What are the benefits of a Great SRS?

The IEEE 830 standard defines the benefits of a good SRS:

Establish the basis for agreement between the customers and the suppliers on what the software product is to do. The
complete description of the functions to be performed by the software
specified in the SRS will assist the potential users to determine if
the software specified meets their needs or how the software must be
modified to meet their needs. [NOTE: We use it as the basis of our
contract with our clients all the time].

Reduce the development effort. The preparation of the
SRS forces the various concerned groups in the customer’s organization
to consider rigorously all of the requirements before design begins and
reduces later redesign, recoding, and retesting. Careful review of the
requirements in the SRS can reveal omissions, misunderstandings, and
inconsistencies early in the development cycle when these problems are
easier to correct.

Provide a basis for estimating costs and schedules. The
description of the product to be developed as given in the SRS is a
realistic basis for estimating project costs and can be used to obtain
approval for bids or price estimates. [NOTE: Again, we use the SRS as
the basis for our fixed price estimates]

Provide a baseline for validation and verification. Organizations
can develop their validation and Verification plans much more
productively from a good SRS. As a part of the development contract,
the SRS provides a baseline against which compliance can be measured.
[NOTE: We use the SRS to create the Test Plan].

Facilitate transfer.The SRS makes it easier to
transfer the software product to new users or new machines. Customers
thus find it easier to transfer the software to other parts of their
organization, and suppliers find it easier to transfer it to new

Serve as a basis for enhancement. Because the SRS
discusses the product but not the project that developed it, the SRS
serves as a basis for later enhancement of the finished product. The
SRS may need to be altered, but it does provide a foundation for
continued production evaluation. [NOTE: This is often a major pitfall –
when the SRS is not continually updated with changes]

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