Important Software Testing Documentation: SRS, FRS and BRS

Alona O. by Alona O. on 05/3/2024

Important Software Testing Documentation: SRS, FRS and BRS

Despite how much we all hate writing documentation, it’s one of the essential steps in any industry, including software testing. Having clear documentation is very important. It’s like having a roadmap. When you know exactly what you’re doing and how things need to be done, there’s less of a risk of your team getting lost in translating the requirements and more chances of ensuring your software product turns out how you want it to. 

Documentation is a crucial part of any organization, not just startups, unlike what many companies wrongly believe. Big companies, especially when making significant changes, have just about as strong a need for solid documentation as smaller companies – if not more. 

Imagine, all of a sudden, Google decides to overhaul its tech system. What would happen if they did it without having documentation? A catastrophe. With millions of lines of code, complex algorithms, and countless interconnected services, any step aside could spell disaster, causing delays, budget overruns, compatibility issues, bugs, and glitches, and tarnishing Google’s good name and reputation. As you can imagine, it won’t be long before customers become disappointed with how the system works and move on to a more reliable platform. 

The same goes for smaller companies. Without clear software testing documentation, they risk building a product that doesn’t quite meet the needs of their target audience and ultimately losing a lot of money. Therefore, maintaining documentation is an absolute necessity to ensure you and your team are headed in the right direction. 

In this article, we’re going to dwell upon three main document types most commonly used in the world of software development and testing such as SRS (software requirement specification), FRS (functional requirement specification), and BRS (business requirement specification), including the critical differences between them. This will help you understand the intricacies of QA documentation and navigate it with more confidence and ease. Buckle up, and let’s get started. 

What Is Software Testing Documentation?

Test documentation is written guidance consisting of a series of reports describing a software product’s features and functionality and giving the test and development team a clear understanding of what needs to be built and how it should be tested.

With documentation at hand, QA departments can effectively plan and execute their testing efforts, ensuring they have the right coverage and resources needed to validate the software’s functionalities and requirements. Additionally, testing documentation serves as a reference point, reminding the testing team of the important details that require their attention. This way, they can track what has been done and ensure they stay within their testing strategy.  

Testing documentation is typically created at the point in time when the QA team gets involved in the software development process. However, it may undergo changes with version control depending on the peculiarities of the software project. All team members working on the project have access to this documentation, allowing them to stay on the same page. 

Now, let’s go over each of the test documents used in software development. We’ll focus on the main difference between FRS and SRS documents and the difference between BRS and FRS in software testing, as well as their advantages.  

What Is an SRS Document?

An SRS or software requirement specification is a document prepared by a team of system analysts to describe the software being developed, the business purpose and functionality of a particular product, and how it performs its core functions. 

The SRS in testing serves as the basis of any project, providing a framework that each team member is expected to follow. The SRS is also the basis of the contract with stakeholders (users/clients), which includes all the details about the functionality of the future product and how it should work. Software developers widely use the SRS during product or program development.

Delving into more details, the SRS document typically includes functional and nonfunctional requirements, and use cases. A good SRS document takes into account not only how the software interacts with other software or when it’s embedded in hardware but also potential users and their interactions with the software. It also contains references to tables and diagrams so that the team can get a better picture of all the product-related details. 

Overall, the SRS document is one of the most important types of testing documentation that helps team members from different departments stay in tune with the project’s progress and ensure all of its requirements are met. As a result, the team needs less time to develop the software and can minimize the expenses associated with software development.

How to create a software requirement specification

The SRS is one of the core documents in the process of QA that software developers and testing engineers refer to repeatedly during the course of a project. Below is a breakdown of the key steps needed to create a solid SRS document.

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1. Create an Outline

The first step to creating SRS documentation is to create an outline. This can be something you put together yourself, or you can use an SRS template readily available for download online. In general, this document should include the following information:

  • Purpose of the product;
  • Target audience;
  • Intended use;
  • Product scope;
  • Key terms and acronyms.

In addition to that, you need to have dedicated sections describing the product’s purpose, user needs, assumptions and dependencies, functional and nonfunctional requirements, and external interface requirements. 

