The IEEE standard for requirements documents

The most widely known requirements document standard is IEEE/ANSI 830-1998 (IEEE, 1998). This IEEE standard suggests the following structure for requirements documents:

1.   Introduction
1.1   Purpose of the requirements document
1.2   Scope of the product
1.3   Definitions, acronyms and abbreviations
1.4   References
1.5   Overview of the remainder of the document

2.   General description
2.1   Product perspective
2.2   Product functions
2.3   User characteristics
2.4   General constraints
2.5   Assumptions and dependencies

3.Specific requirements, covering functional, non-functional and interface requirements. This is obviously the most substantial part of the document but because of the wide variability in organisational practice, it is not appropriate to define a standard structure for this section. The requirements may document external interfaces, describe system functionality and performance, and specify logical database requirements, design constraints, emergent system properties and quality characteristics.



Although the IEEE standard is not ideal, it contains a great deal of good advice on how to write requirements and how to avoid problems. It is too general to be an organisational standard in its own right. It is a general framework that can be tailored and adapted to define a standard geared to the needs of a particular organisation.

(c) Ian Sommerville 2008