Requirements Management

A methodical, strategic and focused way to develop your products, solutions and business model

In future, the way manufacturing businesses approach requirements management will play an even more important role.

If you have an efficient way of managing the digital lifecycle of requirements, you can exploit new potentials in product creation.

Intelligent requirements management is a process crucial to your company’s successful market orientation, and it can contribute decisively to your business success.

Why is requirements management important?

Requirements management describes how you translate customer needs and your business goals into your product creation systematics. It’s a process that integrates, organizes and prioritizes information and thus gives a disordered heap of input a logical, measurable structure.

Being in full control of the process lets you steer your organization on a competitive path of value addition and customer satisfaction. Successful requirements management helps businesses make better products faster and more sustainably and bring them to the market more quickly. 

And it helps prepare them for future challenges: Connecting internal expertise with external market needs makes requirements management an innovation driver. It helps you improve or entirely rethink your products, your portfolio and your business model. 

Transforming product creation Do you know the benchmarks for a product development strategy that is designed for sustainability while enabling management to successfully respond to trends like smartification and customization? Read more about

All manufacturing businesses manage requirements, but not all have implemented a structured and digital requirements management system. Why? Because some businesses treat these processes as a sideshow and therefore underestimate the influence that requirements management can have. Or they know that they need to change but are wary of complex interventions and high project costs and therefore fail to act.

However, successful best-practice examples show that such transformation projects can be managed by businesses of all types and sizes, and they clearly demonstrate the significant benefits that can be achieved. These benefits come to bear irrespective of which business model is used to fulfill the customers’ orders – i.e. whether the business configures components or modules (configure-to-order), manufactures custom products (design-to-order), or develops new, competitive consumer goods (off-the-shelf). What matters is consistency in requirements management and the methodology applied to organizing it.

Requirements management lets businesses rise to their aspirations because as a systematic process, it contributes decisively to the overall quality of product creation. And because it offers a means for embedding measurable and transparent system-level rules for decision-making and validation, right from the start.

What does requirements management do for you?
  • it helps plot a course for product creation in sync with your business strategy
  • it acts as a catalyst for productivity, efficiency and flexibility across the entire product lifecycle 

How does your business benefit from good requirements management?

Adding value in product creation

Realize your full productivity and efficiency potentials throughout the product creation process.

Achieving innovation

Systematize the way you develop new ideas and improve your market position.

Boosting competitiveness

High customer satisfaction and loyalty ensure long-term business success.

What are the components of requirements management?

Process objective: Identifying, evaluating and validating requirements

Requirements management aims to comprehensively identify and describe customer requirements. As a process, it provides a meaningful basis for product creation and a means for continually verifying that you are following the rules you have established. Good requirements management recognizes inconsistent or incomplete propositions as well as non-compliance with regulatory requirements. 

Important steps of the requirements management process

The methodologies and priorities of the process differ by scenario and business model, but the process sequence remains the same. An inherent part of all steps is requirements administration, which also includes the administration of the requirements lifecycle. 

Identification of requirements
  • Here the task is to compile a full written description of the respective requirements. This must take all the needs and expectations of the customers, users and other stakeholders into account, as well as all normative and statutory regulations. In principle, we differentiate between (1) requirements on the system as viewed from the perspective of the various stakeholders and (2) the functional and non-functional requirements derived from them.
  • To identify and itemize stakeholder requirements, we can also use exploratory methods (interviews, workshops, questionnaires, storytelling) – even in cases where we have a specification sheet, as will usually be the case in an industrial environment.
Analysis of requirements incl. specification and prioritization
  • This task means a systematic analysis of the requirements to ensure that they are stated unambiguously, do not contradict one another and cover all aspects of the intended product/system. Criteria include clarity, completeness, coherence and viability.   
  • The analysis is accompanied by a specification of the requirements. This means structuring the requirements, classifying and detailing them in a way that permits processing by the disciplines involved in the product creation process. Depending on the respective industry segment and the relevant collaboration scenario, requirements may be described as machine-readable data objects so as to facilitate communication as well as the change and validation process. In this step, we also determine which requirements are needed for measurement and/or validation testing (testing and validation at component and/or system level). 
  • We now prioritize the fully detailed requirements to ensure that our limited resources are used efficiently, first implementing those requirements that offer the greatest added value, satisfy the most urgent needs, or are dictated by interdependencies.    
  • The overall result of this process step is a systematically prioritized and specified list of system requirements. Given a sufficient degree of maturity, the requirements at the respective specification levels are digitally interlinked to ensure traceability. Suitable modeling methodologies and database technologies can be used for this purpose. 
Validation and verification of requirements
  • Based on the testing and validation concepts defined during the analysis phase, we now validate our specifications to ensure that they fulfill all the requirements we have formulated. Verification is done at the component, the assembly as well as the overall system level, perhaps employing virtual simulation as well as physical testing on prototypes.