2. Define the purpose of the product

Now you can specify in more detail what the product’s purpose is. Start by deciding who on the team is going to have access to this document and how they’re going to use it. As a rule, SRS documentation is used by testers, software engineers, and PMs, but it can also be used by stakeholders and managers from other departments. Drafting SRS with your target audience in mind will help you minimize the effort needed to adapt this specification later on. 

Further down, define the scope of the product and its objectives. This step is particularly important if the SRS is going to be used by team members from other departments, not just IT. Specify the goals you plan to achieve with this product and how these goals align with the long-term objectives of the business. 

Next, provide explanations for any terms or acronyms mentioned in the SRS. Describing all the key terms will make it easier for your team to understand documentation. Besides, if you hire new people, it will take them considerably less time to familiarize themselves with the project and its requirements, expediting the process of onboarding. 

3. Describe the software product you want to build

At this step, you need to provide detailed instructions for the product being built. To make it a bit easier, here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • “Why are you thinking of building this product?”
  • “Are there any particular problems it solves?”
  • “Who’s going to use it?”
  • “Is it a completely new product, or are you planning an update of the already created product?”
  • “Will this product function independently, or will it need to be integrated into any other third-party apps?” 

Answering these questions will help you ensure that you’ve covered every important aspect of your software product and that everyone involved understands its purpose and functionality. 

Besides the product’s purpose, it’s essential to determine the various scenarios for the use of the product. Think about how potential users will interact with your software solution and what particular needs it will fulfill for them. For example, when building an eCommerce platform, you need to factor in the needs of sales and marketing departments and end users. In contrast, to build a medical CRM, you also need to take into account patients’ requirements. 

Other than that, this section should detail assumptions and dependencies providing the team with a clear roadmap of the project’s direction and potential challenges. This includes any assumptions made about the product’s environment, user behavior, technological constraints, and dependencies on external factors such as third-party services or hardware components. By realistically assessing all of these factors up front, you’ll understand where your product might need to be revised and focus on the areas that matter most. 

4. Specify the product’s functional and nonfunctional requirements 

The final step of the SRS document is the most exhaustive but also one of the most important ones. Here you need to dive into details and cover each requirement as fully as possible. 

By and large, the SRS includes both functional and nonfunctional requirements. Start by specifying the product’s functional requirements, which outline what the software should do in terms of features, capabilities, and interactions. This may include:

  • Specific functionalities;
  • User roles and permissions;
  • Input and output data formats, and so on. 

If your product requires integration with other systems, specify external interface requirements as well. A sub-category of functional requirements, they detail how the software interacts with other components, such as APIs, databases, etc.

Then, describe the nonfunctional requirements, which describe how the software should perform in terms of:

  • Performance;
  • Reliability; 
  • Security;
  • Usability.

When defining the nonfunctional requirements, make sure to consider factors such as response times, scalability, data integrity, authentication mechanisms, and accessibility standards. 

5. Submit the SRS document for approval

Once all these sections are completed, the SRS document is sent to stakeholders for review and approval. By discussing the key points of the SRS together with project managers, testers, software developers, and team members from other relevant departments, you can eliminate ambiguity and misunderstandings and ensure that any concerns or questions are addressed and resolved.  

Advantages of writing a software requirement specification 

As we’ve stated earlier, having the SRS document is essential for companies of all scales that have to deal with specific kinds of requirement specifications. However, there are also a number of benefits, making documenting software requirements a crucial aspect of the software development process. Here they are:

  • The SRS helps facilitate the process of estimating the project’s cost, timeline, and risks.
  • It provides the team of developers and testers who work on the creation of a software product with a clear roadmap they can stick to.
  • SRS makes introducing new changes to the product easier as the team has a solid understanding of the project requirements.
  • It helps minimize development costs by ensuring that every new enhancement undergoes meticulous assessment before any further step is taken.
  • It serves as the foundation for the agreement between the IT team and the client, ensuring that the requirements for the project are fully understood.
  • It serves as the foundation for the agreement between the IT team and the client, providing them with a full range of requirements that must be met.

