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  • Writer's pictureVictor Kmita

Non-functional requirements in software development

"Non-functional requirements” not sounding cool isn’t a reason to neglect them." ~ Simon Brown, Founder of Structurizr Limited

How do you feel about a slow-operated digital product? What about the prospect of your data leakage? Perhaps you remain a regular customer satisfied with the superficial store's approach to service? - That is unlikely.

Companies are unfair about non-functional requirements to software, focusing more on its functionality. But business success depends a lot on the subject of our current research. Let's try to figure out exactly how.

Non-Functional Requirements And Why Their Observance Is Vital For Business

Have you ever heard about scalability, accessibility, or response time? Of course, you have. These features determine how appropriate any software is for particular conditions. Let's recall, at least, a trader’s desire to process each order in 2 minutes or to serve 10 thousand customers simultaneously. Compliance with non-functional requirements helps to reach it.

Non-functional requirements or NFR are system-wide ones that define how quality and effective the final solution will be. The set of non-functional requirements corresponds to the specific company's needs. Their features are placed in a Requirements Specification Document. However, a wide range of other unified acts also contains the performance criteria for vital systems like CRM or Billing.

NFR can be divided into two groups:

  • requirements, determining the performance quality (like, usability, integrability, etc.)

  • evolutionary requirements that help companies grow (scalability, maintainability, and so on).

Business-side always right when it comes to innovations. The onus is on the technical side. It should create a suitable scenario that satisfies management. Don't forget that NFR is a voice of business first of all. That is why adherence to seemingly optional non-functional requirements is a must if enterprises want to get expected benefits from software purchase or development.

Non-functional requirements ensure a positive user experience and determine the systems' efficiency at a high-security level, flexibility, and so on. Thus, ignoring them often results in a small unsatisfied audience, reduced CLV, and significant financial losses.

Meanwhile, management has to find a middle ground. It shouldn’t overestimate this group of requirements during the development process. Otherwise, it will lead to unreasonably high investment.

Non-Functional Requirements With XME.Fast Code Platform

Companies use an unlimited number of metrics, depending on the specific project. Now it's time to get familiar with a list of key non-functional requirements and understand how they affect business. Let's take XME. fast code platform as an example.

“A” means “Adaptability”

"We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details." ~ Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

Quality software is always flexible and can adapt to market or internal changes in a matter of days. Adaptable systems allow updating them rapidly without harmful impact on other components. This feature core for enterprises fighting for leadership in a highly competitive environment. But what tools provide this advantage?

The fast code platform arms engineers with user-friendly Java technologies. A developer can conveniently navigate the code and configure the system correctly.

Microservice architecture is an equally important condition for meeting this requirement. The XME.platform's environment allows the creation of adaptive microservice-based solutions as an excellent alternative to clumsy monolithic systems because of their compactness and independence.

“C” means “Cost”

“The cost of adding a feature isn’t just the time it takes to code it. The cost also includes the addition of an obstacle to future expansion. The trick is to pick the features that don’t fight each other.” ~ John Carmack, Founder of id Software

Business is rightly trying to get quality results by investing a minimum of resources. The development speed has a direct impact on its cost.

Specialists have developed a supply chain software for efficient sales tracking based on XME.platform. The product can minimize the risk of fraud and enables the customer to control distributors' actions. One of the principal advantages here was the suitable MVP creation in 2.5 weeks. It reduced development costs by almost half.

“D” means “Development Environment”

“There is no such thing as the best solution, be it a tool, a language, or an operating system. There can only be systems that are more appropriate in a particular set of circumstances.” ~ Andy Hunt, Co-founder of Agile Alliance

IT-team efficiency largely depends on the development environment it works in. A general definition refers to the area where software can be created or updated.

XME.platform is a suitable solution for such purposes. It operates with a variety of ready-made, changeable templates. They allow companies to receive a custom product without resorting to development from scratch.

Also, any solution is designed using modern technology stack: Java 11, Jhipster 6.4.1 (jhipster-registry, uaa, gate, business services), Spring Boot, Spring Cloud, Redis, Oracle (existing db), PostgreSQL (new db). Liquibase, Hibernate, MapStruct, Jackson, junit5, Mockito, Gradle, Angular, DevExpress. It guarantees its competitiveness within the next 10 years.

The platform is easy to use and can be operated by the customer's internal team to design software without restrictions.

Thus, the platform combines the best qualities of a low code product and custom development from scratch. The user gets the result of the second process using the first solution work principles.

“E” means “Effectiveness”

“If we wish to count lines of code, we should not regard them as “lines produced” but as “lines spent.” ~ Edsger W. Dijkstra, Computer Scientist

A digital product is effective when it contributes to business purpose achievement. But agree, it's impossible to create efficient software without rapid hypothesis checking.

For example, code platform benefits enable teams to implement ideas of ​​any complexity into full-fledged minimum value products in a brief term.

