I have done tasks based on Java, but my seniors assigned me to collect requirements for creating a globalized bug tracking tool.

I have read many types of requirements from Wikipedia and the mindtools website, but it was very confusing.

What are the exact differences between functional requirements, operational requirements and technical requirements?

3 Answers 3


Functional requirements: What the system is supposed to do, process orders, send bills, regulate the temperature etc. etc.

Operational requirements: These are about how to run the system. Logging, startup/shutdown controls, monitoring, resource consumption, back up, availability etc.etc.

Technical requirements: These are about how the system is built. Which language, which OS, standards to be adhered to etc.

These days "operational' and "technical" requirements are usually bundled together as "non-functional requirements"—mainly to stop silly arguments as to whether "system will respond to a user request within 1 second" is an operational or technical requirement.

  • 5
    Should "system will respond to a user request within 1 second" be SLA?
    – lennon310
    Dec 15, 2020 at 13:03
  • 1
    @lennon310 Your requirement would be a system-level technical requirement. SLA is an agreement between a client and a service provider, and doesn't necessarily fit within this question regarding requirements. At the end of the day, yes - that could be a requirement as part of an SLA as an SLA usually outlines performance metrics.
    – cjnash
    Dec 15, 2020 at 16:04

My favorite way to reduce this is to think this way.

If I can use MSPaint to get a screenshot of what the user sees that's functional.

As soon as I involve a computer, a computer language, a computer network. It tends towards a technical specification.

Sometimes there's a lot of overlap. like I can draw a picture of a 747, but that is actually more of a technical spec, because the assumption is that the thing flies.

But really, users and management would be perfectly happy if it flew using fairy dust instead of jet fuel. So that's the functional part. But actually it's a quite technical picture.

Hope I haven't gone too far afield, but that's how I think about it.


When the bread is toasted, it pops out of the toaster.

Users should clean their toasters weekly, not stick forks in them, and bring the toaster in for repair when they emit black smoke.

The toaster will be built using tungsten alloy for its heating element. The outside shell will be stainless steel.

Functional requirements explain the function of the product. What is its purpose, what does it do? What will people use it for?

Operational requirements explain what human action is needed to keep the product operational. Maintenance, observing and fixing issues, ...

Technical requirements are product build decisions. The user doesn't care about those, but the product builder does.

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