Common mistakes found in the SRS

  • No explanation of acronyms and terms. It may seem that your team is well aware of the terms used to describe the project, especially if they all actively took part in reviewing the SRS. But the truth is, things like these can be easily forgotten and, if you recruit new people, misunderstood. Therefore, including a glossary of terms in the SRS is important.
  • Questions and opinions instead of well-defined requirements. While it can be helpful to ask yourself questions when defining the product’s purpose, it’s the answers that need to be outlined in the SRS.
  • No measurable quality requirements. Quite often, the requirements leave out important details, such as what equipment needs to be used to measure the speed at which it operates, what speed is considered optimal for the test to pass, and what exactly is meant when they say “operates.” All these little details must be specified in the software requirements. 
  • No requirements. Sometimes the requirements may be completely absent. Here’s an example of what that might look like: “We want an attractive user interface with smooth navigation.” This information lacks detail and will ultimately lead to misunderstandings during the development process. 

What Is a BRS Document?

Now to the question of the BRS meaning in software testing. The BRS stands for a business requirement specification, which aims to show how to satisfy business requirements at a broader level. It’s an important document that describes the core product goals or needs the client is willing to achieve with the software or product, which is usually created at the very beginning of the product’s life cycle. Usually, the final version of the document is reviewed by the client to make sure that all business stakeholders’ expectations are correct. 

The BRS includes all the client’s requirements. Generally, it consists of the product’s purpose, users, the overall scope of the project, all listed features and functions, usability, and performance requirements. Tables and diagrams are typically not used in this type of document. As you can decipher from the name, the intended users of the BRS document are primarily upper and middle management, product investors, and business analysts.

How to create a business requirement specification

BRS in software testing is as important as SRS and FRS, albeit from a different perspective, as it covers the most critical business aspects of a software product. Let’s go over the process of writing a concise BRS document.

1. Identify stakeholders and gather requirements

First things first, identify all the stakeholders involved in the project, including clients, users, managers, and business analytics. When you know the group of stakeholders, you can move on to the next step of gathering detailed requirements, which is best done by meeting them in person or through video conference calls, depending on the project’s business model.  

2. Define the purpose and scope 

Next, determine the purpose of the software solution and its scope. Unlike SRS, here you need to focus on the problems and needs that the product aims to solve from a business perspective, such as increasing customer engagement, boosting sales, improving communication, etc. At this stage, it can also be a good idea to describe the background of the project so that those new to your team can better grasp the main idea. 

3.Document user requirements

Try walking in the shoes of your end users to understand what they may need from the product. Document their roles, responsibilities, and interactions with the software. This will help you understand their expectations and come up with features and functionalities that best fit their needs.

4. Create a realistic timeline for the main project milestones

Another important point to outline in the BRS document is the project timeline. To evaluate the length of the project and set deadlines, business analysts take into account factors such as resource availability, technical complexity, and potential risks. With this info, they can break the project into several key milestones, making it easier for the team to keep track of the project progress.

5. Include a brief cost-benefit analysis

Also, the BRS document should include a brief cost-benefit analysis, allowing stakeholders to estimate the investment required to spend on software product development and the potential returns. This should include expenses required for the project, such as the development team’s salaries, the cost of hardware and tools, software licenses, training, and the benefits the business may gain over time. In addition, it should have a short summary of the cost-benefit ratio that compares the anticipated benefits and expected expenses. 

Advantages of writing a business requirement specification 

Now let’s look at the advantages of keeping BRS documented.

  • Firstly, the BRS document ensures that the product requirements don’t conflict with the business objectives.
  • It helps identify potential risks in timeline and costs, reducing project delays and cost overruns.
  • The BRS serves as a communication tool, facilitating collaboration between the client and the development and testing teams.
  • The BRS lays the foundation for the development process, guiding software engineers in building a digital product that meets business needs and user expectations.
  • Finally, it provides a documented record of requirements, changes, and decisions, making progress traceability much easier. 

Typical mistakes in the BRS

  • Ambiguity. Ambiguous language or terms used throughout the BRS document can lead to confusion and misinterpretation of requirements. 
  • Lack of stakeholder involvement. Failure to involve all relevant stakeholders in the requirement-gathering process often leads to conflicting priorities and overlooked or incomplete requirements.
  • Overly technical language. Another common mistake is the use of excessively detailed or technical language that can make it difficult for non-tech-savvy stakeholders to understand the requirements. 
  • Failure to update. It often happens that a team doesn’t update the BRS document when requirements change over time, leading to inaccurate information and inconsistencies in development.
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What Is an FRS Document?

