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    Phase 4: Architecture and Requirements Gathering

    Paragon Innovations’ Series:

    12-Stage Product Development Process

    From Start to Success


    Paragon Innovation’s third module focused on essential tips around raising funds for your product development process. The series’ fourth stage revolves around developing an effective, organized requirements document. Founder and Vice President of Paragon Innovations, Mike Wilkinson, defines a requirements document as a file that “describes your product idea in detail with a very specific list of requirements.” Requirement documents are an integral portion of the product development process as they help developers clearly communicate with internal and external engineering teams of exact specifications of their product.

    The specifications within a requirements document must be concise, consistent, and accurate. “Additionally, there is a difference between marketing requirements and system requirements,” says Mike. “Marketing requirements are things that need to be included to reach the market. A system requirement is a requirement for making sure [a] unit operates properly.” It is critical that developers avoid ambiguities in marketing and system specifications within a requirements document. Mike advises including buzz words in a requirements document like “should, must, maybe, [and] shall not” to further outline the perimeters of a product.

    A requirements document should:

    • Provide accurate estimates in relation to the costs, design, and functionality of a product.
    • Include the source of the requirement like customers or engineering teams.
    • Allow for feasibility in that requirements may be implemented within the constraints and perimeters of a project.
    • List all necessary requirements that customers, engineers, or external influences will actually need.
    • Include a spectrum of prioritization. Statements within a requirements document should be categorized as high, medium, or low-level priorities.
    • Refrain from using technical, marketing, or industry jargon. Language within a requirements document must be simple and straightforward.
    • Include verifiable facts through test results and sources of information.
    • Be consistent in their message.
    • Allow for modification with revisable requirement specifications.

    Just as there are recommended words to include within a requirements document, there are also words that developers should stay clear of. Words that should not be used within a requirements document are:

    • All
    • Never
    • Common
    • Industry-standard

    In addition, it’s advised that developers refrain from providing prior knowledge of suppliers or any information that would imply impertinence within supplier relations. The requirements document of a project development process should focus on the project without supplier complexities. If you have found this phase of Paragon Innovations’ 12-Stage Product Development Process useful for your product development strategy, stay tuned for the next step where we examine the detailed design phase.