IDG Contributor Network: Avoid ambiguity when writing requirements for software purchases

Adequate and well-written requirements are the foundation for selecting enterprise software that meets expectations. A common problem with requirements is that some of them may be ambiguous. While ambiguities are easy to see in requirements written by others, they are difficult to spot in your own writing. Ambiguities cause problems selecting software in cases such as these:

  • Vendors responding to RFIs or RFPs: When vendors have to make assumptions about ambiguous requirements, they are entitled to (and will) interpret requirements in the way most favorable to their products.
  • Implementing software: When consultants implementing the software make assumptions, they may not configure software in the way users expect, and this can cause business disruption when going live in production.

Let’s start by defining what is meant by ambiguous requirements:

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