Aside from these two, one of the other most accepted specification documents used in software testing is an FRS. The FRS stands for functional requirement specification – a document that outlines all the functions the software or product must perform. To put it differently, it’s a step-by-step sequence that covers the essential operations required to develop a product and explains the details of how certain software components are expected to behave during user interaction. 

The main difference between the FRS and SRS documents is that the FRS does not include use cases. It might contain diagrams and tables, but this isn’t obligatory. 

Out of the three, the FRS is the most detailed document. In addition to explaining how the software should function, this document also covers business aspects as well as compliance and security requirements to ensure it complies with SRS and BRS documents. No wonder this type of document is often referred to as the outcome of close collaboration between testers and developers.

In the course of the software development life cycle, the FRS is used by software developers to understand what product is expected to be built, while testers use it as a reference point to determine the different test cases and scenarios in which the product should be tested.

As a rule, the FRS document is created by software testers, developers, project managers, or someone else with in-depth knowledge of the system and specific kinds of requirement specifications.

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How to prepare a functional requirement specification

Along with the BRS and SRS, the FRS is the core document of the software development and testing life cycle, so it’s essential to know how to do it the right way. 

1. Detail the project scope

To start off, this document should include the goals, functions, costs, tasks, and time frames of the project. In other words, you should go over each step of the project in detail, providing a comprehensive explanation of what needs to be done and when. 

2. Specify risks, assumptions, and limitations

Furthermore, consider the potential risks that may hinder the development of a software product and affect its functional design. By analyzing risks and possible limitations, as well as building assumptions, you’ll have a higher chance of eliminating bottlenecks and developing a software product that will be a success. 

3. Describe specific requirements, including system and database attributes 

That’s where you need to provide details on how software is expected to function and what problems it’s going to address. Most often, this is done with the help of visual tools, such as sitemaps, wireframes, and screen flows, that help picture the key functionalities of the product and understand their impact on user experience. 

4. Include use cases in text or diagram format

Next, provide detailed use cases, demonstrating the product’s functionality from the user’s perspective. This step involves describing various scenarios in which the software will be used, including the actions users take and the system’s responses. Use cases can be presented in text format or through diagrams, such as UML (Unified Modeling Language), to illustrate user interaction and the software components. 

5. Provide user stories

Another essential component of the FRS is user stories. Informal descriptions of features or functionalities, user stories allow testers to look at the software product from the perspective of an end user and evaluate it against the functional requirements. For example, a user story for an eCommerce platform might be: “As a registered user, I want to be able to view my purchase history so that I can track my orders and manage returns more efficiently.”

User stories help prioritize features based on their importance to end users and provide a clear understanding of the user’s needs and expectations. They also serve as a basis for defining acceptance criteria, which specify the conditions under which a user story will be considered complete.

6. Specify work breakdown structures or functional decomposition of the software

By this, we mean breaking down the project into smaller, manageable components or tasks to facilitate project planning, scheduling, and resource allocation. Determine any dependencies between tasks or components and organize these tasks into a hierarchical structure based on their objectives and priorities. 

7. Create software and design documents and prototypes

Finally, you need to provide software and design documents along with prototypes. These are the most valuable resources of QA documentation, providing product owners and IT specialists with detailed information about the software’s architecture, design, and implementation of the software. 

Advantages of writing a functional requirement specification

Writing a functional requirement specification provides numerous benefits that contribute to the success of a software development project. Let’s look at some of them:

  • The FRS eliminates confusion due to misunderstanding about what goals need to be achieved.
  • Similarly to SRS, this software testing document helps identify potential obstacles that may hinder the development process, allowing project teams to proactively address challenges and mitigate risks.
  • The FRS serves as a guide for development and testing, providing the client with confidence that the software product will be built to the specified requirements as intended. 
  • This document helps prioritize features based on their importance to end users, allowing the software development team to work more efficiently and deliver the most valuable functionalities first. 

