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Mastering the Requirements Process Hardcover – 23 Jun 1999

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Amazon Review

Written for any software analyst or designer, Mastering the Requirements Process provides a powerful and useful guide to defining software requirements that are more complete and lead to overall better software. Written in an engaging style and filled with innovative advice, this book can help anyone who designs software for a living.

The heart of this book is the authors' Volere Requirements Process Model, a step-by-step guide to gathering your requisites. Throughout this book, the authors use this process to explicate a single case study--a system for a municipality that will optimise the de-icing of roadways during snowy weather. Along the way, this book provides a solid guide to identifying and refining requirements, both functional and non-functional (such as performance and ease-of-use).

There are many excellent ideas in the book, including the notion of "fitness" for your requirements, which can be later used to track whether software is successful. The book also wisely separates technology from requirements so that analysts can concentrate on understanding and modelling business problems instead of moving right away to the nuts-and-bolts of implementation. Even if you don't adopt the Volere model, any software designer can benefit from the concepts of trawling (a metaphor for the requirements gathering process), quality gateways (in which tentative requirements are evaluated for inclusion in a project) and the wise use of patterns to help simplify the process.

Anchored by numerous examples (including many samples of successful requirements), the book provides an appealing mix of new ideas along with a remarkably clear presentation. In short, Mastering the Requirements Process provides useful advice that can make the project specification building phase of the software process easier and more robust. It provides the first steps for improving overall software quality for your organisation. --Richard Dragan, amazon.com

Topics covered: Volere Requirements Process Model, project blast-off, determining requirements, user and stakeholders, project constraints, requirements constraints, use cases, business events, adjacent systems, innovation, trawling for requirements: apprenticing, interviews and videotape, functional and non-functional requirements, fit criteria, quality gateways, traceability, prototyping and scenarios, low and high-fidelity prototypes, patterns and requirements reuse, improving the requirements gathering process.

From the Back Cover

Shelf category: Software Engineering Mastering the Requirements ProcessSuzanne Robertson & James Robertson Delivering the software that your customer really wants. "Mastering the Requirements Process and the Volere specification template are real breakthroughs. They introduce the beginnings of science to a domain which had, up till now, been ruled by craft." Tom DeMarcoIt is widely recognized that incorrect requirements account for up to 60% of errors in software products, and yet the majority of software development organizations do not have a formal requirements process. Many organizations appear willing to spend huge amounts on fixing and altering badly-specified software, but seem unwilling to invest a much smaller amount to get the requirements right in the first place. This is a book for those who want to get the right requirements. Mastering the Requirements Process sets out an industry-tested process for gathering and verifying requirements. It provides the techniques and insights for discovering precisely what the customer wants and needs. "Mastering the Requirements Process shows, step by step, template by template, example by example, one well-tested way to assemble a complete, comprehensive requirements process." Gerald WeinbergThe specification template in this book provides the basis for your own requirements specifications. It guides you to the correct specification content as each part of the process reveals different aspects of the products functionality and properties. This book shows you how to make the requirement measurable and testable. By providing a measurement – a fit criterion – for each requirement, the requirements analyst can describe precisely what the customer wants, the designer can construct a product that exactly matches the requirement, and the tester can determine whether or not the final solution satisfies the requirement."The Robertsons" concept of fit criteria is – all by itself – worth the investment of your time to read the whole book. Fit criteria and the allied discipline of quality gateways enable you to build requirement sets that are measurable, provably correct and testibly complete." Tom DeMarcoFeatures:· The Volere requirements process – completely specified with a rigorous and detailed model. · A specification template that can be used as the basis for your own requirements specifications. · The requirements shell used for bringing rigor, tracability and completeness to requirements. · Checklists to help identify stakeholders, users, non-functional requirements and more. · Trawling techniques for eliciting requirements. · How to exploit use cases to determine the best product to build. · Reusing requirements and requirements patterns. · Examples showing how the techniques and templates are applied in real-world situations. · Accessible style, fully cross-referenced, numerous diagrams.The Authors:Suzanne Robertson is a leading figure in the world of systems analysis and requirements modeling. She is the roving ambassador for the British Computer Society"s Reuse Group and is on organizing committees for the International Conference on Software Reuse and Object Technology. James Robertson brings the experience of working and consulting on requirements with several hundred companies to this book. When his busy seminar schedule permits, James advises companies on how to adapt to a world where requirements are paramount. Suzanne and James are principals of the Atlantic Systems Guild, an international think-tank producing numerous books and seminars that are among the most successful in the software industry.Visit Addison Wesley Longman on the World Wide Web at:http://www.awl-he.com/computing/http://www.com/cseng/BarcodeBack of Jacket

