Solid requirements – clear, complete, detailed, cohesive, attainable, testable requirements that are agreed to by all players. In ‘agile’-type environments, continuous close coordination with customers/end-users is necessary to ensure that changing/emerging requirements are understood.
Realistic schedules – allow adequate time for planning, design, testing, bug fixing, re-testing, changes, and documentation; personnel should be able to complete the project without burning out.
Adequate testing – start testing early on, re-test after fixes or changes, plan for adequate time for testing and bug-fixing. ‘Early’ testing could include static code analysis/testing, test-first development, unit testing by developers, built-in testing and diagnostic capabilities, automated post-build testing, etc.
Stick to initial requirements where feasible – be prepared to defend against excessive changes and additions once development has begun, and be prepared to explain consequences. If changes are necessary, they should be adequately reflected in related schedule changes. If possible, work closely with customers/end-users to manage expectations. In ‘agile’-type environments, initial requirements may be expected to change significantly, requiring that true agile processes be in place and followed.
Communication – require walkthroughs and inspections when appropriate; make extensive use of group communication tools – groupware, wiki’s, bug-tracking tools and change management tools, intranet capabilities, etc.; ensure that information/documentation is available and up-to-date – preferably electronic, not paper; promote teamwork and cooperation; use prototypes and/or continuous communication with end-users if possible to clarify expectations.