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Software Requirements (Pro-Best Practices) Paperback – 8 Mar 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 2 edition (8 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735618798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735618794
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 3.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 583,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Karl E. Wiegers is a leading speaker, author, and consultant on requirements engineering, project management, and process improvement. As Principal Consultant with Process Impact, he conducts training seminars for corporate and government clients worldwide. Karl has twice won the Software Development Productivity Award, which honors excellence in productivity-enhancing products and books.


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If you've ever been on the customer side of a conversation like this, you know how frustrating it is to use a software product that doesn't let you perform an essential task. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L M McCance on 21 Aug 2005
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in learning more about pure requirements analysis then this is a great point of reference. Wiegers assumes no previous knowledge so the user is lead through chapters providing overviews of key analysis skills, the role of the requirements analyst and key analysis techniques.
In software apporach terms this book will take you up to the formation of a 'Vision and Scope' document and Requirements Specification. It does not focus as much on Systems Analysis (which is a positive as there are many other books on that subject). Instead it focuses on the early stages of software development and walks the reader through a case study based on a new cafeteria system.
I find this book useful as a quick and easy reference for training and mentoring new analysts. There is very little technical jargon and the key messages are clear and well presented. For experienced analysts it is still of use as a reference text but many chapters will simply be skimmed through.
The only criticisms I have is that it doesn't cover the role of the requirements analyst in more contemporary agile software approaches. However, Wiegers has collated together a strong collection of knowledge and advice and it is a worthwhile addition to anyones analysis book collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sandra on 9 April 2008
Format: Paperback
"Software Requirements" by Karl Wiegers is a book on how to keep all the turnaround of analysis process under control. For this intelligent and useful book, Wiegers goes over the last ten years of technical literature on the multiple aspects of analyzing and designing software, managing project risks and requirements changes. From all this literature Wiegers takes only working methods, practical tips, useful tools and stimulating solutions, reabsorbing all in a complex but smooth methodology that assigns to the analyst a role of collaborator and guide for business and project managers, users, developers and testers all along the process of software production - that is, a process of shaping and implementing requirements. The customer/analyst partnership transforms at first business needs in high level requirements through the formulation of a vision and scope document; then analysts and user representatives descend from the context diagram to the product details with the help of use cases and prototyping; finally a software requirements specification is drafted and handled through version control, requirements estimation, prioritization, inspection and tracing, and the adoption of a requirements change control process. This book can effectively help analysts to rethink and reshape the way to face all the difficulties of their work, from the very first contact with customers and their needs. They will recognise many frustrating situations - and find hints and instruments to govern them. Surely a book worth the money.
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By Paulo G. Pedro on 16 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback
I've read it quite easily and appreciated both the contents and accessible language used. Easy to understand.