Businesses should test a received prototype to identify core bottlenecks. To fix drawbacks, it's enough to improve the MVP following users' requirements.

This approach enables to test an idea for viability. It also makes development 2 times faster and cheaper, providing a client with confidence in the result.

“F” means “Fault Tolerance

“As a rule, software systems do not work well until they have been used, and have failed repeatedly, in real applications.” ~ David Parnas, Pioneer of Software Engineering

This feature enables the system to maintain quality performance in the event of one or more components failure. It's possible by creating a microservice-based product and due to well-designed business logic. XME.platform allows developers to concentrate on the last one covering a technical base for development. Thus, thanks to the above combo, an enterprise can operate freely without the risk of losing customers or resources due to system downtime.

“I” means “Integrability”

“Good features and ideas that do not integrate with a system’s basic concepts are best left out” ~ Fred Brooks, Computer Scientist

It's one more product property ensuring quality service. Each system should not only function flawlessly but also integrate seamlessly with other components to provide a wide range of offers.

New solutions often have a poor connection with existing software, which affects the business’s success. With code platform companies can achieve desired integration and the ability to proceed with data in real-time.

Recently our experts have designed a multifunctional Point of Sale system for a large convenience store chain. POS can interact with all equipment inside the store (like fridges, motion sensors, etc.) assortment management, warehouse, loyalty, reporting systems, logistic software, etc. Moreover, the solution is associated with suppliers or delivery services software.

A high level of system integration is required to support omnichannel services. In turn, due to the latter, the business retains its customers and makes their experience flawless.

“M” means “Management”

"Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet." ~ Henry Mintzberg, Professor of Management Studies at McGill University

Easy software management matters for businesses. XME.platform can offer its users a multi-tenancy feature. For example, if an enterprise requires several similar products for different locations, it's not compulsory to waste resources and start several independent projects. The environment allows engineers to create an unlimited number of original development copies and customize them following requirements. Thus, due to multi-tenancy, a client can receive a few unique solutions with a unified control center.

“O” means “Open Source”

"In real open source, you have the right to control your own destiny." ~ Linus Torvalds, Linux Creator

Vendor-lock kills startups and other companies striving to grow. It is the key disadvantage of low code environments, often used by beginners.

Here a supplier imperceptibly limits product scalability, the ability to update, providing full dependence on the platform in return.

Open source requirement means the opportunity to work with a source code in a variety of ways: to use it repeatedly, configure it, or analyze, etc. customers can enjoy an open-source option. They may create new products based on our experience, even after a subscription period. No arduous updates, no limited product capabilities.

“R” means “Reporting”

"Business reporting is not dealing with objects, it is dealing with relationships between objects." ~ Hasso Plattner, Co-founder of SAP

It's good when the solution works effectively. But better when it provides management with accurate performance reports.

XME.platform has become a base for smart home device services management. The client needed to turn the usual free procedure into a profitable service. Firmware buyers have an opportunity to use multi-tier tariff plans and sell their right to firmware to third parties. This kind of activity needs monitoring and requires periodic reporting. Due to the product features, the client receives complete and reliable information about the above processes, updated in real-time.

As seen, compliance with this requirement gives the company a sense of control over the business, minimizes fraud risks, and keeps the huge system running smoothly.

“S” means “Scalability”

“When you are stuck in a traffic jam with a Porsche, all you do is burn more gas in idle. Scalability is about building wider roads, not about building faster cars.” ~ Steve Swartz, Architect at Microsoft

Scalability means the product's ability to serve countless users, ensuring error-free operating and complete data safety. The more customers a system can serve, the higher level of its scalability. Fast-growing businesses need unlimited opportunities here.

Let's consider how limited scalability can affect companies' affairs. The 27 million-buyer retailer has suffered multimillion losses because of order processing failure on Black Friday. The legacy software could not cope with the large flow of orders. As a result, the enterprise lost both customers and profits.

We have used the fast code platform to create a highly scalable cloud order management system capable of processing up to 10 thousand orders received through several communication channels at the same time.

One more shining example of decent scalability can be the above firmware management service, providing simultaneous firmware updates to 1 million smart houses worldwide.

“U” means “Usability”

“Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.” ~ Alan Perlis, Computer Scientist

The group of non-functional items determines how easy it is to use the product. Here we are talking about the clear logic, range of potential users, etc. code platform complies with this criteria.

The convenient interface helps not only developers but also business-side representatives easily oriented there. The solution increases the IT department throughput and reduces the backlog. It enables employees to divide functionality. Configurations with simple business logic can be done by a business analyst without involving developers. Thus, engineers are left to solve challenging technical problems faster than usual.

Moreover, the environment is suitable for use by any private industry like telecom, manufacture, retail, and even the public sector.

Such variability is reflected in the XME-based products themselves, which become a universal solution to customer's issues.


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