Long & Complicated Sentences
Long & complicated sentences are difficult to read. In addition, the longer the sentence, the higher is the probability that you miss something. In most cases, a long sentence can be easily split up into shorter ones.
Passive voice sentences are more difficult to understand than active voice sentences. Furthermore, passive voice sentences can hide the acting role. For the author, transforming a passive voice into active voice is usually a simple task.
Requirements must be expressed in positive terms, unless a negative expression eases understanding. If you write a negative requirement, discuss: What would be the positive form? What must the system do if the negative scenario happens?
Vague Phrases (e.g. „if possible“) are ambiguous, which means that different readers interpret the phrase in different ways. Usually you are insecure or unsure about something when you use a vague phrase. Try to improve your understanding or explicitly mark a ‘ToDo’ when you have open issues in your requirements.
Pronouns refer to previous subjects or objects. Pronouns force the brain to interpret the grammatical structure of the sentence. Sometimes, this interpretation can go wrong. Instead of using pronouns, try to make the subject or object of the sentence explicit and break up the sentence into multiple sentences.
Comparatives and Superlatives
Comparing expressions (e.g. „faster than“ or „fastest“) make requirements relative. This means that you cannot interpret a requirement by itself, but you must also look at another system or another requirement. In consequence, this requirement is hard to test and also hard to maintain. Instead, remove these comparisons from the requirements and give concrete numbers if possible.
Wrong Level of Abstraction
Sometimes, requirements engineers use references to signal technical aspects of the system in their requirements. In this analyses, you can configure which regular expression you do not want to see in your requirements.
A slash in requirements is often ambiguous. Depending on the context and the personal understanding, readers think the slash means ‘and’ or ‘or’.
Requirements should not contain details of the user interface. This is because the user interface changes more often than the requirements, and, therefore, you create unnecessary maintenance efforts for your requirements. Instead, it is smarter to move all the UI into separate UI Design Documents.
Clones is duplication created through Copy & Paste Reuse. Cloning increases the effort in maintenance, because you always have to make each change multiple times. In addition, cloning can lead to inconsistencies when you forget to change a certain part of the document.
... message, ...
Open ToDo’s (TBA, TBD, TBC, etc.) indicate that the requirements still need further work. The Qualicen Scout helps to visualize what is left to do and where.
If you need it, we can also customize the Qualicen Requirements Scout to detect structural issues in your requirements: This can be fields that have to be filled out, naming conventions or also consistencies between different sections. Just ask us, we are happy to help.