Software Release Life Cycle - Phase 1: Preliminary Requirements Gathering


Quick Summary
A 1-2 page description of each recommended deliverable for the preliminary requirements gathering phase of a software release.


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What this is

This document covers Phase 1 of the Software Release Life Cycle. It includes a one-to-two page description of recommended deliverables for this phase.

The Preliminary Requirements Gathering Phase of the Software Release Process is an information gathering phase - initial release requirements definition begins based on information from previous projects and releases. Issues that will influence the contents of this next release are identified such as from customer service, marketing, SW test engineering or development. Defects in the bug tracking system are reviewed. Preliminary SW architecture development plans are reviewed and analyzed for impacts to the release.

The information gathered and generated in this phase is reviewed again in later phases as the scope of the release work is examined and tradeoffs possibly become necessary. As the individual projects that will compose this release are initiated and kicked off, their planning information will evolve and be incorporated into a refined release plan.


Why it's useful

There are usually many candidates for inclusion in a software release. This early requirements gathering phase is important for ensuring that information and issues from previous releases and projects, and those that have arisen in the interim, are all brought into the release planning process.

The phase specifically ensures early identification of potential work that would probably not be part of the new product requirements naturally developed on individual projects. Examples of this might be:

  • Bug fixes
  • Porting base software or applications to new language or platform
  • Upgrading software tools
  • Upgrading software test tools
  • Minor enhancements
  • Maintenance work on non-critical projects
  • Installation scripts, test scripts, build or make scripts, configuration management, etc.

All such elements can swell the true work involved in a software release, and if they aren't accounted for early, unreasonable release expectations may be set -- and hard to change!


How to use it

Review the deliverables suggested in this document (See Checklist on the next page). Adjust for your particular organization, project type, or company.

Perform the activities described in those deliverables. See the Software Release Life Cycle Team Member Glossary if you have questions about the roles listed as Driver and Contributor for a deliverable.

At the end of this phase, you will be prepared for Phase 2, Scope Definition. Phase 1 will generate a candidate list of all the features, major projects, bug fixes, etc. to include in this release. In Phase 2 that compiled list will be analyzed further to understand its scope, so that if necessary tradeoff decisions can eventually be made.


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