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Customer Experience and Design

Business Requirements – Version Control

A requirement document can be viewed as a live document that evolves as other general and finite details are added. It’s wise to implement a method to track additions, deletions, and any modifications. In the rush to write requirements and capture changes that occur from start to finish, version control is a function to implement at the very beginning.

Version control is the tracking of changes made to a requirements document and along with the authored the adjustment, date, and the time of day a change is made if needed. There are numerous software applications used track changes, but if sophisticated software applications are not available or in your budget there is a way to simply track modifications. First, develop a filing system to log input for requirements. Today most input is electronic to allow saving files from other resource personnel. Document input from others is a necessary step to track.

Second, combine artifacts into one document to develop the initial draft. The draft should have the beginning version number as 1.00 or 0.001 or something to the effect displaying the starting number system. The steps may sound insignificant but can prove to save valuable time to recover from a deleted requirement as needed. Keep originals saved separately for easy retrieval. After combining the various artifacts the next step is the input ledger.

The input ledger is nothing more than a table within the requirement document to record date, author, and a list of modifications. After this third step is where version control begins. Any changes made to the requirements document can be saved as the next version increment. There is another phase to carefully watch as well, called The Review.

Upon each draft of the requirements document there is a review session. The document is circulated for review to numerous team resources. A tracking method to use is the labeling of a reviewed file with the reviewer’s name or initials and the date the review was returned. The easiest way is the circulation of one document that will track the changes via color labeling and/or name of the reviewer embedded in the requirements document.

Documentation of each version will aid in retaining ideas and changes made throughout the cycle of revisions until final signoff to establish a finished requirements document.

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Thomas Walton

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