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The Requirements Landscape

Kurt Bittner, of Ivar Jacobson International, has written a terrific white paper on the various approaches to capturing requirements. The mind map below was copied and pasted from Kurt’s white paper.

Reqs Landscape

In his paper, Bittner discusses the pluses and minuses of each of his defined approaches. For the text-based “declarative” approaches, he states the pluses as: “they are familiar” and “little specialized training” is needed to write them. Bittner states the minuses as:

  • They are “poor at specifying flow behavior”
  • It’s “hard to connect related requirements”

IMHO, as systems get more and more complex, these shortcomings lead to bigger and bigger schedule, cost, and quality shortfalls. Yet, despite the advances in requirements specification methodologies nicely depicted in Bittner’s mind map, defense/aerospace contractors and their bureaucratic government customers seem to be forever married to the text-based “shall” declarative approach of yesteryear. Dinosaur mindsets, the lack of will to invest in corpo-wide training, and expensive past investments in obsolete and entrenched text-based requirements tools have prevented the newer techniques from gaining much traction. Do you think this encrusted way of specifying requirements will change anytime soon?

  1. Ray
    November 20, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Most companies use OJT as the training method. The new method or tool introducers always assume that the company will pony up the time and money to “properly” train their people. When in reality the management is looking for the silver bullet, a tool or method that is revolutionary, easy to learn and easy to use.

    • November 20, 2009 at 9:00 am

      IMHO, it all comes down to the hierarchs not wanting to spend any money to train their people – no matter if they profess the BS that “our employees are our most important asset”. It’s funny, cuz these bozo managers will spend money on maintaining and upgrading their production machines and equipment, but not their people. they do, however, spend training money on themselves and other manager buddies. Hypocrisy rules in a mediocracy.

      I saw a recent Dilbert where the pointy-haired boss dude asked his engineers at a meeting who needed training to keep up with technology. A young and naive engineer said “I do”. The PHB then told him he was fired because the company wants people who already know new technology (LOL!).

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