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A Little Planning Goes a Long Way: Identifying Requirements During Product Development

Great ideas are executed through great planning. And when developing a product, great planning begins with a proficient requirements gathering strategy.

User Research

The best place to start is the target market for the product – the end user. Identify individuals who are the most likely candidates to use the product in its intended environment. Conduct one-on-one interviews, when possible, in order to determine preferences and requirements of the end user. What are they looking for in new technology in their field? What would they like addressed? Focus groups provide another method to gather feedback from a particular set of users. Surveys can also be beneficial when trying to quickly gather consensus among users, especially users who are spread across a large geographic area.

Product Comparison

Find comparable products that are currently on the market, and determine what your product will do better than those products. Don’t forget to examine and explain how those improvements will be executed―that step digs a little deeper into the requirements analysis process. Begin to prioritize features and consider what elements are most important for the current product release and what may be appropriate for future versions.

Ancillary products

Consider software or hardware that must work in conjunction with your product. How will the ancillary product(s) interact with yours? How many interfaces must be considered? Typically, subject matter experts are an essential part of this exploration. As the project progresses, it’s like any hardware-software interface will require its own specification document, and potentially a documented communication protocol, so it’s a good idea to begin looking at these areas as early as possible.

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