RE: Trying to estimate the time it will take to write an SRS.

Subject: RE: Trying to estimate the time it will take to write an SRS.
From: "Walden Miller" <wmiller -at- vidiom -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 10:39:37 -0700

Jennifer wrote:
I may have an opportunity to write an SRS for what has been described
as a "simple content management system". The focus of development
will be on the API.

Ed wrote:
... My guess is that it will take 3-5 days to complete the task.
One day to review the template, formulate your questions, interview
developer. Two days to backfill your answers, edit, and so on. One day
to work in the developer's comments and edits. One day to figure out
Word auto-numbering, power lunch, etc.

Tony wrote:
Focus first on the business requirements. Once you have a comprehensive,
integrated understanding of the business requirements, you have a sound
overall architecture into which you can "pigeon hole" a large amount of
implementation-specific and non-functional requirements. The tough part of
doing this is the need to postpone detail - postpone not forget - until the
appropriate time.

No offense to Ed, but I would caution you not to underestimate the
requirements gathering tasks. Often Business Requirements and/or Product
Requirements are overlooked and the people that can actually verbalize them
are unavailable. Tony is right in that Technical Requirements should be
driven from Business Requirements. Also, Technical Requirements rarely all
stem from one person, so doing a good job on Tech Reqs usually means digging
and finally, there are usually a large number of assumed requirements that
need to be written down in order to organize a requirements tree
appropriately. Once written down, the assumptions may actually become
contentious because everyone's assumptions are different :)

And a practical note: There is doing an SRS in detail and there is doing an
SRS according to your corporate standard (based on process/culture/etc).
They may be the same and they may be different. Shoot for detail, but be
satisfied with the standard.

Given those cautions...

When no business requirements exist and getting them may delay the SRS task,
you should start with top-level Technical Requirements, knowing that you may
have to change the verbiage (and perhaps lower level detail) to match up
with the eventually discovered Business/Product Requirements. Often from
top level tech requirements you can infer Product or Business requirements
and take them to the Product Manager/Business Team to rewrite or confirm or
deny or whatever.

I know a team of Requirements Engineers and Writers that spent over a month
developing the first pass of Business and Technical Requirements for a
interactive cable guide (not a simple program). We did not have any Business
Requirements up front, but they trickled in over a 9 month period. At one
point, newly formulated Business Requirements forced a complete
rearchitecture of the guide.

I have no easy formula to spec out the time required to write an SRS, but I
would usually assume that one SME is just a starting point, but unless I am
in a startup with only a few engineers or it is an extremely simple project,
I usually reserve 3 weeks to 2 months for a developing a first pass at an
SRS. Then it becomes a living document that is maintained by the Project
Manager and the chief architect and the Tech Writer.

Jennifer suggests this is a simple content management system, so maybe I
would reserve 3 weeks and hope it will be less than that.

Hope this helps,



Now Shipping -- WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word! Easily create online
Help. And online anything else. Redesigned interface with a new
project-based workflow. Try it today!

Doc-To-Help includes a one-click RoboHelp project converter. It's that easy. Watch the demo at

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- infoinfocus -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Re: Trying to estimate the time it will take to write an SRS.: From: Ed Wurster

Previous by Author: RE: Scoping a DocumentationProject??
Next by Author: RE: Incorporating third-party books
Previous by Thread: Re: Trying to estimate the time it will take to write an SRS.
Next by Thread: Re: Trying to estimate the time it will take to write an SRS.

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads