User Needs

Project Information

Process impact: The statement of user needs documents and explains the actual desires of stakeholders in roughly their own words. What they desire is never exactly what the product provides. Documenting user needs here, independently from the SRS, helps to keep the SRS precise and makes the tasks of verification and validation more effective. This document is not an informal draft of the SRS, it is different document with a complementary purpose.

Agreed Goals

TODO: Has there been a clear statement of the overall goal of this project that the stakeholders agree to? If so, paste it here or add a hyperlink. If not, you should summarize your understanding of the project goals into a brief statement and try to get the stakeholders to agree to it. The text below gives three alternative examples, select one, or write your own.

We were given an initial project description that is agreed to by all stakeholders.

After several interviews and brainstorming sessions, we have revised project description that has been agreed to by all stakeholders.

There are still a few different (but overlapping) visions of what this project needs to achieve. When a single joint vision is agreed to, it will be hyper-linked from here.


TODO: Briefly describe various aspects of the environment where the software will be used. Describe the environment as it is or will be, not what you would wish it to become. The text below gives a few examples.
What is the system's business environment?
Each real estate agent works with a set of potential buyers and sellers. Real estate agents do not share customer data with other agents, because they do not want to share commissions. Information on specific available homes changes daily, and this tool must help them keep up.
Game players may visit several free web sites to find information about teams or "clans". There is usually more information available than they would choose to read, the challenge is in having the most fun with the least effort. This website must be familiar to players who have used other sites, but it must also be better.
What is the system's physical environment?
This system is a web server that will run on a machine in a co-located data center with 24x7 monitoring, UPS, air-conditioning, etc. Users of this system are typically at their offices.
This application runs on hand-held devices that will often be used while the user is walking from one section of the warehouse to another. Lighting is good in that environment, but there are many noises and distractions.
What is the system's technology environment (hardware and software)?
60% of game players have machines with P-II or equivalent processors, while 30% have P-I machines, and 10% have less powerful machines. While many users have 17-inch monitors, 15-inch monitors or laptops with 1024x768 resolution are also common.
65% of game players are using Windows 98 or Me. 30% are using NT, 2000, or XP. The remaining 5% use Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, or Linux.

Stakeholders / Actors

TODO: List and describe the stakeholders for this product. These can be named individuals or roles that people play. For each stakeholder, list/rank their key needs. Consider the expected technical expertise of the stakeholders and how often they are likely to use the system, as well as key strengths, weaknesses, preferences, or other characteristics. Use a greater-than sign to indicate inheritance among types of actors.
TIP: To get information on types of users, you can talk to actual users. You may also want to talk to user surrogates (people who work with users), such as domain experts, technical trainers, technical support staff, technical writers, supervisors of users, and your own sales and marketing department. You can find clues in manuals and marketing materials for competing products.
All stakeholders share the following key needs:
  1. Security against abuses by other site visitors
  2. Convenient access to the site any time over the Internet
Players want to have fun. That means a sense of discovery, challenge, satisfaction, and community. Some players who become involved in clans will spend a few hours a week, while others will spend over 20 hours a week. So, they need new content posted often to keep them interested. Players involved in clans are often power users and have high expectations for the functionality and quality of the site, but they may not have much knowledge of computer science.

Key needs:

  1. Easily find information about clans
  2. Keep in touch with members of his/her own clan
  3. Understand the date and time of tournament play
  4. Easily report cheaters
Player > Advanced player
Advanced players seek more challenges to continue the sense of discovery. They tend to play over 20 hours a week. They have seen more of the game details, now the need to see the "big picture".

Key needs:

  1. View metrics that compare multiple clans
  2. Understand relationships between clans
  3. Understand overall schedule of tournaments

Notes from Interviews and Brainstorming

TODO: Keep a log of your requirements gathering. Paste in notes from any face-to-face or telephone conversations with stakeholders or from brainstorming sessions with members of the development team. If the communication took place via email, link to it in the archive or paste it here.
interview with INTERVIEWEE
NOTES FROM INTERVIEW...(pasted here)
NOTES FROM INTERVIEW...(pasted here)
email from INTERVIEWEE

User Stories

TODO: Write brief user stories to explain how various actors would interact with the system (directly and indirectly) to accomplish a real-world goal. User stories are not use cases: user stories are brief (3-5 sentences) paragraphs that describe one specific scenario in concrete terms. In this description of user needs, do not make assumptions about details of the system, instead focus on the users. Note the source of each user story.
John has gotten pretty good at SuperShooter by playing on public servers about 8 hours a week for the last 3 weeks. John has chatted with Bob about strategies and they have enjoyed some duels. Bob is a member of the RedDawn clan. That clan plays a tournament on a private server Friday nights. Bob invites John to visit the RedDawn website and join. (Source: INTERVIEWEE)
Bob is visiting his friend. He tries to use his friend's computer to log onto the RedDawn SuperShooter tournament. But, he does not remember the exact name of the server. So, he visits the RedDawn clan website to find that information. (Source: PERSONNAME)

Performance and Capacity Needs

TODO: Briefly list the stakeholders' desired values for various aspects of the system capacity. If you have a good idea about averages or rates of increase, note that as well.

By the end of the first year of service, we should to reach the following system capacity:

  • 50,000 user records in the clan website account database (rate: 50-500 new registrations each day)
  • 1000 users browsing the web site any given time
  • 1000 gaming clans
  • 1000 members of a single clan (average: 8)
  • 4 MB max disk space for each clan (average: 0.5 MB)
  • 100 game vendors posting advertisements on the site
  • 1000 actual advertisements in the database
TODO: Check for words of wisdom and discuss ways to improve this template. Or, evaluate the ReadySET Pro professional user needs template.
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Copyright © 2003-2004 Jason Robbins. All rights reserved. License terms. Retain this copyright statement whenever this file is used as a template.