” book, which highlights INVEST as a technique to improve user stories. INVEST ensures user stories meet specific criteria that make them valuable and effective for development teams. Today, INVEST is a popular tool for evaluating user stories in software development, helping teams define actionable goals aligned with project objectives.
The method explained
Well, you may know the basics and the words behind the acronym, but it does not explain the whole concept clearly. Therefore if you still have little recognition of this topic I am here to explain it more clearly:
The first quality of INVEST is Independence. Independent requirements are those that are self-contained and can be worked on without depending on any other requirements. This is important because it helps to prevent bottlenecks in the development process and ensures that each requirement can be worked on in parallel with others.
The second quality of INVEST is Negotiability. Negotiable requirements are those that can be adjusted or refined based on feedback and changing needs. This is important because it allows for flexibility and adaptation in the face of new information or unexpected challenges.
The third quality of INVEST is Value. Valuable requirements are those that contribute to the overall success of the project. This is important because it helps to ensure that the development team is working on features that are important to the project’s stakeholders and will ultimately lead to a successful outcome.
The fourth quality of INVEST is Estimability. Estimable requirements are those that can be accurately estimated in terms of time, effort, and cost. This is important because it allows the development team to plan and budget effectively, and ensures that the project stays on track.
The fifth quality of INVEST is Small. Small requirements are those that are focused and achievable within a short period of time. This is important because it helps to prevent scope creep and ensures that the development team can make steady progress towards the project’s goals.
The final quality of INVEST is Testability. Testable requirements are those that can be easily tested to ensure that they are functioning as expected. This is important because it helps to ensure that the software is reliable and free of bugs, and that the development team can catch and correct issues early on in the process.
Additional tips for INVEST framework
By following the INVEST framework, you can create a list of requirements that are clear, concise, and actionable. This will help to ensure that the development process runs smoothly and that the final product meets the needs of its stakeholders. So the next time you’re creating a list of requirements, remember to keep INVEST in mind, and you’ll be on your way to creating a successful software project.
In addition to the INVEST framework, there are two other important principles to keep in mind when creating requirements: Just Enough and Just In Time.
- Just Enough
The Just Enough principle states that requirements should be detailed enough to provide value to the development team, but not so detailed that they become cumbersome or difficult to manage. This is important because overly-detailed requirements can lead to unnecessary work and delay the development process.
To apply the Just Enough principle, you should aim to create requirements that are concise and focused on the essentials. Avoid adding unnecessary details or specifications, and instead focus on the key features and functionalities that are necessary for the project’s success.
- Just In Time
The Just In Time principle states that requirements should be created at the last possible moment in order to minimize waste and ensure that the most up-to-date information is used. This is important because creating requirements too early can lead to the creation of features that are no longer necessary or relevant.
To apply the Just In Time principle, you should create requirements only when they are needed, and not before. This means waiting until you have a clear understanding of the project’s goals and requirements, as well as the input and feedback of stakeholders and team members. By waiting until the last possible moment to create requirements, you can ensure that they are based on the most current and relevant information and that the development team is working on features that are necessary and valuable.
A winning ticket for the best software development is planning! Especially setting right and detailed requirements. The INVEST framework, along with the Just Enough and Just In Time principles, are important tools to help you create effective and efficient requirements for software development projects. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your requirements are clear, concise, and actionable. Because of that the development process runs smoothly and efficiently.
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