Mistakes common for the FRS

  • Incomplete scope of work. Failing to fully define the scope of work can lead to missed functionalities and gaps in the final product.
  • Failure to satisfy all the requirements. Inadequate analysis or oversight may result in certain product requirements not being addressed correctly.
  • Low level of user involvement. If users aren’t actively involved in defining the requirements, the odds are high that the final product won’t meet your target audience’s expectations. 

Ignoring security requirements. Not including compliance requirements in the FRS can lead to security vulnerabilities or non-compliance issues, posing risks to the business and even leading to lawsuits.

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The Key Differences Between Different Types of QA Documentation

Now that we’ve covered all three types of QA documentation used in software testing, along with their advantages and templates, it’s time to take a closer look at their distinct differences. Find a comparison table between the SRS, BRS, and FRS below:


PurposeDescribes technical requirements, functionality, and system behaviorDescribes business goals, market needs, and client expectationsOutlines functions and operations that the software or product must perform
FocusTechnical details, system requirements, user interactionsBusiness objectives, client needs, market analysisFunctional operations, behavior of software components
AudienceDevelopers, testers, technical stakeholdersUpper management, investors, business analystsDevelopers, testers, project managers, business stakeholders
ScopeDetailed technical specifications, system architecture, data flow diagramsOverall project goals, user roles, features, usability, performanceSequence of essential operations, software components behavior
FormatDetailed technical documentation, diagrams, use casesNarrative format, outlining business objectives, user needsNarrative format, use cases, diagrams (optional)
User InvolvementLimited beyond technical teamsActive involvement from business stakeholders, end usersLimited involvement, but user stories may be included
Key ComponentsFunctional requirements, non-functional requirements, system constraintsPurpose, users, project scope, features, performance requirementsGoals, functions, costs, tasks, limitations, system attributes

Who Should Write Testing Documentation for Software Projects?

As we briefly touched on a bit earlier, software testing documentation can be written by several members of the team. In fact, sometimes, the more people involved, the better, as you can address more issues and cover a wider range of requirements, eliminating roadblocks down the road. 

However, the key point here is that the instructions must be written by competent people. Whether you decide to use project managers, technical writers, testers, or developers, it’s critical that they have domain expertise and experience writing relevant documentation. Otherwise, mistakes are inevitable. 

Based on our own experience and the experience of other software companies, writing an SRS is usually assigned to technical writers, software engineers, or system architects, although depending on the specifics of the software, it can also be written by a business analyst. 

Business analysts are responsible for the BRS document. They create a draft of business requirements and review it with project managers or product owners to ensure alignment with business goals and objectives. Once finalized, the BRS is reviewed by other key figures of the team from various departments to ensure full coverage of business needs.

As for the FRS, it’s usually a joint effort between testers and software engineers. Testers typically define functional requirements based on user scenarios and interactions, and developers complement them by adding information about the technical feasibility of implementing these requirements. 

Overall, the responsibility for writing testing documentation should rest with people who have a deep understanding of both the technical aspects of the software and the business goals and can use language that makes that documentation easily accessible to all parties involved. For this reason, both startups and large enterprises working in software development environments should seek assistance with QA documentation.  

TestFort can help you with that. Our team has extensive experience in writing various types of testing documentation, including SRS, BRS, and FRS. We understand the importance of clear documentation to ensure the success of software projects and work collaboratively to create documentation that accurately reflects the requirements, goals, and specifications of your specific software project. Whether you need assistance with technical writing or help developing testing strategies, checklists, or user guides, TestFort has the expertise you need. 

Bottom Line

Building a successful software product or service requires a rigorous testing process and detailed documentation. Therefore, whether you test software products using your in-house resources or collaborate with technical partners, FRS, SRS, and BRS should become a regular part of your quality assurance routine. By creating comprehensive software testing documentation, you ensure that everyone on the team can quickly get familiar with the product you want to design and work together to achieve your business goals and deliver a superior product to market. 


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Written by
Alona O., Сopywriter at TestFort

A copywriter with 13 years of experience in marketing and tech-related fields. Loves researching about topics and investing them in depth. Has a passion for learning new things and expanding her horizons. Her greatest joy is bringing value to readers by imparting her knowledge and insights through well-researched and compelling content.

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