Agile requirements modeling: Importance, values, principles, and methodologies

Agile requirements modeling

In the traditional method of requirements management, the project team defines the requirements. Developers follow the requirements document and make the software. Testers test the software against the requirements in a real-time scenario.

The software does not work.

What? Why? How?

These questions have only one answer – “The requirements change”. So, it is better to evaluate the changing requirements on an ongoing basis. Then, develop the software as a response to these changes so that users derive value from it.

This is what is meant by Agile requirements modeling. We will look into the definition and importance of agile modeling in the article below. We will also explore the principles and methodologies of Agile requirements modeling in this article.

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Understanding Agile requirements modeling

Agile modeling is an iterative approach to software development. Project specifications are added in stages to factor in the changes in requirements. Developers develop software based on constantly evolving requirements.

AgileModeling defines it as “A practice-based methodology for effective modeling and documentation of software-based systems. It is a collection of values, principles, and practices for modeling software that can be applied on a software development project in an effective and lightweight manner.

Importance of Agile requirements modeling

Agile modeling is crucial for a project because it addresses all the needs of stakeholders. Since the development is iterative, the release also happens in multiple iterations. This helps the developer to build upon the earlier features and functionalities.

Each team has its specific objectives and functionalities to achieve from the software. The iterative process of development ensures continuous communication and coordination between teams. This enables the teams to achieve good design and technical merit along with fulfilling customer expectations.

Agile requirements modeling is the best way to reduce the rate of failure of software. This is because the developer can keep on improving in every iteration to deliver the best final product. Thus, they have the flexibility to update the software as and when requirements change.

Now, you know why Agile modeling is vital To develop software faster, on time, and as per the needs

Values of Agile requirements modeling

Agile requirements modeling is based on these five values:


It fosters communication between different functional teams to achieve a single goal. You can also factor in users’ feedback on previous iterations to improve. The goal is to develop the software as per stakeholders’ requirements, and communication helps in that.


Modeling the requirements makes the software development process easier. With models, you can explore the requirements in multiple ways and thus, understand them better. This makes the process of developing software simple.


Requirements modeling improves the understanding of stakeholders on each requirement. This leads to getting more feedback from stakeholders on any required changes. And, you just have to incorporate those changes to result in the desired software.


The software development process requires decision-making at every stage. Specifically, when it is an iterative process with evolving requirements, decision-making is crucial. This requires courage to make the right decisions for incorporating the changes.


Developers must have humility and respect for every other stakeholder in the project. This is because every stakeholder has a role to perform, which adds value to the project. Respecting everyone in the team ensures a better working environment to achieve the common goal.

Principles of Agile requirements modeling

The core principles of software development in Agile requirements modeling are:

A working software

Your primary goal must be to develop the software that works. Software that meets stakeholders’ needs in all aspects. So, you must avoid engaging in any other activity that does not contribute to working software.

Possibility of updating or upgrading the software

Your software must be robust, work effectively, and generate efficient results. It must be such that you can work on the next version of it or you can provide the required support for it. So, you must make the documentation, modeling, and support system ready for the future.

Make it simple

You must make your models as per the requirements set by the users. Do not add features or functionalities that are not demanded by customers. When new requirements come or existing requirements change, you can refactor your system later. So, make your models as simple as possible.

Evolve with changes

Change is constant – the ultimate truth applies in software development as well. Stakeholders change, requirements evolve, and understanding of market needs changes. You must embrace all these changes in your software development process to make an agile product.

Incremental change

As much as you must embrace change, try to make it incrementally. You must add the changes to your software one by one to develop and test each change. Developing a base model and then evolving it over time leads to success.

Evolve with changes

Change is constant – the ultimate truth applies in software development as well. Stakeholders change, requirements evolve, and understanding of market needs changes. You must embrace all these changes in your software development process to make an agile product.

Incremental change

As much as you must embrace change, try to make it incrementally. You must add the changes to your software one by one to develop and test each change. Developing a base model and then evolving it over time leads to success.

Multiple Models

Every software development process requires multiple models to reflect each aspect of the software. But it is not essential to develop each model for every software system you are developing. Some software aspects can be made from subset models that are based on the exact nature of your software.

Quality Work

You must ensure to put in your 100% to result in quality work. The actual users of the software will not like it because it does not suffice their requirements. So, do quality work to develop quality software that meets all stakeholders’ requirements.

Get customers’ feedback

Software development works best when you get instant feedback on your actions. So, you must work closely with your team members to get reactions to what you are doing. Also, working closely with customers who define software requirements can get you rapid pointers

Carry less burden

You become more agile when you travel with less burden to carry. This concept works very well in the case of software development. It is better to keep fewer models so that any change in requirements leads to less amount of work on software models.

You must also try to make the software models simpler, as it is convenient to work on them. If there are more or complicated models, for any changes in requirements, your workload increases. So, think of your time, money, and efforts before designing software more or complex models.