Looking forward to read part II (more about SR).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 41 reviews
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Best Practices in Requirements Engineering. Must-Have. 12 Oct 2003
By Harinath Thummalapalli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
How do you know if you have good software requirements? Some use the simple technique of checking if the requirements definition is complete, clear, and consistent. Every book on requirements engineering has some variation of this theme and in this book, you are advised to check if the requirements statement is complete, correct, feasible, necessary, prioritized, unambiguous, and verifiable.
If you haven't used techniques like this one before, it is definitely a good idea to pick up a solid book like this one on the best practices in requirements engineering. There are several good books in the market on the topic of software requirements and this is one of the best ones out there.
I found three other books that complement this one - Requirements Engineering by Kotonya and Sommerville (used more as a textbook), Managing Software Requirements by Leffingwell and Widrig (part of the Object Technology Series), and Effective Requirements Practices by Ralph R. Young (comes with a CD-ROM).
If you are a project manager, business analyst or anyone that has a lot to lose because of bad requirements, you will benefit tremendously from this current book being reviewed. The book is divided into three parts - What and Why, Development, and Management of Software Requirements. The part names are self explanatory. This book is very readable and is full of best practices that stand true to their name!
The unique things about this book - in chapter 2, the author outlines the Requirements Bill of Rights for Software Customers and the Requirements Bill of Responsibilities for Software Customers. When I first read this, I felt like every customer has to read this before attempting a software project. Chapter 10 has an excellent description of different diagrams useful in requirements documentation - DFD (data flow diagram), ERD (entity-relationship diagram), STD (state transition diagram), dialog map, and class diagrams. I think all books on software requirements should ideally have some variation of these topics.
Important topics like traceability are given an excellent treatment in this book but the only thing lacking is how to manage requirements in software processes involving iterations (the mainstay of the Rational Unified Process and other newer software development methodologies). There are only 13 pages devoted to this topic and even then it is indirect - Chapter 12: Risk Reduction Through Prototyping.
Otherwise, I have no complaints about this book and I believe that it is a basic to intermediate in level (definitely not an advanced book). Overall, I believe it indeed captures the best practices in the field of requirements engineering. It is also a good price, so enjoy!
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Managing requirements in real life 24 Mar 2003
By Moshe Reuveni - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book faces a lot of competition from other books, which are supposed to tell you how to manage software projects in general, and the requirements gathering process in particular.
However, what sets this book apart from the vast majority of others is its absolute relevance (as opposed to being an arbitrary textbook). For example, this book recognizes the fact that often enough process improvements are deferred due to political reasons alone. The more you read it, the more you realize it addresses the same problems you have encountered while managing the requirements process.
But what really sets this book apart is that it actually tells you how to solve these problems, by offering feasible solutions that could be easily implemented, gradually, in real life scenarios. This, basically, means that the book could actually HELP you.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Great practical advice on requirements 11 Aug 2003
By Chris Kessel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm somewhat of a software engineering/process geek. I find the process of creating a product more interesting than the actual code these days (though I like to code). Wiegers' book is THE bible, in my opinion, for eliciting and maintaining requirements.
He covers the issues involved in gathering requirements and keeping them up to date, often offering multiple ways to resolve issues. Wiegers, unlike many academic oriented books, fully acknowledges the political and cultural difficulties that arise when trying to institute a requirements program. Much of his advice is practical and he gives good pointers on the highst ROI practices, so you can inject a little at a time, rather than trying to change culture wholesale.
I'd give a 4.5 out of 5 if I could, due only to the "Next Steps" sections at the end of each chapter. The "Next Steps" are supposedly be small steps you can take to start using the advice Wiegers offers. Unfortunately, most of the steps start with "Take a page/chapter from your current requirements document...." I've worked at few companies that even have a requirements document, so I'm not sure how useful the "Next Steps" really are.
But, that complaint aside, this book is the best combination of reference information for techniques and advice on how to use them on the job.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Great treatment of traditional, rigorous requirements mgmt 28 July 2003
By Shaun W. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When it comes to the development life cycle, there are generally two broad schools of thought: rigorous, waterfall approach; and the agile, iterative approach. This text sits in the heart of the rigorous, waterfall approach.
Iterative approaches are proven to be more effective at eliciting requirements, a fact which is somewhat embraced in the author's discussion of use cases; however, Jacobson originally envisioned use cases to replace other requirements documents as a central element in elicitation, rather than just being a quick diversion.
In reality, most of us strike a middle ground. Projects can't be run in most organizations without rigor, and Software Requirements is a thorough treatment or requirements development and management. The well-organized book is a quick read, and is filled with prescriptive advice, risks, sample forms, and checklists that can be applied to your requirements effort. No wonder the author won a Software Productivity Award for the effort!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A great first book on Software Requirements; from elicitation to verification 18 Oct 2006
By Frank J. Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In my opinion the hardest part about programming is gathering and analysing a complete, accurate and verifiable set of user requirements.

Unfortunately, good software requirements are also key to a project's success.

Those good at programming have laser-like focus and great analytical skills - usually traits associated those who are tend to be introverted / thinking and judging-oriented (cf. Myers-Briggs). Such people often find they have a tough when it comes time to gathering requirements e.g. listening and talking with users, understanding what they want, gaining their trust etc. - usually traits associated with those who are extroverted / feeling and perception-oriented.

As a person with some Introvert / Thinking and Judging tendencies, this book was the book that set me right and gave me a process I could follow and reference at any time during the requirements phase.

With the process and templates in place I can focus more on listening to what is being said and more importantly what is NOT being said (e.g. implicit or non-functional requirements)

The book is loaded throughout with best practices on

- Requirements Management (e.g. use change control)

- Project Management (e.g. manage requirement risks)

- Requirements Elicitataion (e.g. identify use cases)

- Requirements Analysis (e.g. create prototypes)

- Requirements Specification (e.g. Requirements traceability)

- Requirements Verification (e.g. Write test cases from requirements)

and so much more . . .

The book also contains some very helpful templates (e.g. Project Vision

template, Use Case template, and best of all a template Software Requirements Spec that seems to cater to all needs etc.). Each of these are great time savers.

For me this book covers 80-90% of my requirements questions and concern. I haven't found another requirements book that is as broad and approachable as this. Glad to see it in it's 2nd edition although I doubt there was much he could have added.
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