How to write non-functional requirements from bits and pieces


Lately I’ve been assigned to write the non-functional requirements for my project. This is a subject that’s not extensively discussed in any project. It’s just something that has to be there; it’s low-profile, but becomes high-profile when the application does not perform to the ‘expected standards’.

WebWizzard_Cyber Girl

If you don’t know where to start with such a task, you have a few resources that you can use as inspiration. One is another project’s non-functional requirements, another one is Google, and third is your BA and IT teams. You don’t have to use them in this order, whatever suits you, really.

If you google “non-functional requirements” you’ll see how many search results you get that you can actually use. Very few – from everything I got, I’ve used a BA blog authored by Marcus Ting-A-Kee.

Team feedback is very important. Without really reading the functional requirements and discussing them with your colleagues and the IT you can’t make it.

In a nutshell, here are the steps to guide you through the process:

1. Read the blog of Marcus, all the info under “Non-functional index” most popular posts.

2. Create a spreadsheet that you can use as a template and easily fill out as you write your requirements. Thanks to Marcus for providing the content through this blog.

3. Read the functional requirements for your project and start filling out the template with the business functions you must address in the non-functionals.

3. Once you’ve filled out the template with all the required functions book a meeting with other BAs in your team and with IT to review the requirements and discuss how they apply. Depending on how complex is your project, you will probably need 2 or 3 meetings to cover this template.

5. Once you’ve finished the Business and IT reviews and came up with all the information needed to derive requirements, translate the template in a Word document and distribute it for final feedback before sign off.

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Photo credits: WebWizzard on Flickr.com – thanks!

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2 responses to “How to write non-functional requirements from bits and pieces

  1. Hi Georgia, Did you know there are standards that define a list with possible Non-functional requirements? For example take a look at http://www.serc.nl/quint-book/

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