What is a gathering requirements template? (Plus benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you're beginning a new project, it's important to think about what its requirements are, including its purpose and the resources you require to fulfil it. Using a template can help you to successfully gather a client's requirements and present them clearly. Understanding the gathering requirements process and knowing how to create a template can help you complete projects more effectively. In this article, we discuss what a gathering requirements template is and how to create one.

What is a gathering requirements template?

A gathering requirements template is a template designed to help you understand a project's requirements. You can then incorporate the template into a document that sets out these requirements. Gathering requirements and creating a requirements document is an important element of project planning, especially with digital projects like software development. This work can form the foundation of a project.

The document explains what has to happen during a project and what the team requires to fulfil these demands. These can include business, user and system requirements plus other types of requirements, like legal or technical. It's an important part of project planning because it lets the team and the stakeholder or end-user agree on what the requirements are. This means it's important for the document to communicate the requirements and the reasons for them clearly.

Related: What does a digital project manager do? Salary and skills

What is requirements gathering?

Requirements gathering is an activity that takes place at the beginning of a project. Project managers are usually responsible, but they may share the work with other team members. It involves researching and understanding what users, clients and stakeholders require from an end system. These requirements influence what work the project team has. The process helps to clarify expectations, define the specifics of the work and ensure that the team can meet the needs of the user or client.

Why is requirements gathering important?

Requirements gathering is important because it reduces assumptions and errors and is specific about what the project needs. The more detailed your requirements gathering and documentation is, the lower the risk is later on in the project. Errors and miscommunication can be time-consuming to resolve and can affect the budget and delivery of the project. It ensures that the project manager and team's understanding of the project align with the client's expectations. It's important to be diligent and thorough about requirements gathering at the beginning of a new project.

Tips for gathering requirements

There are various techniques you can use to help with gathering requirements. Projects might have many requirements, so it's important to keep track of them. Following these tips can make your requirements gathering activities more thorough:

Use a template

Using a template can make gathering requirements more straightforward. Once you've gained some experience with gathering requirements, you can use past documents as a template for the future. This helps you clearly set out requirements information from the start.

Start gathering requirements early

Another useful technique is to gather requirements as early as you can. You can start the process as soon as discussions about the project begin. A useful strategy can be to capture as much information as possible and then refine it later until you have a clear set of requirements.

Take notes

Whenever there's a discussion about the project, either formally or informally, taking notes is vital. This means you're prepared to identify and document a requirement whenever someone mentions it. Before attending a meeting, you might find it helpful to open and prepare your preferred note-taking app so that you're ready to take notes promptly. Having a lot of detailed notes can make your requirements gathering more comprehensive.

Involve the team

It's also helpful to include the project team in requirements gathering. Team members with different specialities can focus on gathering requirements for their respective areas. You can facilitate team members helping with gathering requirements by sharing templates and your own notes and organising requirements meetings for different team members to discuss their findings.

Related: How to have an effective staff meeting (with tips)

Include the client

Involving the client can also make your requirements gathering more effective. You might find it helpful to have an internal requirements document, but you can also have a version that the client can review. This can help to clarify certain points and build a working relationship with the client. If the details of the project are sensitive, you could send the client a weekly update of new requirements as an alternative.

How to create a template

Creating a requirements gathering template can make the process more efficient. You can incorporate a template for gathering information into a requirements document that you can share with clients and stakeholders. Once you've created a template, you can use it for several other projects, helping to streamline the requirements gathering activity. You can follow these steps to create your own template:

1. List requirements in sections

Listing project requirements in sections helps to make them clear and easy to understand. You can create boxes or a chart using a programme. As you gather requirements from the client and stakeholders, you can add the information into the boxes. These sections can then form part of the requirements document. You can divide the sections up as:

  • user requirements

  • functional requirements

  • system and software interface requirements

  • user interface requirements

  • workflow activities

  • change management

  • risk management

2. Add technical and support needs

The client might also have technical and support requirements both during the project and afterwards. Finding out this information and adding it to the document is also important. This includes support during the testing and evaluation phase.

3. Add a project plan section

After including all the project's requirements, you can add a project plan section to the start of the document. This helps to introduce the project to the reader. This section introduces a project plan that includes:

  • description of the project

  • scope and purpose

  • timeline with milestones

  • goals and dependencies

  • challenges and constraints

Related: How does project planning work? (With steps and FAQs)

4. Add an agreement section and appendices

You can add an agreements section at the end of the gathering requirements template. This includes space for the project manager, client and other stakeholders to sign and agree to the document's contents. If it's relevant, you might also add a section for appendices. This can include definitions of key terms or a list of reference documents.

5. Add a cover page

Once you've included the relevant sections, you can add a cover page to the template. The cover page shows the name of the project and client. It's also often helpful to include a grid at the bottom of the page to track changes to the document. This can show what version of the document is the latest, who made changes, when they made them and why they made them.

Why is a template useful?

A template for gathering requirements is useful because it makes your notes clearer and helps you organise them more efficiently. For any project, it's important that all stakeholders, including the end-user and the project team, clearly understand the requirements and what they agreed on at the end. Ambiguity at this stage can cause issues and changes later on in the project. It helps to ensure that the project manager and their team can meet the client's needs.

Using a template helps you organise your notes about requirements clearly. Some projects might have extensive requirements that can quickly become confusing. A template that shows the requirements makes it easier for everyone who's taking part in the project to understand and make changes if necessary. It also helps everyone understand what needs to happen during the project and can help team members work efficiently.

Related: What is the definition of a project (with planning steps)?

Alternatives to making your own template

You can make your own template for requirements gathering, but there are alternative solutions. You can find a variety of templates online. Some types of project management software might also provide templates. You could download a template and use this for all of your requirements documentation. A benefit of creating your own template is that you can adapt it to meet your preferences.

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