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How to summarize your software requirements

One of the challenges that businesses often face in the software selection process is defining, summarizing and communicating their specific requirements.

In documenting your business software requirements, you need to have a clear understanding of the important issues:  What type of system are you looking for? Why do you need it? What should it do in terms of capabilities? Who will use it? How will it interact with other parts of your business? How will you evaluate which option suits you best? …and so on

Given our focus on the software selection process, Software Shortlist has developed some useful templates that may assist. The first one that we’re making available is a Requirements Summary Template. Other resources will be made available soon, including a set of questions to guide you in defining your requirements, and a guide to an effective software selection process.

How do you use it?

The requirements summary template is designed to help you encapsulate your requirements into a simple summary document. This can be used for several purposes

  1. Internal use:  Use the requirements summary to make sure everyone agrees on what the software requirements are. There’s nothing like putting your needs down on paper to help you find out if everyone is on the same page or not! If they are, great. If not, you’ll quickly identify the areas where people have different views.
  2. External use: Use it to engage more effectively with vendors about your software needs. It will save both you and them time if you come to initial discussions with a clear understanding of what you want, and which requirements are most important vs less important.

How do we know it works?

Software Shortlist developed the template during our independent consulting work on software selection. It has been successfully applied on numerous occasions, and has proven to help accelerate the process of agreeing on requirements and engaging with vendors.

For instance, When we were assisting a consulting firm in their search for an online database system, a completed version of this requirements summary template was provided to numerous vendors at the early stages of the selection process. The sales representative at one major vendor commented that it was the “best requirements summary they’d seen” and that having a clear view of requirements like this made their job so much easier.

How to download the template

The requirements summary template is available as a free download in Word format on our website.  So, if you’re looking for software for your business, make sure you download this free template to summarize your software requirements.