If you want to create a functional and successful product based on your business idea, you need to clearly define its features, limitations, and range of capabilities before the development. You need to determine who will use the application and what tasks they plan to perform with the app.
Preparing a quality mobile app requirements document is a great way to do this. It provides a reliable foundation for all the development to come, containing a unified view of the functional and technical requirements for the application.
However, creating a quality and exhaustive application requirements document can be a challenge itself. Usually, the task falls onto the business analysts – qualified experts that make sure the final application serves the needs of users and solves the business tasks. Trustworthy app vendors usually provide such services. They have experienced business analysts who help turn concepts into a well-developed set of technical requirements with detailed specifications on the main functions of the product, while highlighting potential risks and an approximate scope of work.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes a good mobile app development requirements document and how to build mobile app requirements document right.
A mobile app product requirements document describes such essential preconditions for the application as its goals, functionality, main components, and possible interactions. Its main purpose is to guide the team along with the development, launch, and marketing processes.
Having a detailed product requirements specification is essential for several reasons. First, it’s a great tool to clarify the main idea, every feature, and connections between them, user roles, etc. This helps to avoid confusion during the system engineering and stick to the initial vision statement.
Second, the requirement document for a mobile app is essential for onboarding new team members. It will help explain the expectations and ensure they are familiar with the tasks ahead.
Having a requirements description also presents an opportunity for cost optimization. If the team knows each detail the app should come with, they have more space to plan their actions and prepare solutions that solve critical issues for the best cost.
In addition, detailed information on each component of the application will help with its future maintenance. With regular updates and continued development, a mobile app requirements document example can transform into a part of technical documentation for a mobile application.
While there is no definitive mobile app development requirements document template that will suit every project, certain elements are common among many. These include:
This part of the requirements document will cover the following questions:
Defining the goals and objectives is an essential part of building a business requirements document for a mobile app. Understanding the business idea will help to define an effective set of functions for the solution.
User personas and stories should serve as a confirmation or refutation of any assumptions made about the users. A user persona is a detailed character description of a certain user type interested in your application. User story is an organic, everyday description of an app’s feature. User scenario is a basic story describing the user’s goal and how they manage to accomplish it.
This information is necessary for the future analysis of the mobile app business requirements document by multiple team members, from the technical to the marketing department.
That’s why it is essential to include a detailed description of user personas and stories with visual cues, like pictures with memorable faces, detailed screenshots of processes, etc. Direct customer interviews are a great way to confirm the validity of your idea.
Any mobile app requirements document sample should include a detailed description of each major feature of the application. Each description should be complete with thorough characterization and at least one use case.
Besides the description of each function, you should add non-functional requirements for your application, like requirements regarding security, performance, compatibility with various devices, multi-language support, etc.
Having at least a general overview of the app’s UX and overall user flow is helpful from a technical standpoint, as it provides the basis for future design. This does not mean you should include a detailed wireframe, but light guidelines will go a long way.
With defined design needs and directions, it will be easier to create a well-thought-out and intuitive UI/UX that will be appealing to a user. This will also help to weed out ideas that might not be well-received.
Defining the environment the app will be hosted in is crucial to make the app requirements document really helpful. For example, the requirements for Android app development are different from the requirements for a similar app for iOS, which is why specifying the target technology from the very beginning is critical.
Other business requirements worth mentioning include the infrastructure the app is going to be distributed through. Different app stores have policies and requirements that need to be accounted for during the development.
Another important aspect worth including in the app requirements are assumptions – events that can influence the project development, implementation, and success. For example, if you’re planning to use a third-party library, there is no guarantee that it will not close down in a few weeks or that it does not have any critical vulnerabilities.
In addition, any potential technical constraints should be mentioned as well. The limits of the application should be well-defined, including any potential external tools and third-party elements and integrations you cannot exclude from the development. Besides, feature dependencies should be included as well. If one feature does not work without the other, it is important to know that to properly strategize the development process.
For a mobile app requirements document to be an effective tool, it needs to have certain features and qualities that will make it easy to use and helpful to every team member. These qualities include:
As writing the mobile app requirements documents can be challenging, certain steps need to be taken to make it easier and make the result better. Here’s how you can gather relevant data that will improve the requirements you include in the document:
Before creating your first draft, try to get a better idea of what the stakeholders expect from the final product. Conduct thorough interviews with the most crucial stakeholders to set the right expectations, better understand their vision, and determine their business objective.
