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Writing effective requirements

Aug 11, 2014

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This slide show, which discusses characteristics of good user requirements, was presented during a systems analyst staff meeting at ncen.

  • Presented at a SA staff meeting at NCEN by Liz Lavaveshkul Source: TeleLogic
  • What is requirements management? The purpose of requirements management is to establish a common understanding between the customer and the project This agreement with the customer is the basis for planning and managing the project. The Capability Maturity Model for Software (CMM) from the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. www.sei.cmu.edu/cmm
  • Why is RM so important? Approximately 60 70% of projects failures result from poor requirements gathering, analysis, and management. -- Mela Group, March 2003
  • Why bother with Requirements? To show what results the users want To communicate and focus team members on clear goals To tell decision-makers what is required vs. desired To allow the design to be optimized
  • Why bother with Requirements? To supply confidence in the system THOUGHOUT its development To check that the system and all its parts do what is wanted To prevent over design or omitted needs To control development and outsourcing
  • Why do you need requirements management? The status of the project is never clear until we find weve missed project milestones We have very little formal development process The objectives always seem to change at the worst times Change is very costly and time consuming for us We have difficulty communicating intent between departments We end up over-engineering our solutions, which is costly Do any of the following statements seem familiar?
  • Why do you need requirements management? We have trouble testing against original intent and stated need We are never sure whether our tests are full and complete Our test cycles are often too long and costly Our customers often include design in the requirements We have difficulty organizing requirements into smaller manageable sets
  • Who should use a RM tool? Systems Engineers demand functionality Highly advanced requirements management and analysis Distributed users demand collaboration Analyst/Architect demand a common language Reviewers demand instant access from any location Interested in central set of requirements accessed globally Need for multi-disciplines to communicate more efficiently Not so advanced, mainly interested in review functionality
  • The Benefits of Requirements Management Satisfaction Integration Testability Communication Visibility Change control Quality Optimization Compliance
  • The Benefits of Requirements Management Satisfaction: real business needs met Integration Testability Communication Visibility Change control Quality Optimization Compliance
  • The Benefits of Requirements Management Satisfaction: real business needs met Integration: the pieces work together Testability Communication Visibility Change control Quality Optimization Compliance
  • The Benefits of Requirements Management Satisfaction: real business needs met Integration: the pieces work together Testability: know what to test the delivery against Communication Visibility Change control Quality Optimization Compliance
  • The Benefits of Requirements Management Satisfaction: real business needs met Integration: the pieces work together Testability: know what to test the delivery against Communication: consistent ideas of what the solution is for Visibility Change control Quality Optimization Compliance
  • The Benefits of Requirements Management Satisfaction: real business needs met Integration: the pieces work together Testability: know what to test the delivery against Communication: consistent ideas of what the solution is for Visibility: managers can take a global view Change control Quality Optimization Compliance
  • The Benefits of Requirements Management Satisfaction: real business needs met Integration: the pieces work together Testability: know what to test the delivery against Communication: consistent ideas of what the solution is for Visibility: managers can take a global view Change control: the impact of change can be assessed Quality Optimization Compliance
  • The Benefits of Requirements Management Satisfaction: real business needs met Integration: the pieces work together Testability: know what to test the delivery against Communication: consistent ideas of what the solution is for Visibility: managers can take a global view Change control: the impact of change can be assessed Quality: we know what quality means for the business Optimization Compliance
  • The Benefits of Requirements Management Satisfaction: real business needs met Integration: the pieces work together Testability: know what to test the delivery against Communication: consistent ideas of what the solution is for Visibility: managers can take a global view Change control: the impact of change can be assessed Quality: we know what quality means for the business Optimization: we deliver only what is wanted Compliance: demonstrate compliance with regulatory authorities and SOX
  • The Benefits of Requirements Management Satisfaction: real business needs met Integration: the pieces work together Testability: know what to test the delivery against Communication: consistent ideas of what the solution is for Visibility: managers can take a global view Change control: the impact of change can be assessed Quality: we know what quality means for the business Optimization: we deliver only what is wanted Compliance: demonstrate compliance with regulatory authorities and SOX
  • Types of Requirements User Requirements define the results the users expect from the system System Requirements define what the system must do to satisfy the users Design Requirements define all of the components necessary to achieve the system requirements The homeowner shall hear an alarm when smoke is detected. The alarm will produce a sound between 125 155 dBA. The alarm will be produced by part # 123-45-678.
  • Writing a requirement Uses complete sentences States subject and predicate Subject is a user type or the system under consideration Predicate is a condition, action, or intended result Consistent use of language Specifies: Desired goal or result (User requirement) Function (System requirement) Constraint (either) Contains a success criterion or other measurable indication of the quality
  • Language Use consistent language, for example: Shall, will, or must are mandatory Should is optional, but omission must be justified May is desirable Use consistent terminology Define terms use a Glossary Avoid using the same name for different things Avoid using different names for the same thing
  • Anatomy of a Good User Requirement The Internet user shall be able to access their current account balance in less than 5 seconds. Defines a user type Defines a positive end result To be verb Performance criteria
  • Anatomy of a Good User Requirement This requirement sentence identifies a specific user and end result that is wanted within a specified time. The Internet user shall be able to access their current account balance in less than 5 seconds. Defines a user type To be verb Defines a positive end result Performance criteria The challenge is to seek out the user type, end result, and success measure in every requirement you define.
  • Anatomy of a Good User Requirement It also defines the success in measurable terms: access account balance in less than 5 seconds. The Internet user shall be able to access their current account balance in less than 5 seconds. Defines a user type To be verb Defines a positive end result Performance criteria The challenge is to seek out the user type, end result, and success measure in every requirement you define.
  • Characteristics of a Good Requirement Correct Complete Clear Consistent Verifiable Traceable Feasible Modular Design-Free Positive
  • Characteristics of a Good Requirement Correct Complete Clear Consistent Verifiable Technically and legally possible
  • Characteristics of a Good Requirement Correct Complete Clear Consistent Verifiable Technically and legally possible Expresses a whole idea or statement
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