If you develop software without understanding the requirements, you're wasting your time. On the other hand, if a project spends too much time trying to understand the requirements, it will end up late and/or over-budget. And products that are created by such projects can be just as unsuccessful as those that fail to meet the basic requirements.
Instead, every company must make a reasonable trade-off between what's required and what time and resources are available.
Finding the right balance for your project may depend on many factors, including the corporate culture, the time-to-market pressure, and the criticality of the application. That is why requirements management--gathering requirements, identifying the "right" ones to satisfy, and documenting them--is essential.
Just Enough Requirements Management shows you how to discover, prune, and document requirements when you are subjected to tight schedule constraints. You'll apply just enough process to minimize risks while still achieving desired outcomes. You'll determine how many requirements are just enough to satisfy your customers while still meeting your goals for schedule, budget, and resources.
If your project has insufficient resources to satisfy all the requirements of your customers, you must read Just Enough Requirements Management.
Review By: Chris A. Grady 12/08/2005
Alan Davis' "Just Enough Requirements Management" provides guidelines into the requirements gathering process. Davis begins by defining the subject of the book: "A requirement is an externally observable characteristic of a desired system." He then describes and gives brief guidelines of valid requirements, providing short examples that lead to validation. The writing style is very easy to understand, and Davis provides industry standard definitions where necessary.
Davis lays out the text of "Just Enough Requirements Management" in a straight-forward manner, and covers subjects from gathering requirements to the triage phase. He spends a lot of time in the triage phase, discussing requirements and their various stages in greater detail, as well as other considerations such as costs and possible return on investment. He then discusses the requirements specification and the roles and contents of a requirements document.
He concludes the book by discussing what happens as the requirements evolve over the development cycle. Each chapter ends with a section that explains what you should achieve as a result of performing the chapter's step in the requirements gathering process. The final chapter gives the reader quick summaries of the key points discussed: elicitation, triage, specification, and change management. The extensive index allows the reader to find key points quickly.
I liked the way the author spelled out the common sense ideas in an orderly manner. The writing style Davis uses equals a lecture series on requirements management. He uses fictional and personal anecdotes to describe the ideas, which makes for an easy learning experience and skips the boredom found in some other texts. The information is laid out in a recipe-like format, so you know what to expect next.
"Just Enough Requirements Management" does not discuss much in the way of QA or testing, rather, the author goes into the quality of the requirements and requirements document. If QA is involved in requirements management, as it should be, this book provides a good foundation on key ideas. It also allows the tester to know what is going on in the requirements discussion.
This book is not long, and the diagrams are at times overly simplistic and unnecessary. However there is enough information packed in the book to make it a good investment. It is important to note that you can't quickly jump to a topic and expect to understand the concepts, since each builds onto the previous. Whether you are already involved in requirements management or are just getting started, "Just Enough Requirements Management" explains the process perfectly.