Requirements management

Requirements management is the practice of, and methodology for:

  • documenting, analyzing, tracing, prioritizing and negotiating requirements and objectives,
  • managing change, and
  • communicating actionable information and context to relevant stakeholders.

Requirements management is a continuous activity, run iteratively and routinely to maintain compliance and performance.

The requirements being managed may be:

  • Requirements imposed on a product or system — that is, a set of design and fabrication requirements that guide product development and manufacturing, and allow verification and acceptance by customers
  • Requirements related to service delivery, typically defined in contracts and service level agreements, and implemented through service controls and audits
  • Requirements related to quality or compliance, typically defined in contracts and regulations, and implemented using an organizational management system.

Requirements are often managed using a dedicated IT-based requirements management system (RMS) — a database, or a full-scope requirements management tool that integrates a database with a specialized browser and/or management interface.

The use of an RMS to support and implement requirements within an organizational management system typically addresses:

  • external requirements (for example, external regulatory or other non-negotiable requirements)
  • internal requirements (for example, mission objectives, business directives, and corporate policies)
  • derived requirements — that is, requirements arising from organizational decisions about how to satisfy other requirements
  • constraints (for example, existing system constraints, or even constraining physical phenomena), which are refactored as requirements (that is, as mandatory requirements to accommodate the constraints)
  • enablers (for example, existing system capabilities, or even enabling physical phenomena), which are refactored as requirements (that is, as requirements to apply enablers)
  • flags or designators used to identify or declare requests, objectives, enablers and constraints.

A key goal of requirements management is traceability — the ability to demonstrate how requirements will be or have been met, and to identify why specific elements of system design exist. This traceability supports compliance planning, auditing, change management, configuration management, and design authority.

Requirements management is a crucial element of any organizational management system used to assure or maintain quality or compliance. It has particular importance in complex engineering and technology projects, and in high-risk, high-consequence environments.

NOCTURNE can help your organization decide whether and how to implement requirements management to better control quality or to support your compliance strategies.