Requirements analysis and management is finally receiving the attention it deserves as a key factor in the success of systems and software development projects. And with this new attention comes a pragmatic guide to proven industry practices for emerging and fulfilling customer requirements. More than just an idealized view of the topic, Effective Requirements Practices addresses both managerial and technical issues that determine the success--or failure--of a project. The requirements practices described in this book enable you to redirect resources to satisfy customers' real business needs. Together, these practices provide a proven framework and process that help keep projects on the right track and ensure that requirements are addressed properly throughout a project's life cycle.
This book demonstrates proven methods and techniques. Topics covered include:
* Strategies and methods for getting to the "real" customer requirements
* Developing and improving a requirements process
* The roles and responsibilities of the Joint Team for requirements elicitation
* Designing system requirements with the system architecture in mind
* Maintaining effective communication among team members
* Maintaining a set of work products
* Requirements verification and validation
* Accommodating changes in requirements throughout the project
* How the recommended requirements practices utilize the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) framework
* Achieving an environment of continuous improvement and mutual support of one another
Also provided is a sample process that has been used in industry and deployed and tailored on dozens of projects. In addition, Effective Requirements Practices offers you recommendations for incorporating industry best practices into the development effort.
You will come away from this book well equipped to better satisfy your customers' needs.
Review By: Erica Kolatch 10/13/2003This book contains a rich collection of material comprising the current thinking on many aspects of the entire software/systems engineering process. The author draws from many of the classic sources, and frequently indicates that his thinking, and therefore the final text of his book, was changed based on expert reader comments on draft versions.
He breaks requirements management into ten primary practices. These range from establishing joint team practices and defining real customer needs, through the importance of a requirement process, iteration in the development of both requirements and architecture, and the importance of validation and verification. Along the way, he touches on such project management subjects as effective communication, management using familiar methods, and development using known tools and practices. Young draws extensively on his experiences at Litton PRC, brings in real world examples, and makes suggestions for implementing the "best practices" he suggests.
The text includes an extensive bibliography, a comprehensive glossary of the majority of the terms used in the text, and a list of acronyms and their meanings. The book is accompanied by an invaluable CD-ROM containing many of the tables, figures, and examples included in the text. He provides templates for essential documents, as well as key tables and reference material in reusable form.
Young writes in an almost conversational style, asking questions of the reader, and then providing his take on the answers. His chapter format, in fact the format of the entire book, is clear and concise. You always know where you are, and where you are going. This makes it very easy to jump forward to a section of particular interest, or to easily return to a topic requiring re-reading.
Overall, this book was both a useful refresher, and a provocative introduction to elements of requirements practices and requirements process improvement. Ralph Young presents a broad range of information in a very useful format. Every chapter starts by telling you where you are going, and ends by telling you where you have been. Along the way, he includes useful examples, provocative statistics, and excellent advice. I found Chapters 4-6 to be very useful. Least useful to me was the chapter on maintaining project communication. Sections on effective e-mail and effective meetings more rightly belong in a management text. The inclusion of the CD-ROM provides a valuable tool for experimenting with some of the recommended process improvements.
In the preface, Young makes recommendations on which sections would be most useful to different types of readers. I have no argument with most of these, and agree that his material is useful for customers, practitioners, and management. In particular, there is much here that is useful to organizations interested in improving the requirements process, and controlling project creep. However, I do not think this book would make a good text for a requirements course on an undergraduate level. Most of the material on requirements process is presented in a very sophisticated form, with implicit assumptions about prior knowledge. As supplemental reading in a graduate level course, I would strongly recommend it.
I had two complaints. First, I wish he had given me more of his words, and a little less of others. I found his extensive quoting of material from other sources distracting. Second, and on a much less serious note, I finally became distracted by the overuse of the word "utilize."
This book is both a useful refresher, and a provocative introduction to elements of requirements practices and requirements process improvement. Ralph Young presents a broad range of information in a very useful format. Every chapter starts by telling you where you are going, and ends by telling you where you have been, with useful examples, provocative statistics, and excellent advice along the way.