SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

Great Software from Great Requirements: A Software Best Practice

I’m not in love with “requirements”.

There are some who think that “Requirements” are the be-all and end-all for building great software.  They’re not wrong, but they are off by a third of a bubble.

Great software companies come from creating and bringing to market (with a great “go to market” strategy) quality software that solves one or more significant problems for an appropriately chosen target audience – and does so measurably better than alternative solutions.

Software Requirements

How does such successful software happen? Certainly not by accident.

It comes from truly understanding the “target customer” – their needs, their
plans, and their pain, the severity of their pain, their ability and willingness to spend money to fix that pain, and knowing what other alternative solutions exist for
them (and how your proposed solution compares).

And this understanding of target customer needs MUST be done at the earliest stages of product conception to be effective.  Otherwise, it’s like trying to build the foundation for a house after the house is already built.  Not an effective strategy (although it may be a rational one, if you inherit a house that someone else built that lacks a foundation).

This understanding along with the proper people, communication skills and training,
time and effort yields requirements (and priorities, which are embedded and inseparable from requirements by my definition).

It also is critical to the formation of a strong go-to-market strategy.  Depending on how you look at it:

  • Great Software + Great Go-to-Market = Wild Success; or
  • Great Go-to-Market includes Great Software = Wild Success

I’d like to refer users to an outstanding article on SandHill.com by Tony Zingale from Jive Software: “Tips for Thriving in the Software Market“.  It’s about knowing the customer & market and creating great go-to-market strategies.  Tony knows a thing or two about successful software companies.  Jive Software filed its S-1 five days ago for an expected IPO that could raise up to $100 million.  He’s done a pile of other great things too.

This deep understanding is the soil from which all good software things grow.   I
suppose if deep understanding is the soil, then requirements are the manure
that makes the soil fertile.  Although perhaps I’m taking this analogy too far….

Requirements are not a magic solution for every software problem, however.  That’s where “Requirements Evangelists” are off by a third of a bubble.  If you have a weak go-to-market plan, then requirements mean nothing.

Not to mention, lot of things can go wrong in the creation of software “post-requirements”. A fair amount of bad software has been created despite the best of
requirements.

But almost no good software has ever come about in the absence of solid requirements and priorities.  So, those who are Requirements Evangelists, keep on evangelizing – as, solid requirements and priorities are a de-facto prerequisite to the creation of quality software.  By quality I mean both “useful” as well as “minimal defects”.

Yes, some great software has been created without benefit of good requirements, but “luck is not a strategy for success”.

Quality software is what drives the success of software companies.

Quality software is what helps corporations and other organizations run better and
gives them an advantage in the marketplace.

Properly done, requirements are one of the embodiments of true understanding of the
customer.

“Know thy customer” is the first commandment of marketing…and sales…and executive
management…and….

So, from that perspective, yes, I love “requirements”.  It’s clearly a Best Practice  (capital letters intentional).


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

Latest Stories
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
While a hybrid cloud can ease that transition, designing and deploy that hybrid cloud still offers challenges for organizations concerned about lack of available cloud skillsets within their organization. Managed service providers offer a unique opportunity to fill those gaps and get organizations of all sizes on a hybrid cloud that meets their comfort level, while delivering enhanced benefits for cost, efficiency, agility, mobility, and elasticity.
GCP Marketplace is based on a multi-cloud and hybrid-first philosophy, focused on giving Google Cloud partners and enterprise customers flexibility without lock-in. It also helps customers innovate by easily adopting new technologies from ISV partners, such as commercial Kubernetes applications, and allows companies to oversee the full lifecycle of a solution, from discovery through management.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, will discuss how to use Kubernetes to setup a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace....
Signs of a shift in the usage of public clouds are everywhere Previously, as organizations outgrew old IT methods, the natural answer was to try the public cloud approach; however, the public platform alone is not a complete solutionThe move to hybrid, custom, and multi-cloud will become more and more prevalent At the heart of this technology trend exists a custom solution to meet the needs and concerns of these organizations, including compliance, security, and cost issues Blending Ser...
Kubernetes as a Container Platform is becoming a de facto for every enterprise. In my interactions with enterprises adopting container platform, I come across common questions: - How does application security work on this platform? What all do I need to secure? - How do I implement security in pipelines? - What about vulnerabilities discovered at a later point in time? - What are newer technologies like Istio Service Mesh bring to table?In this session, I will be addressing these commonly asked ...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
The KCSP program is a pre-qualified tier of vetted service providers that offer Kubernetes support, consulting, professional services and training for organizations embarking on their Kubernetes journey. The KCSP program ensures that enterprises get the support they're looking for to roll out new applications more quickly and more efficiently than before, while feeling secure that there's a trusted and vetted partner that's available to support their production and operational needs.
Between the mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Charles Kendrick, CTO at Isomorphic Software, presented a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how business and develop...
When a company wants to develop an application, it must worry about many aspects: selecting the infrastructure, building the technical stack, defining the storage strategy, configuring networks, setting up monitoring and logging, and on top of that, the company needs to worry about high availability, flexibility, scalability, data processing, machine learning, etc. Going to the cloud infrastructure can help you solving these problems to a level, but what if we have a better way to do things. ...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It's clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Th...
With the rise of Docker, Kubernetes, and other container technologies, the growth of microservices has skyrocketed among dev teams looking to innovate on a faster release cycle. This has enabled teams to finally realize their DevOps goals to ship and iterate quickly in a continuous delivery model. Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. However, without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lo...
xMatters helps enterprises prevent, manage and resolve IT incidents. xMatters industry-leading Service Availability platform prevents IT issues from becoming big business problems. Large enterprises, small workgroups, and innovative DevOps teams rely on its proactive issue resolution service to maintain operational visibility and control in today's highly-fragmented IT environment. xMatters provides toolchain integrations to hundreds of IT management, security and DevOps tools. xMatters is the ...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...