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Software Requirements Template

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Download this free template for a simple yet effective way to document your key software requirements.

It has been developed and proven in our software selection experience, and is highly regarded by vendors for its ability to help buyers engage more effectively with them in the demonstration and evaluation process.

Completing this template offers benefits for both you and vendors. Firstly, it helps you ensure all members of your selection team are ‘on the same page’ about the requirements for the new system, and makes it less like that you’ll overlook an important issue. And vendors like dealing with buyers who know what they want - it saves them pre-sales time in clarifying your needs, and allows them to quickly focus in on your key requirements for demonstration purposes.

This download includes a two page template, plus detailed instructions (& examples) on what to include in each field of the template.

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Software Requirements Template

  1. 1. How to Use the Requirements SummaryThe following template is designed to help you define your key software requirements in a way thatmakes it easy for vendors and service providers to respond effectively to your enquiry. It is notintended as a formal Request for Information (RFI) process – we developed it in our consulting workas a simple and pragmatic way to summarize your needs and engage with relevant vendors.To fill in this template, we suggest that you assemble a small team of people from different parts ofthe organization who will be affected by the new system, and discuss each of the sections in thisrequirements summary. Revise the draft until you are satisfied that it represents a shared view ofyour organization’s software requirements. You may also find it helpful to refer to theRequirements Gathering Template from Software Shortlist, which poses a series of questions to helporganizations explore & clarify their needs before summarizing them in this Requirements Summarytemplate.Note: Permission is granted for you to edit and apply this template in helping your own organizationselect software, but any commercial use or distribution to a broader audience requires the expressapproval of Software Shortlist. Contact us at info@softwareshortlist.com if you’d like to discuss this.BUSINESS NEEDDescribe what it is that the business needs to achieve that has triggered your software search. Focuson the business benefits to deliver or challenges/problems to solve. For example: • “We need to better coordinate our sales efforts and get a single integrated view of our prospects. This should reduce rework and overlapping efforts across our team of 8 sales people, improve our customer conversion rate, and reduce the average time to sale “ENVISAGED SOLUTIONDescribe the software solution and how it would work. Is there a well-known category it fits into?(e.g. accounting, LMS, ERP, CRM, timesheet, invoicing). If not, explain it as best you can. For example: • “A CRM system with a focus on managing the sales pipeline”‘MUST HAVE’ REQUIREMENTSList here any features or capabilities that are essential (not just ‘nice to have’). In other words, if asystem doesn’t have these ‘must have’ capabilities, it will not be considered as a valid option. Try tokeep this to a list of no more than 5 to 8 requirements. For example: • “Web access for users in different offices/geographies” • “Audit log of changes made” • “Integrate with a particular accounting system” • “Ability to export reports as CSV files”Software Requirements Summary Template© 2011 Software Shortlist Pty Ltd (www.softwareshortlist.com)
  2. 2. TOP 3 PRIORITIESConsider the various characteristics of software in the list below, and identify the three that aremost important to you. These are not really “features” like the must-have requirements above, butinstead are less tangible ‘benefits’ or ‘characteristics’ that are nonetheless critical to project success. Identify the 3 characteristics that are most important, and explain why and/or what you mean: • Easy to Use • Can Grow with Your Business • Low Cost • Large, Well Known Vendor • Powerful Reporting • Good Feedback from Others • Well Supported • Knows Your Industry Well • Flexible to Customise • Integrates With Other SoftwareOTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDERThis is your place to list other things that matter significantly but didn’t get a good mention in thesections above. Provide additional context and information where relevant, but try to keep itsuccinct and focused. For example: • Explain any factors impacting on the timeline of the software project • Outline the decision process at a high level so that vendors know what to expect • Do you have other software needs that might be related or solved at the same time? • Detail any relevant constraints (budgetary, resourcing, timing, etc) • Describe current workaround and/or options under considerationSCENARIOS TO TESTExplain the scenarios that you will be most interested during a demonstration, whether on your ownif they offer a demo account, or as part of the pre-sales process with vendors. These should addressmajor ‘use cases’ – i.e. the critical processes that users of the system will have to perform, and forwhich a demonstration will provide useful insights into the functionality & usability of the system. For example: • Add a new client manually, register a new opportunity, note that a phone call was made and add notes about it, set a reminder to follow up in 2 months. • Import existing data from CSV format, run a report to identify ones with incomplete data, use bulk-edit capability to fix common problems.KEY INTERACTIONSExplain how the various user groups and elements of the system will interact, including anyintegration with external data or systems. Often a diagram is very helpful here. For example, show how data is entered by sales staff via a webform or mobile phone app, and flows into a database from where the marketing manager runs a standard set of reports and the finance manager can perform ad-hoc reporting for financial projection purposes. The client database is then exported to CSV and used for a monthly client e-newsletter.Software Requirements Summary Template© 2011 Software Shortlist Pty Ltd (www.softwareshortlist.com)
  3. 3. SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS SUMMARY Organization: Department: Key Contact: Last Updated: Business Need Envisaged Solution “Must Have” Requirements Budget Timing • • Hosted vs Installed? • Number of Users Top 3 Priorities 1. 2. 3. Other Factors to Consider •Software Requirements Summary Template© 2011 Software Shortlist Pty Ltd (www.softwareshortlist.com)
  4. 4. Scenarios to Test During the Software Review Key InteractionsSoftware Requirements Summary Template© 2011 Software Shortlist Pty Ltd (www.softwareshortlist.com)

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