Mastering the Requirements Process

3 Day Course (21 Hours)

Software has only one task – to satisfy the real needs of its user or customer. Building such software is relatively straightforward, providing the real needs in all their subtlety and concealment, have been discovered. Discovering the requirements is the task of the requirements process. 

This workshop presents a thorough and well-established process for uncovering the real requirements, testing them for correctness, and recording them clearly, completely and unambiguously. The process is used (with variations) by both agile and traditional projects. It starts with the business—for it is only within the business that you discover the real needs. When you know the real needs, it is then possible to determine the system that best serves those needs, and to specify the requirements or stories to get the right system built. 

This workshop shows you how to precisely define the scope of the business problem, to discover and involve the appropriate stakeholders, to use today’s techniques to learn what the business really needs, to innovate and find better ways to do the work, to communicate effectively and to write testable, unambiguous requirements.

You Will Learn How to:

  • Determine the real needs of your client
  • Uncover the essence of the business
  • Learn diverse elicitation techniques to uncover the real requirements 
  • Write agile stories that are more effective and accurate
  • Understand the role of the business analyst in agile projects
  • Write requirements that are complete, traceable, and testable 
  • Use a story map for more controlled development 
  • Understand the need for (and how to write) both functional and non-functional requirements
  • Precisely define the scope of the project 
  • Discover all the stakeholders and keep them involved 
  • Use prototypes and sketches to discover hidden needs
  • Get the requirements quickly, and incrementally 
  • Use state of the art requirements techniques 
  • Discover the right requirements and stories

Is This for Me?

Yes, if you want to be involved in delivering the right systems—the ones that get used. Your title is probably business analyst, systems analyst, product owner, project leader or manager, requirements engineer, consultant, product or program manager or similar. Team members on agile projects benefit from understanding how requirements are done in agile projects. 

Users, software customers and business stakeholders have found that this course equips them to participate more effectively in the requirements process, and so ensure that the end solution matches what they really need. 

What Will I learn? What Will I be Better at?

Project Blastoff

This builds a foundation for the requirements project by establishing its Scope-Stakeholder-Goals. The Blastoff gives you the precise scope of the business area to be studied; a testable goal for the project; and using stakeholder maps, you identify all the sources of requirements. Additionally, the Blastoff ensures the project is viable and worthwhile. 

Trawling for Requirements 

At the core of any requirements process is the ability to get people to tell you what they really need, rather than their perceived solution, or what they think you might be able to deliver. We show you how to use apprenticing, use case workshops, interviewing, brainstorming, and other techniques to discover exactly what the customers need—and want. 

This section introduces the brown cow model that gives the business analyst different ways of thinking about the problem, and allows the real problem to emerge. We also look at innovation—fresh thinking about the problem—and how it is a necessary component of any requirements process.  

Functional Requirements

Functional requirements are those things the product must do. You discover them by understanding the real work of the organisation, and determining what part of that work the automated product can best do. The automated product is specified using well-formed requirements. 

Non-functional Requirements

Non-functional requirements are properties the product must have, such as the desired look and feel, usability, performance, cultural, conformance, and so on. This section demonstrates the importance of correct non-functional requirements, and discusses the various types. It shows you how to use the template, and other methods, to find the all-important qualitative requirements for your product.

Requirements for Agile Projects

Requirements are just as important for agile projects, but you have to go about them differently if your solution is to match the real business needs. Effective agile projects understand that there are two parts: Discovery and Delivery. Discovery involves understanding the real work and the real problem to be solved to deliver the value proposition. It uses business stories to communicate the Discovery findings. Delivery focuses on the iterative part of the development and here we see how a story map provides the best guide to the product under development. We also look at how to write better, more effective stories.  

Prototyping and Deviations

Prototyping is a way of discovering requirements by using mock-up products. Here we look at the merits of both low and high-fidelity prototypes, and how they and scenarios are used to discover previously-hidden requirements. We also look at the wanted alternatives, unwanted exceptions and potential misuses of the product.

Writing Requirements

This section addresses the need to communicate requirements—how to formulate them and how to include an unambiguous fit criterion. This makes the requirement testable, as well as ensuring the implemented solution precisely matches the client’s expectations.

The Quality Gateway

Testing is most effective when it is done early in the development cycle. Here we demonstrate how to test requirements before they get anywhere near the developers. The Quality Gateway rejects out-of-scope, gold-plated, non-viable, incorrect and incomplete requirements.

Managing your Requirements

Requirements are the lynchpin of any development effort, and so have to be managed effectively. We look at strategies for your requirements project, the requirements knowledge model, how to prioritise requirements, and how to resolve conflicting requirements. We take a quick look at tools to help manage requirements. 

Your Requirements Process

You discuss and determine how to make your own requirements process as effective and efficient as possible. This involves incorporating your own organisational processes into the requirements activity. You build a demonstration of how you will use what you have learned when your return to your own work place.

Workshops

We want you to use this right away. Each of the teaching chapters is reinforced with a workshop where you apply the concepts presented in the seminar. Participants work in teams to discover, specify and evaluate requirements for a significant system by:

  • Defining the project’s scope, its goals and the relevant stakeholders
  • Identifying business use cases and product use cases 
  • Prototyping the product to find hidden requirements 
  • Defining functional and non-functional requirements 
  • Deriving the fit criterion, or measurement, for the requirements

There’s More . . . 

  • Your instructor is not an “announcer”. He or she is a practicing business analyst who is also an excellent instructor.  
  • The course is written to show real-world situations and provide real-world solutions. You will be able to relate your own work situation to the course. 
  • You can discuss your own requirements issues with your instructor. 
  • The course teaches that requirements come from understanding the business and its internal processes, and how the business interacts with its external customers. 
  • The course provides a realistic framework for requirements discovery, not a strict methodology. The framework provides the freedom and encouragement to discover new approaches to requirements.
  • The techniques are applicable regardless of your development method – agile or traditional. 
  • Teaching chapters are reinforced with hands-on workshops. 
  • As we progress in the course, we demonstrate the information captured using the Requirements Knowledge Model. 
  • You receive the Volere Requirements Specification Template (downloaded over 20,000 times) with advice on how to make this your own template. 

A free copy of Suzanne and James Robertson’s acclaimed book Mastering the Requirements Process – 3rd Edition, Getting Requirements Right.

Course Endorsement

This course is endorsed by IIBA®.

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Next Steps

Contact Us

Want to discuss running this course for your team?

For more information and for an informal chat, please contact us:

Tel:  (023) 9298 4546
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