What are they
User Requirements are a list of activities and functions which users of a software system would like to use or need to use in order to perform their role (as it relates to the software), and the expected outcome of that action.
Why are they important
Concept and Feasibility Project Stages
Consider how you compare the functionality of a potential LIMS software system against how it will be used and the existing processes it will replace. There are many considerations, and multiple people requesting specific functionality associated with their processes . It is almost guaranteed that people will have conflicting requirements or may forget their original requirements. With documented, and agreed, User Requirements there is a reference point.
The documented User Requirements also specify not only the activity a user is wishing to perform but the expected outcome. Ensuring clarity between all parties in the functional design of the system.
Implementation of a LIMS System
How would you verify or validate a new LIMS software system met your requirements without those requirements being in place? How would you demonstrate, to regulators or customers, that your new LIMS System is going to perform as you expect. At this stage in the project significant resource will have been allocated to ensure a successful implementation, having the ability to document the actual system performance against what was expected reduces the risk of compliance failures and disagreements.
When do I need them
The question should be "When don’t I need them?"; if a LIMS system is being introduced into your laboratory it will become an integral part of your critical business systems and a major business investment. If you are implementing a LIMS system you should identify your user requirements at the start of the process and use them as a reference point throughout the project stages.
How do I Identify Them
Identifying requirements is a simple process , if facilitated well and prepared for. The following are crucial prerequisites:
- Understanding of the processes in scope (e.g. via a process mapping exercise).
- Gathering the users together – have a cross section of users engaged and ready for the meeting, these might be those involved in the process mapping exercise.
- Dedicated time set aside for the exercise
Ultimately compiling and implementing your User Requirements at the earliest stage possible in a project will significantly reduce the risk of implementing a LIMS system which isn’t suitable for your business, and will ensure a robust assessment both at the selection and validation project stages.