In the context of software development, a requirement refers to a statement that describes a feature, functionality, constraint, or performance capability of the system that needs to be developed. A requirement specifies what the system should do or how it should behave, and it is usually documented in a software requirements specification (SRS) document. Requirements are critical to the software development process as they serve as the basis for design, implementation, and testing activities.
On the other hand, a need is a high-level statement that describes what the user wants the system to do. It is a broad statement that expresses a desire or goal, but it does not specify the details of how the system should fulfill that need. Needs are typically expressed in natural language and can be ambiguous, subjective, or incomplete. For example, a user might express a need to “have a system that can help manage customer information efficiently.”
While needs express high-level goals, requirements are specific statements that provide the details needed to design and implement the system. Requirements are derived from needs through analysis and decomposition. In the example above, the need to “manage customer information efficiently” can be decomposed into specific requirements such as “the system should be able to store customer information, retrieve customer information, and update customer information.”
The following are some of the key differences between requirements and needs:
Specificity: Requirements are specific statements that provide details on what the system should do, while needs are high-level statements that express what the user wants the system to do.
Objectivity: Requirements are objective and measurable, while needs are subjective and often ambiguous.
Derivability: Requirements are derived from needs through analysis and decomposition, while needs are not directly derived from any other source.
Traceability: Requirements are traceable to specific design and implementation artifacts, while needs are not directly traceable.
In summary, requirements and needs are both important concepts in software development, but they are distinct. Requirements provide the details needed to design and implement a system, while needs express high-level goals. Understanding the difference between requirements and needs is crucial to developing software that meets the needs of the users.