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In this module, we’ll discover effective techniques for managing the requirements engineering process all the way through the development cycle. It is concerned with the definition of software requirements and the products generated in that definition. The process involves requirements identification, requirements analysis, requirements specification, requirements communication and development of acceptance criteria and procedures.

Introduction

In systems engineering and software engineering, requirements analysis encompasses those tasks that go into determining the requirements of a new or altered system, taking account of the possibly conflicting requirements of the various stakeholders, such as users. Requirements analysis is critical to the success of a project.

Systematic requirements analysis is also known as requirements engineering. It is sometimes referred to loosely by names such as requirements gathering, requirements capture, or requirements specification. The term "requirements analysis" can also be applied specifically to the analysis proper (as opposed to elicitation or documentation of the requirements, for instance).

Requirements must be measurable, testable, related to identified business needs or opportunities, and defined to a level of detail sufficient for system design.

Requirements process

Software requirements fundamentals

Definition of a software requirement

At its most basic, a software requirement is a property which must be exhibited in order to solve some problem in the real world. This session refers to requirements on “software” because it is concerned with problems to be addressed by software. Hence, a software requirement is a property which must be exhibited by software developed or adapted to solve a particular problem. The problem may be to automate part of a task of someone who will use the software, to support the business processes of the organization that has commissioned the software, to correct shortcomings of existing software, to control a device, and many more. The functioning of users, business processes, and devices is typically complex. By extension, therefore, the requirements on particular software are typically a complex combination of requirements from different people at different levels of an organization and from the environment in which the software will operate.

An essential property of all software requirements is that they be verifiable. It may be difficult or costly to verify certain software requirements. For example, verification of the throughput requirement on the call center may necessitate the development of simulation software. Both the software requirements and software quality personnel must ensure that the requirements can be verified within the available resource constraints.

Requirements have other attributes in addition to the behavioral properties that they express. Common examples include a priority rating to enable trade-offs in the face of finite resources and a status value to enable project progress to be monitored. Typically, software requirements are uniquely identified so that they can be over the entire software life cycle.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Software engineering. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10790/1.1
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