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The most useful products are those where the developers have understood what the product is intended to accomplish for its users and how it must accomplish that purpose. Read the first page
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. T. Wood on 29 Jan. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is just a gem. If you've never read anything else about requirements, start here, and when you have widened your reading,you'll still find yourself stuffing it into your bag to re-read a half-remembered chapter on the train, months or years later. Of all the requirements books this is the one that I come back to for basic common sense. It's really about software challenges, but you can extrapolate the techniques to other fields; I just wish they'd write some more stuff like this for goofball systems engineers trying to mix up software, hardware, processes and people in complex supply chains. Then I'd be in systems heaven! Their other book is great too. (They should pay me for this copy)
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By hholliday@broner.co.uk on 3 Feb. 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book emphasises the rigour, evolutionary nature and structure of requirements. For those in a rush, the book has a very brief and useful summary at the end of each chapter. The Requirements Specification Template is at the heart/brain of this book. The template includes the Requirements Shell, which is filled-in for each individual requirement. The book explains the processes involved in producing the template. Requirements are structured in a very holistic manner and they have the concept of "potential requirements"; requirements are not real until they have passed through the Quality Gateway. On the downside, the book seems rather lengthy with much repetition but is worth its weight in gold for the Appendices: A "A Volere Requirements Process Model", B "Volere Requirements Specification Template". Also, the practical experience and humour of the authors shine through. Note: "Volere" is the Italian word for "to wish" or "to want".
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Format: Hardcover
This was a required book for a course that I undertook a few years ago on the topic of defining software products for a business process. The book itself is quite superb; well written, easy to follow, broken up into chapters of the right size to follow. It uses a slightly less formal page layout, with simple tips thrown in a regular intervals to make the text easy to read. Although I used it for academic research, it is very usable and could easily be the right guidance for any business.

Smaller businesses could trim some of the steps out a bit, but generally it is pretty straight forward. The overall process is based upon many years of research and gives excellent advice on the right way to approach and carry out the process of defining just what it is you need, before developing or buying a new software product to support your business needs.

The Volere system that they suggest could be used, and there are links to a website that provides more information; but there is nothing to stop you from developing your own to suit your specific needs. It has been identified that many organisation suffer with major software implementation filures, and this book could easily help you avoid some of the more common errors.

Quite simply, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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By J. MCATEER on 18 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've really warmed to this book and right now is the book I find myself referring to most often. I also have a copy of Discovering Requirements by Alexander and Beus-Dukic and they really are quite different books. Overall I would say Mastering Requirements is an easier read - it's well written and almost every paragraph has something useful to say. Discovering Requirements is also an excellent book however, I think it's slightly less accessible than Mastering Requirements.

There are one or two things which I don't feel comfortable with, like the use of the term 'Project Blastoff' which is a bit out of kilter with industry standard terminology; however the relevant content is spot on. Many of the diagrams have a kind of DIY, desktop publishing feel about them, however they do the job and really add value. The copy I have is hardback which makes a nice change from the usual paperbacks which quickly look ragged with frequent use. The content is laid out nicely and flows logically from beginning to end.

The authors really know their stuff and I have no hesitation in recommending this book - it's worth every penny.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By TomA on 29 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is exceptional value.

I discovered this book through considering taking the Open University (Distance Learning) postgraduate course M883: 'Software requirements for business systems' where it is the course 'set' textbook.

An OU student review of the course posted on the OU website states that there is little to be learned from the course that is not covered in the book. The course costs £995; the book £25. This is one person's subjective opinion, however, having studied (and passed) a few OU postgraduate courses myself recently I have come to the conclusion that OU postgraduate courses are stunningly overpriced and very bad value for money compared to comparable 'bricks and mortar - classroom delivered' university postgraduate courses.

I was intrigued by this students comment. I bought the book. I read it from cover to cover. As you would expect it is a dry read (it is an educational textbook after all!). It covers the ground in plain English and in a style that is easy to learn from, and assimilate.

If you are planning a career in Business/Systems Analysis or Product Development this is as good an introduction to the subject as you are going to find.

After you have read it, maybe you will do the course or maybe not. Either way for £25, you cannot lose.

Personally, I can think of lots of other things to do with £1000; beginning with reading the sister publication: Requirements Led Project Management.

And no, I am not in any way related to, or associated with the authors, publishers, Amazon or the Open University (other than as a registered, but dissatisfied, student).
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