Writing Better Requirements

Writing Better Requirements

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By (author) Ian Alexander, By (author) Richard Stevens

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  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 10mm | 272g
  • Publication date: 31 August 2002
  • Publication City/Country: New Jersey
  • ISBN 10: 0321131630
  • ISBN 13: 9780321131638
  • Sales rank: 210,878

Product description

Well-written requirements are crucial to systems of all kinds: you are unlikely to get what you want unless you ask for it. This book explains and demonstrates exactly what requirements are for, and how to write them

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Author information

Ian Alexander is an independent consultant specialising in Requirements Engineering. He has written several training courses on systems and requirements engineering. He has led hundreds of training courses on systems engineering, requirements, DOORS, and DXL, and has run numerous practical workshops on scenarios, trade-offs and requirements. He was co-author of an Addison-Wesley book on HTML 3 and its 2nd Edition on HTML 4. He is the author of the Scenario Plus for Use Cases toolkit, and is a well-known speaker and writer on scenario usage. He is currently on a technology project to investigate the reuse of specifications for control systems in the German automobile industry. He helps to run the BCS Requirements Engineering Specialist Group and the IEE Professional Network for Systems Engineering. He is a Chartered Engineer. Richard Stevens is the founder of QSS, the firm that launched the pioneering Requirements Management tool DOORS, the world's most popular requirements tool. He is the co-author of books on "Systems Engineering", "Software Engineering Standards", "Software Engineering Guidelines" and "Understanding Computers". In 1998, Richard was appointed as the first European Fellow of INCOSE, the International Council on Systems Engineering.

Back cover copy

Experience has shown us that investment in the requirements process saves time, money, and effort. Yet, development efforts consistently charge ahead without investing sufficiently in the requirements process. We are so intent to develop the technical solutions that we are unwilling to take the time and effort to understand and meet the real customer needs. --From the Foreword by Ralph R. Young, author of "Effective Requirements Practices"Who is it for?If you are involved in the systems engineering process, in any company -- from transport and telecommunications, to aerospace and software -- you will learn how to write down requirements to guarantee you get the systems YOU need.What skills will I learn?How to write simple, clear requirements -- so you get what you wantHow to organize requirements as scenarios -- so everyone understands what you wantHow to review requirements -- so you ask for the right things 0321131630B05282002

Table of contents

* Table of Contents 1. Introduction 9 * 1.1 Why do requirements matter? 9 1.2 Who are requirements for? 12 1.3 Different names for requirements 13 1.4 Different types of specification 14 1.5 The challenge of writing better requirements 15 1.6 The requirements writing process 18 2. Identifying the stakeholders 21 2.1 Different types of stakeholder 21 2.2 Your house extension: a simple case? 22 2.3 A practical approach to identifying stakeholders 23 Exercise 1: Listing the stakeholders 23 3. Gathering requirements from stakeholders 26 3.1 Possible techniques 26 Exercise 2: Asking 'why?' 28 3.2 Interviews 28 3.3 Workshops 32 3.4 Experiencing life as a user 36 3.5 Observing users at work 36 3.6 Acting out what needs to happen 36 3.7 Prototypes 38 4. Other sources of requirements 40 4.1 Possible sources 40 Exercise 3: Extracting requirements from source documents 44 Exercise 4: Extracting requirements from a memo 45 4.2 Getting requirements for mass-market products 45 4.3 User requirements in subsystem projects 46 5. Structuring the requirements 47 5.1 You need structure as well as text 47 5.2 Breaking the problem down into steps 48 5.3 Organizing requirements into scenarios 50 5.4 Examples of goal decomposition 52 Exercise 5: A structure for user requirements 53 5.5 Handling exceptions 53 Exercise 6: Could anything go wrong here? 54 Exercise 7: Exceptions 55 5.6 Examples and exercises in requirement structure 57 Exercise 8: Creating a heading structure 57 Exercise 9: The right document for each subject 57 Exercise 10: Wrongly placed requirements 58 6. Requirements in context 59 6.1 The user requirements document 59 6.2 Organizing the constraints 60 Exercise 11: Writing constraints 64 6.3 Defining the scope 64 Exercise 12: Restricting the scope 65 6.4 Requirement attributes 65 6.5 Keeping track of the requirements 67 7. Requirements writing 70 7.1 Quality, not perfection 70 7.2 Sketch, then improve 70 7.3 Anatomy of a good requirement 70 7.4 Guidelines for good requirements 71 7.5 Don't write like this 72 Exercise 13: Good requirements 75 Exercise 14: Writing requirements for familiar domestic systems 75 Exercise 15: Ambiguous requirements 76 8. Checking and reviewing 78 8.1 Checking the document structure with users 78 8.2 Checking the requirements 80 Exercise 16: Checking individual requirements 81 Exercise 17: Checking a set of requirements 82 8.3 Reviewing 83 8.4 Success - the reviewed document 85 Exercise 18: Reviewing 85 A: Answers to exercises 87 Exercise 1: Listing the stakeholders 87 Exercise 2: Asking 'why?' 87 Exercise 3: Extracting requirements from source documents 87 Exercise 4: Extracting requirements from a memo 88 Exercise 5: A structure for user requirements 88 Exercise 6: Could anything go wrong here? 89 Exercise 7: Exceptions 89 Exercise 8: Creating a heading structure 90 Exercise 9: The right document for each subject 90 Exercise 10: Wrongly placed requirements 90 Exercise 11: Writing constraints 91 Exercise 12: Restricting the scope 92 Exercise 13: Good requirements 92 Exercise 14: Writing requirements for familiar domestic systems 93 Exercise 15: Ambiguous requirements 93 Exercise 16: Checking individual re