Conduct interviews with some people from the development team to ensure an understanding between the parties involved. Your talks may not be too technical in nature, yet they will still bring value and help to develop informed strategies as a result.
After you get a sense of the general direction for the future application and define some key features of the final product, it’s time to look at your potential competitors that are successful in the field you’re interested in.
A comprehensive market study and competitor research will help you determine the current trends in the industry, which features are prevalent in the industry, and which can be a unique selling point for your product.
Another helpful datapoint you can gather is the interests and preferences of your target audience. This will help determine which features are essential to them and which are minor, thus prioritizing the development process.
Researching your target audience and learning more about their needs is especially important when you’re developing an MVP.
Now that we’ve discussed the preparation stage let’s take a closer look at the actual writing process of the application requirements document. The procedure can be divided into several stages, namely:
This step starts with making a rough estimate of the requirements for the application based on the preparation stage you’ve conducted. Treat each point as a subject to change and, as we’ve discussed earlier, don’t be afraid to leave empty fields or mark certain features as TBD. The most important aspects to include during this stage are main objectives, high-level features, and certain key user stories.
As your initial ideas and plans may be too general or irrelevant to the future product, you might want to work on a raw draft in an isolated setting. However, be sure to share your work and ask for feedback after a light polish of the document around the edges.
Before the version of the app requirements document is shared with the team, you should get approval and feedback from the people the most invested in the success of the final product – namely, the key stakeholders.
The approval of key stakeholders will lend credence to the document. However, their feedback has a lot of weight as well. So, discuss the draft thoroughly and try to adjust every point of criticism they have, however minor.
The next stage of the collaborative writing process is sharing the document with the head of the design team. They need to be approached before the software engineers, as their feedback can influence the scope of work done by that department.
Try keeping your discussion collaborative instead of simply presenting the design team with a challenge. Engage with their imagination, but make sure that the ideas they offer are in line with what your target audience and stakeholders are interested in.
As the next step, you should incorporate the feedback from the engineering team into the mobile app requirements document. Using their point of view, you will be able to determine the technical feasibility of previously discussed requirements and potentially find an alternative, easier technical solution to a certain problem.
After consulting on the technical complexity of the tasks at hand, you will also be able to make approximate predictions on the development process timeline and budget. It can also be helpful to discuss with some representatives from both the design and the engineering team to get the full picture and reach a consensus.
The last step of the process is presenting the app requirements document to the rest of the team. While at this stage, the document is not done yet, it should still look presentable and coherent.
Make sure there is a place for everyone to ask questions and share ideas on any aspect of the document. There might be some good ideas that contradict established ideas and views – don’t dismiss them, but rather save them for another project.
If you’re looking for custom mobile application development services with a team that will assist you on an end-to-end basis, NIX United is the partner for you. We’ve worked on developing software with different mobile app architecture and from various fields, including the development of the healthcare data management solution and food delivery app development.
Writing a mobile app requirements document was an essential step in the development of each of those solutions, meaning that we have hands-on experience with successful results. So, if you are considering a mobile app but have hardships with defining requirements and future characteristics, contact us, and we’ll gladly assist you.
A mobile application requirements document is a great artifact that is a crucial part of any development process. It can serve as an excellent communication tool for your development team and major stakeholders, providing a clear view of the key features the application should have, descriptive user stories connected to them, and technical requirements needed to bring them to life.
Hopefully, this article will assist you with building your own requirements document. If you still need help, contact Nix United right now and get professional help from the team of experts. You can also learn more about writing an application business plan, which could be helpful for your project.
Each case is different, but for most applications, an app requirements document should contain a general goal and expectations for an application, its features with a detailed description, user stories connected to each feature, guidelines for the app design and UX, technological requirements, and dependencies.
Building a mobile app requirements document has several benefits for the development process. It allows to clearly define relevant features and connections between them, better communicate goals and visions of the stakeholders to the development team, simplify the future onboarding process for new team members, and make the future app maintenance easier.
Keep your app requirements document short, but make sure it contains sufficient data and context for all the features. Work closely with the development team to ensure the relevance of the document and keep the expectations realistic. Make sure to update the requirements document before, during, and after the development process.
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