Writing Good Requirements

Course Category: Fundamentals
Course Duration: 1 day
Course Credit: 7 PDU
Prerequisites: None

Writing requirements and delivering a well written requirements specification that is clear, correct, concise and complete is hard work. This work is often made harder because most people do not know how to write requirements. The fact that the most common reasons for project and product failures are problems with requirements supports this assessment.

In this one-day writing good requirements training course, you will learn what you need to do before you write requirements, best practices for writing good functional and non-functional requirements, and the techniques that can be applied and the attributes captured to improve the overall quality and understanding of your requirements.

You will learn to:

  • Write requirements to best practices and apply various techniques to avoid writing bad requirements
  • Quickly identify and fix bad requirements
  • Use rationale to clarify each requirement so that it is understood just one way and you have a history of why the requirement exists for purposes of change impact assessments, maintenance and verification
  • Use attributes such as verification method, allocation, and traceability to improve your requirement set
  • Write different types of functional and non-functional requirements
  • Validate your requirements as they are written to avoid preparing and submitting a bad requirement specification for review

Course Objective

  • Understand where requirements fit in the overall product life-cycle.
  • Understand the importance of Scope and how you can use it to better define your product.
  • Discuss the cause and impact of requirement defects on project and product success.
  • Learn how to write good requirements and avoid writing defective requirements.*
  • Discuss rationale and understand how it can be used to ensure requirements are understood only one way.*
  • Learn how defining the verification method for each requirement can be used to validate the requirement as written is testable.*
  • Understand levels of requirements and the basics of allocation and traceability between levels.
  • Learn the importance of using templates for preparing and organizing your requirements specification.
  • Understand the sources and categories of requirements – functional and performance, interface, operational, “-ilities” (such as reliability and supportability), physical, environmental, and design and construction categories.*

* includes examples and student exercises

Course Outline

Part 1:  Scope – Setting the Foundation

  • What is Scope
  • Why define Scope
  • Scope benefits

Part 2:  Impact of Bad Requirements

  • Communication problems
  • Why are there bad requirements
  • Exercise

Part 3:  Be Careful What You Ask For – Writing Good Requirements

  • What is a requirement
  • Characteristics of a good requirement
  • What a requirement must state
  • Requirement wording
  • Avoiding ambiguities and implementation
  • Exercise

Part 4:  Theirs But To Reason Why – The Value of Recording Rationale

  • Rationale – what, when, how & benefits
  • Validation vs. Verification

Part 5:  Levels, Allocation and Traceability

Part 6:  A Needle in a Haystack – Formatting Requirements

Part 7:  Sources and Categories of Requirements

  • Functional and performance, interface, operational, “-ilities” (such as reliability and supportability), physical, environmental, and design and construction categories
  • Exercise

Part 8:  Requirement Validation

  • Who does validation?
  • Continuous validation process
  • Inspections
  • Discrete validation process

Intended Audience

This training is critical for those responsible for eliciting, writing and reviewing requirements. Representatives of all the product’s stakeholders will be involved in developing, reviewing, and approving requirements, and this training will benefit them and your requirement writing and review effort. DO NOT let anyone review your requirements without this training or without at least providing them your standards for good requirements.

  • System Engineers (SE)
  • Requirement Engineers (RE)
  • Business Analysts (BA)
  • Subject Matter Experts (SME)
  • Program and Project Managers (PM)
  • Developers
  • Testers
  • Independent verification and validation (IVV) team
  • Those writing software requirements
  • Those writing business requirements
  • Those writing system requirements
  • Customers
  • Users
  • Marketing
  • Others needing the skills to write requirements

Build On This Training

If your organization is looking for additional training, also consider our 2- and 3-day seminars where we cover all the content of “Writing Good Requirements” and more.

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