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Agile methodologies

Agile methodologies are nothing, but different software development approaches. These approaches focus on the changes around us that affect changes in the software. In these approaches, you can find continuous improvement, flexibility, and adaptive planning.

Some of the most common Agile methodologies include the following:


The different stages of development in Scrum methodology are called Sprints. Managers use this method specifically for software development. Three main roles exist in Scrum:

- Scrum master: He/she forms the team for the project and conducts meetings.

- Product owner: He/she is responsible for taking care of the product requirements in each iteration. He/she decides the priority of each functionality, maintains the list, and ensures its delivery.

- Scrum team: The team works as per the allocation by the Product owner to complete each sprint.

The Scrum methodology involves a 15-minutes meeting daily to decide the work plan for the day. With a daily meeting and daily deadline, this methodology leads to daily motivation to complete the sprint. Also, it allows the product owner to make changes in priorities of requirements to focus on more critical sprints.

Feature Driven Development (FDD)

This Agile methodology emphasizes features of the software. In this methodology, the software development team creates a list of features. For each feature, the team prepares a design and development plan. It develops iterations every two weeks.

With such a detailed design and development planning requirement, the team must be skillful enough to manage it all. This methodology follows a 5-step procedure:

- Developing a software model

- Building a list of features for this model

- Planning

- Designing

- Building

Lean Software Development (LSD)

This Agile methodology focuses on creating customer value. That is why it aims to reduce or eliminate waste. There are no explicit rules, guidelines, or procedures for this method. But, the focus is on adopting the key fundamental principles of:

- Swift delivery

- Remove waste

- Create knowledge

- Decide late

- Build quality and value

- Empower the team by respecting all

- Optimize the whole


A group of small Agile methodologies creates the Crystal methodology. A different color represents each of these small Agile methodologies. The differences lie in the project environment, team size, and system criticality. These colors are:

- Crystal Sapphire

- Crystal Diamond

- Crystal maroon

- Crystal Red

- Crystal Orange Web

- Crystal Orange

- Crystal Yellow

- Crystal Clear

The method has a smaller number of rules and not much administration and documentation. It believes in swift delivery of the software to customers that leads to customer satisfaction. It enriches interaction between team members and embraces symbiotic processes to ensure customer value.

eXtreme Programming (XP)

In this Agile methodology, the key focus is on customer satisfaction. For this, the software development team tests the software from Day 1. This enables to get customer feedback that can help in making improvements to result in highly productive software.

So, even if customers keep changing their requirements or demands, this methodology incorporates them all. That is why the software development team releases many versions of the system. Each version includes the step of either development or change in some functionality.

Because of the constant testing involved in this methodology, the process results in a more quality system. The team also gets complete visibility of the goals that they have to achieve at the time of receiving feedback. This, its main focus is on the ‘now’ and not on the ‘future’.

Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

The key principle of DSDM is the delivery of the product at frequent intervals. It believes that whatever changes you make to the system, must be reversible. It aims to complete the process of software development and ensure quality and timeliness.

The key principles of DSDM are:

- Agree on business requirements and work accordingly

- Ensure timely delivery

- Guarantee quality work

- Keep on iterating

- Keep constant communication

- Collaborate with team members

- Make incremental changes

- Establish control

By adopting these eight principles, the team can deliver quality software on time as per the business needs.


Transparency is the primary attribute of this software development Agile methodology. Kanban means ‘visual signboard’ and it is related to the concept of ‘just in time’. Herein, the software developer divides the stages into three: to do, doing, and done. There are three cards for each of these three states.

The developer uses these cards to depict the stage on a board, called Kanban board. When you take any step in the project, the developer assigns one of the three cards to it. This visual approach enables you to keep a track of the entire workflow and thus, track project status.


Whichever Agile methodology you use, you are sure to achieve faster outcomes. This is what an Agile methodology guarantees. Along with swiftness, you can also have more customer value and satisfaction. This is because different iterations make the software closer to customers’ requirements. Customer involvement at every iteration also reduces the possibilities of rework.

Now, since you are aware of the benefits of Agile requirements modeling, why not use it for software development? You can hire a professional IT consultant with skills in Agile requirements modeling. You can receive expert consultancy services on how to go about your software development process.

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FAQs About Agile requirements modeling

There are two categories of agile requirements modeling: 

  • Behavioral requirements: These are the functional requirements, including usage and interface. 
  • Non-behavioral requirements: These are the non-functional requirements, including security, interoperability, availability, and performance. 

The key steps include: 

  • Gathering requirements 
  • Designing 
  • Creating iterations 
  • Testing for any flaws 
  • Installing 
  • Receiving feedback and making changes 

About the Author

Pathik Shah


Pathik is a multi-disciplinary professional with more than 22 years of experience in compliance, risk management, accounting, system audits, IT consultancy, and digital marketing. He has extensive knowledge of Anti-Money Laundering rules and regulations, and he helps companies comply with legal requirements. Pathik also helps companies generate value from their IT investments.