Further pages on the topic

Blog Leveraging SAP EPD Engineering to integrate requirements management and system… SAP Enterprise Product Development (EPD) is SAP’s new solution for requirements management and requirements development across system and enterprise boundaries. In this article, SAP PLM expert Christian Markus tells us about the potentials of… Read more about

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What transformation tasks do businesses have to tackle?

Requirements management in practice – a methodology stress test

Businesses often expend more effort on requirements management than they need to, and frequently there are shortcomings in terms of automatic quality assurance and process documentation – e.g. because information on the requirements is contained in a mix of data formats (Word, Excel and/or PDF), or because staff communicate internally and with clients via a variety of channels, e.g. email, chat or phone.

These conditions slow down the organization and limit its flexibility. Particularly the “smart” products that are so popular with the end customer have complex structures, making it especially difficult to reliably translate requirements into the systematics of requirements management.

Transforming requirements management improves your approach: An end-to-end digital process can become an inherent component of product development, covering all its steps and decisions. Once such a system is established, you can reliably and measurably ascertain – at any stage – whether your design, product qualities, manufacturing quality, etc. correspond to your long list of specifications.

Transformation for a new system intelligence

An important feature of modern requirements management:
All requirements are consistent and traceable.

IT solutions for requirements management – effective process support

What then does digital transformation mean for requirements management on the ground? In short, it enables software-based product lifecycle management of your requirements. Because requirements, product specifications and validation are connected by a digital thread, you gain full traceability.

Software applications can already assist you with your initial collation of the distributed requirements information. Intelligent tools are available to partition and extract requirements information even from unstructured or dispersed data in spec sheets, standards information and legal regulations, turning them into valuable, structured and data-driven requirements. These tools ensure traceability and mapping to facilitate any later changes in requirements.

Applications effectively integrate internal and external stakeholders in accordance with their respective roles – rule-based and consistent with your configured coordination channels.

Change is a matter of scale – if you take the right approach!

Turning a business with a traditional requirements management scheme into an “intelligent enterprise” that drives system development by way of model-based methods is not a one-step affair. “Everything everywhere all at once” is no longer considered a promising approach to change in any case.

What we need to keep pushing forward is a common understanding of how important customer focus is to market success. In fact, this realization must become a commitment, because then we will be willing to let ourselves be measured by our requirements, transparently and across all employee hierarchy levels. Then, requirements are no longer a necessary onus and mere words in spec sheets, but rather a mandate to understand our customers and find the best possible solutions for them and us.

SAP EPD With the new SAP Enterprise Product Development solution - SAP EPD for short - SAP offers a solution that seamlessly integrates the methods of systems engineering into the SAP system landscape and PLM toolchain. Read more about
3DEXPERIENCE Platform Dassault Systèmes' 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides manufacturing companies with a state-of-the-art web-based platform for innovation management, engineering, cross-company collaboration and business processes. Read more about

Treading new ground in requirements management

Successful requirements management is steadily growing more important. As a process, it plays a vital role in achieving business success by bringing innovative products to a challenging market. Investing in the quality of the process strengthens its key role in promoting productivity and efficiency in product creation.

A reliable, high-performing requirements management system helps you align your organization with current and future market conditions. It lets you fully map and securely control requirements even in complex circumstances.

Getting to this point also requires a new, customer-oriented way of thinking, across internal unit boundaries – if this becomes part of your business ethic, then requirements management can become an important component of your future success strategy.

Modern requirements management as a forward-looking strategy

An efficient and agile approach to requirements creates a basis for the strategic development of your products and business models, no matter how demanding your market environment.

End-to-end approaches for improved collaboration

Having all your data and information available via a single shared system eliminates silos and lets you collaborate seamlessly across internal and external boundaries.

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