Characteristics of good requirements – clear/concise

Clear/Concise requirements mean they shall be written in clear and concise language. Prose and storytelling must be avoided.

Why do requirements need to be clear/concise?

All the extra words mean extra chances to misunderstand a requirement.


User can access many screens. It is important that all screens must appear on the monitor within 1 s.

This is a lengthy story with unnecessary words, like “it is important that”. We need to state the requirement clearly and to the point. A possible rephrase can be:

When the user accesses any screen, the requested screen shall appear on the monitor within 1 s.


  1. Keep requirements’ sentences short.
  2. Use the active voice.
  3. Phrase requirements positively.
  4. Use terms consistently – define them in a glossary or data dictionary.
  5. Use a limited vocabulary – a simple subset of English, avoiding terms that may confuse non-technical or foreign readers. No “buzz words”.

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