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“Shall” we require?

Does anyone know the history of the shall statement in requirements?

I hear people now and then complain about that word. I personaly don’t like it as it’s not a commonly used word in English. To that point, a client this week pointed out that when sending requirements off-shore to developers that do not speak English as a first language, it is important that requirements are written in basic English (think elementary/middle school). The requirements need to be written using words commonly taught in English language classes, and “shall” is probably not one of those words. Granted the other side of the argument was that if every requirement says “shall”, the developer is probably going to figure out quickly what it means.

So I suggest, why not use “will” or “must” instead?

But that all aside, I’m curious, what is the history of using “shall” in requirements? A quick search did not land me with any obvious answers to it so far.


  1. Shall we require - part 2 - Seilevel Blog - Software Requirements - May 13, 2016

    […] was reading through some of our older blog postings and saw the Shall we require post. Joy had asked the question of why use shall and there is a comment by Melissa about the confusion […]

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