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

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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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: 890,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

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.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 49 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars... worth reading but reads like a verbose work instruction 17 Nov. 2012
By Sachmo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did not find this book as good as other reviewers seemed to think.

To give a bit of a background, I'm work on a fairly complex robotics system with both hardware and software components. Determining system requirements is one of the major tasks that I perform on a daily basis.

I did find this book useful, as after reading it I had a much better perspective from the 5000 foot level of how requirements affect the entire business organization and product development process. It really drills down the importance of understanding what it is you are trying to build before designing a product. This book is 100% useful to engineers that focus on hardware as well as software - don't be fooled by the title.

My main gripe with the book is that it reads like an overly verbose company work instruction (imagine a dry and somewhat boring employee orientation manual). There are entire pages of material that could have been summed up much better in a paragraph or so, or with an effective picture. Many of the flow charts in the book for example read like your typical overly complex and useless business process charts that no one would ever actually reference when they do their job.

For the record, I don't have a problem with flow-charts, but they need to be simple to be effective, and despite what I stated above, there are a couple flow-chart gems in the book.

On to the specifics...

Section I of the book focuses on a very general overview of requirements, roles that different people perform in relation to requirements (i.e. designers, product managers, project managers, system analyst, testers, etc.). I found most of this material to be useless, except for comparing how my company structured itself versus standard practice across the industry. I imagine that anyone working at a company with any sort of formalized requirements process wouldn't get too much out of this section either.

Section II is a bit better. It begins with a focus on the business aspects of requirements. Without a clear scope document and business vision, the requirements are meaningless. It goes on to argue the importance of customer feedback during the requirements development process. I think some clearer explanation on gathering customer feedback, with specific case studies for how to drill down customer desires into tangible features to incorporate into a product would have gone a long way here... but I generally agree with the philosophy. Much of the use case / customer feedback chapters were too general to be useful though.

Section II also covers good practices in documenting requirements. I took this part for granted because my company has many of these practices already in place, but had I been working for a smaller company or startup, I would have found these organizational tips to be invaluable. This is really great material if you don't have any formalized process in place.

Section III covers a lot of issues related to version control, changing requirements during the development process, maintaining traceable requirements... This section is boring, and could have benefited by being more concise as well. Reading it did give me a better perspective of the requirements process however.

Section IV, a very short section, was really one of the best parts of the book. It ties together the other sections in some of the effective flow charts of the book as to how requirements management is a PROCESS, and one that lies at the heart of good product development. If you've ever been through a project and had a gut feeling that major decisions were being rushed without due consideration, or that the wrong tasks were being prioritized, this section will crystallize how things should have gone in that project. It covered a few things I hadn't seen before, such as measuring requirements volatility, which is a good way to get a handle on how well the product is defined over a long period of time.

Finally in the appendices, there are a couple hidden gems that cover the maturity level of a company, and what level of requirements management are actually NEEDED by company depending on the project. For a simple project, requirement management tools would be major overkill.

Overall a good book for managing requirements. People that work on large, technically challenging projects in large groups / organizations would find this book especially useful. It suffers though from being way too long for the information that it is trying to impart.

My review might a little harsh, as I could see myself re-reading a couple selected parts of this book from time to time, but I simply would never rate this book anything close to 5 stars, and I'm surprised by how high other reviewers have esteemed this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Practical Diverse Guide, with many Extras 23 Jun. 2011
By Michael Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Software Requirements" was an excellent read, with vastly more infomation and topics covered than I expected. Requirements were presented as an "ecosystem", with Good Practices, Setting Vision/Scope, and listening to the Customer well presented in opening paragraphs. Since software requirements cover such a vast area, no one particular domain was addressed in detail. Instead, their general traits were well addressed.

I particularly appreciated the added details for Requirements Manaqement, handling Changes, Traceability, and Prototyping. Also, an entire chapter was devoted to Risk Management, and thus risk reduction, which was of very practical benefit to me. Like everyone, I operate under intense schedule and budget pressure; if I had unlimited time and budget, I could simply iterate "forever". Instead, this book aptly provided practical day-to-day guidance for my real-life software projects. I will share the learned insight with my co-workers and clients alike. A very valuable read, with something for everyone. (My only suggestion would be to publish several sequels addressing unique needs of different domains.)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening Read for a Requirements Novice Like Me 14 Aug. 2007
By K. Parmalee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first purchased this book back in 2006, I went through most of it fairly quickly, and even downloaded some of Wiegers supplementary material from processimpact.com. Some of my colleagues took notice and together we formed a mini-workshop using the downloaded materials, which we used to gather requirements for an enhancement to one of the applications I assist in managing.

A merger and subsequent reorganization later, I found the time to finish the book. I recommend it for the developer or technical manager who finds themselves in a project that lacks thorough requirements development. The book uses appropriate tone and terminology to address its' intended audience; it is neither too simplistic nor overly dense. It has enough supplementary material to preclude the need to build a requirements development process from scratch without looking too much like a cookbook. Its' bibliography includes several classics and many references not familiar to me. All in all, a balanced book about requirements development and management.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and very practical book, I DO recommend it 9 April 2009
By Alex - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I do recommend this book, both for experienced of novice sofware developers or consultants for several reasons:

1. The content has a great balance between practical advice and theory, so it won't burden you with information applicable to 5% (e.g. huge projects) of your daily work
2. It is well written, both in content and edition style (format) so it is very easy to read and understand quickly
3. It has references to standards and literacy but it is just to illustrate and not so heavily that makes it hard to read

To sum up, its one of the very best SW Engineering books I've read so far and so that I do recommend it.

Alex Ballarin
IT Consultant
Cynertia Consulting, Barcelona, Spain
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